Entertainment Five curves to understand a pandemic

Five curves to understand a pandemic


They are indicators that have been around since the early days of the coronavirus pandemic. The number of daily cases, their evolution by region, the number of deaths reported, the daily percentage of positive tests and the number of patients in intensive care units, therefore, allow us to glimpse the status of Covid-19 in Chile, at times when both the Ministry of Health and various experts seem to agree that there has been a “slight improvement” in the situation.

What does this translate into specifically? When analyzing the indices, different realities and speeds are appreciated. However, even those figures that have improved in recent days are still at high levels; that is, closer to the numbers seen in mid-May – when there was already talk of a strong outbreak – than to March or April, when the various indicators remained lower.

There are two of them that have gone quite hand in hand in this round: the number of daily cases and the positivity index. For both of them, their peaks occurred in mid-June, and have since dropped to less than half in their daily numbers. This is important, because they could also be decoupled: for example, that there were fewer cases, but at the same time the positivity figure was on the rise, which would indicate that fewer tests are being done and that this is the reason for the decrease.

In cases, this week it reached two thousand in one day, the lowest number in almost two months, and yesterday, the lowest positivity was recorded since May 18 (17.25%). In any case, there is a consensus that the two values ​​are still very high considering unconfusion strategies: for example, there is agreement that positivity should be below 10%, and ideally be less than 5%, to consider this step.

If the decrease has been important in these two values, the same has not happened with hospitalizations in the ICU. Just this Thursday the number of patients fell below two thousand, a figure on which this indicator had been maintained since June 22. Thus, although there is a decrease, this percentage is much less. And this is relevant, given that a key element for an eventual reopening is having a certain degree of slack in these facilities.

In the case of the deceased, the moving average of the last seven days has also decreased during the last week. This indicator, perhaps, is the most difficult to compare, due to the multiple changes it has undergone: for this reason, it is chosen to take the evolution of the daily reports from June 8 – the day the methodology was changed -, and The average of a week is taken to avoid the daily distortions produced by the Civil Registry report, which is slower on the days that correspond to weekends.

Finally, there is a figure that shows both optimism and concern. For a couple of weeks now, Santiago has not been the region with the highest number of cases per inhabitant daily, as it was during the epicenter of its outbreak in May and June, when even the number of positives came to represent 90 % of daily cases in the country. In fact, on Wednesday of this week the capital fell from a thousand daily cases for the first time in a day since last May 11.

And although this is a signal for the RM, it is worrying that other regions continue to increase or on high plateaus, such as the case of O’Higgins, Antofagasta and Arica, which may be the next fronts of attention in the fight against Sars. -CoV-2.


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