Georgia Update — it has been a while

The last week is probably old data, but the earlier weeks show a decline in hospitalizations.

It won’t be long before Georgia has herd immunity.

Another piece of information from today’s Atlanta Journal and Constitution:

642 symptomatic cases
8,239 total cases
12 asymptotic cases for every symptomatic case
No report of antibodies, which would increase total cases

So Georgia approaches herd immunity, a situation already met by many areas in NYC.

I hope you’re right, @03Cobra. At the same time, public officials should not pin all their hopes on the most optimistic assumptions, in my opinion.

The herd immunity threshold might be as low as 40%. But it might be as high as 70%, too.

There might be as many as 12 undiagnosed cases for each of the 250,000 diagnosed cases. There could be as few as 5 or 6.

If I were Georgia’s governor, I would want more data before setting policy. Specifically, I would want tens of thousands of randomized antigen tests to see how much of the population already has immunity.

Wouldn’t you?



I haven’t seen any estimates as low as 5 undiagnosed infections per diagnosed case.


Choosing to wait for more data is a policy.

A smart one, in my opinion.

University of Washington IMHE stated the following on Friday:

  1. Georgia currently has one of the highest rates of COVID death per million population in the USA. These deaths are the result of cases first detected in June and July, which happens to be the time we were having robust discussions on this forum about whether Georgia had a great COVID policy or not.
  2. Resurgence of coronavirus transmission will become so bad in Georgia that the state will be forced to reinstitute mandates in September.
  3. If 95% of Americans would wear masks in public, indoor spaces, approximately 70 thousand Americans would be spared an agonizing and premature death this calendar year.

The IMHE 21 August update is here.



Actually, you saw it in the CDC study you quoted. An actual case count 6 times higher than the diagnosed case count implies 5 undiagnosed infections for every diagnosed infection. 1 + 5 more = 6.

There is no need to sit around and wait. A smart, proactive governor (Cuomo) commissioned a randomized antigen test of state residents two months ago to get a good estimate of the infection rate in NY. There is no reason Gov. Kemp could not be as smart and proactive, should he be willing to spend a little political capital and public health dollars in a smart way.



You seemed to have missed the point — making a policy to wait is making a policy. People can wait forever for more information, stuck in analysis paralysis.

I have glad that our governor does not exhibit your fear and trepidation.

As I showed in the opening post, hospitalizations are going down. So deaths will follow in decline.

Georgia approaches herd immunity, your desire to embrace a case multiplier (you mentioned 5!) lower than the bottom of the CDC range notwithstanding.

The goal is slowing the spread below the capacity of the health care system.

You think Cuomo is smart? He forced nursing homes to take infected patients. He is a murderer.

Covid Exit Strategy is an excellent site for tracking each state as well as the nation as a whole. It takes a while for the map of the Whole US to load, so be patient. Put your mouse over any state to see how it’s doing. The site is updated frequently.


It looks like the green states have reached herd immunity or are close.

And the dark red states are on their way.

I suspect Georgia is at about 30%, with immunity somewhere in the 40-70%.

Your insistence that I am lowballing is quite surprising, given that I have already shown how the math for my statement aligns with the CDC estimate.

Since you seem to have blinked and missed it the first time, I will show my math in greater detail.

Suppose there is a state with population 10.2M that has had 250k confirmed (diagnosed) COVID cases. Let’s apply the CDC multiplier to this hypothetical scenario: 6 times as many actual as confirmed. The math looks like this:

Diagnosed * 6 = actual
250k * 6 = 1.5M
1.5M actual cases

Now let’s apply the logic of my statement: 5 undiagnosed cases for every diagnosed case. How many undiagnosed cases does that make?

Diagnosed * 5 = Undiagnosed
250k * 5 = 1.25M undiagnosed

How many actual cases does that make?

Actual = Diagnosed + Undiagnosed
Actual = 250k + 1.25m
1.5M actual cases

I leave the comparison of the 2 methods’ results as an exercise for the reader.

Let’s not make unwarranted assumptions. Were those isolated patients a vector to residents in other wings? Or were staff members the vector, as they (tragically) were in literally several hundred nursing homes across the nation?

What studies have you conducted to ascribe likely causality between these 2 possibilities? (Or have others conducted and you’ve read?)

Bear in mind that the decision in March was driven by the dramatic shortage of hospital beds in New York for new cases. So ideal solutions were not on the table. Neither were good solutions. Only difficult, best-of-bad choices and really horrible choices were available in NY in late March.

