20 May 2020 Blog Post: COVID-19 in Santa Monica

Readers may know that I have been tracking COVID-19 in Riverside County. It occurred to me that I could perform the same analysis for Santa Monica.

As of today, Santa Monica has reported 244 COVID-19 cases (266 per 100,000 population – Riverside County has 227 cases per 100,000 population) and 14 deaths (15.3 per 100,000 population – Riverside County has reported 9.8 deaths per 100,000 population).

To smooth the observations, rates are reported as weekly aggregates of the prior 7 days, expressed in a moving average. This is to account for known human variation in reporting. For a small community, a few observations here and there can sway rates quite a bit, which is why the graphs for Santa Monica are much more jagged as compared to those of the much larger Riverside County.

In terms of cases (Figure 1), one trend still holds, namely the benefit of California’s shelter-in-place orders which went into effect on 3/23/2020. You can see the steady drop in cases (after a previous nearly straight upward trend) from 4.65 on 3/28 to 4.10 and 3.28 in subsequent weeks. However, unlike the data from Riverside County where incident case rates have continued a steady decrease, Santa Monica shows an alternating pitch up and down from 4/21 until 5/15.

Mortality rates (Figure 2) spiked to 1.23 the week of 4/29, decreasing sharply the next week to 0.14, There has been a slow rise from 5/7 to 5/15 from 0.14 to 0.27. This too is in contrast to Riverside County, where mortality rates have remained flat at 0.25 for the last three weeks.

Some of the sudden variation in these rates are likely a function of the magnified effect of events in less populous Santa Monica. Throwing a rock in a small body of water (Santa Monica) will cause a larger ripple than throwing that same sized rock in a much bigger body of water (Riverside County). Nevertheless, it is concerning that we cannot yet visualize a clear downtrend in cases in our community.

Stay tuned.

𝗦𝗶𝗴𝗻 𝗨𝗽 𝗳𝗼𝗿 𝗢𝘂𝗿 𝗡𝗲𝘄𝘀𝗹𝗲𝘁𝘁𝗲𝗿

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