COVID-19 Update: Cases and Deaths in Riverside County

You may have seen increasing press coverage this week highlighting the apparent gap between spiking cases and falling deaths due to COVID-19. On July 7th, Dr. Fauci warned Americans against “[taking] comfort in the lower rate of death” just hours before President Trump tweeted triumphantly: “Death Rate from Coronavirus is down tenfold!”

Many potential explanations for such exist and, in fact, a previous post of mine discussed Simpson’s paradox as a way to account for this finding.

As with most things, common sense ultimately prevails. More infections should ultimately lead to higher death rates. Any suggestion to the opposite (unless the novel coronavirus suddenly mutates and becomes less often fatal), is flawed thinking.

Readers of my posts will know that I have been lambasting Riverside County for having rescinded all public health COVID-19 mitigation efforts on May 8th. This decision made unanimously by the Board of Supervisors has a had predictable effect. The case rate of new infections in Riverside County was nearly 6 times higher last week than that for the week ending May 8th.

While the Board of Supervisors may have taken some comfort in mortality rates that had decreased by about 50% since their fateful decision, they no longer have that luxury. Mortality rates in Riverside County more than doubled last week and are now at their highest rates since the epidemic began.

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