If Gov Kemp were interested in a data-driven decision, he could have commissioned a randomized population study a month ago. This would have allowed him to have the data in hand today.

The fact that he did not commission such a study shows how interested Gov. Kemp is in making a data-driven decision, in my opinion.

Or Georgia could be at 15%. If Gov. Kemp had commissioned an antigen study, we would know already, wouldn’t we?


You mean the very bottom of their range, less than half the middle of their range?

6-24, and you base your work on 6.

It is fact, not assumption, that Cuomo forced nursing homes to take infected patients.

Force people to be tested? To make the test random, that would have been required. Such forced testing is more accepted in a totalitarian society, not in Georgia.

Or using 24, the top end of the range, Georgia could be much higher.

You are participating in the CNN approach of scaring people to death by assuming the worst case assumptions and using those to encourage real, known damage from shutting down the economy.

Assuming the worst is not responsible.

The HIT could easily be 83%

What percentage of Georgians have had covid?

My guess is about 30%

An interesting article:

You are making a series of completely unjustified assumptions about me, my motives, and my ideas. You have, in my opinion, utterly discredited yourself.

I will walk you through why your approach is so harmful to yourself and to your cause, ask you to reconsider how you engage with fellow participants, and then bow out. I am doing this for you, Vance, and not for myself, as I have no inclination to engage with such a venom spew as your last post directed to me.

Here’s what I originally wrote:

The only reason I focused on the number 6 in subsequent posts was that you repeatedly got the math wrong. I was trying to show my math in response to your erroneous harangue about 5 vs. 6.

You grossly misrepresent what I said. Here’s the assumption I actually questioned:

Grossly misrepresenting what other forum participants say is not generally recommended as a winning strategy. Are you sure you want to misrepresent what others say?

Your assertion is entirely contra-factual.

The state of NY conducted their seroprevalence study by going to grocery stores and asking for volunteers. There was no lack of response because shoppers were eager to receive personal test results in return for a few minutes of time. Privacy was protected in accordance with HIPAA and Privacy Act regulations.

You might want to consider testing your assumptions rather than denouncing imaginary problems. You will no doubt find other forum participants more receptive to your ideas when you do so.

There’s another way to look at this: ignoring real public health risks is what causes enormous damage to the economy. Hundreds of thousands of productive citizens are losing their lives or incurring long-term disabilities from the pandemic. These costs are prohibitively high in both the short-term and long-term.

Moreover, these costs are unnecessary because there are public health measures short of sending everyone home that can minimize the risks while maintaining the vast majority of normal economic activities.

For example, the mask policies adopted by Atlanta, Savannah, and other Georgia cities last month could already be bearing fruit. Witness the recent drop in the hospitalization rate.

Chris Falter

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Tell me how to get a random sample without forcing people to be tested.

You know that people who go to grocery stores and volunteer are not a random sample of the population, don’t you?

It’s close enough to be useful.

Useful? Yes, as a piece of information among many.

A random sample? Not at all. One of my children doesn’t even go into the grocery store; she uses parking lot pick up.

Other people have their groceries delivered.

Others would not volunteer for the test.

I have found that people are often willing to accept imperfect or less-than-accurate information when it supports their preferences. This has been very apparent in the reporting on CNN about the impact of COVID-19 on young children — when the data were not supportive of the doomsday reporting they desired the reporting retreated to individual anecdotes.

I should clarify that I was using randomized in the sense that it is generally used with respect to research on the American public.

Political polls from reputable organizations call themselves “random,” but not everyone who gets a telephone call picks up the phone, or chooses to answer questions, etc. Moreover, not every voter possesses a landline. Nevertheless, the polls keep getting published because political researchers find them useful.

The state of NY antigen testing was not perfect either. Nevertheless, it was extremely useful.

If you want to disparage the collection of useful data in Georgia, that is your right of course.

In fact, my preference is this: I would hope that such testing would demonstrate that Georgia had become impervious to the threat of coronavirus spread.

Nevertheless, I am not inclined to think my preference has any bearing on the reality in the Peach State. I am therefore uncertain as to what the results of a reasonably large-scale antigen testing in Georgia would show. You ought to be, as well.

I just happen to think that collecting such data could have done and should have been done. We would have to find something else to discuss, like whether cash or S&P 500 is better.


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