The Halifax Examiner is providing all COVID-19 coverage for free.

Seventeen more people have tested positive for COVID-19 in Nova Scotia, bringing the total to 445. Nine people are currently hospitalized, four of whom are in ICUs; 97 people have fully recovered. Two people have died.

The Halifax Examiner will be publishing these graphs daily.

I’ve been thinking about what we’re trying to achieve with these graphs. I went into the weekend thinking I would produce some cross-jurisdicitonal comparisons: how is Nova Scotia comparing to other provinces and other countries, both with the progression of the disease and the response to it, which if effective will constrain the progression of the disease.

But the more I got into the data, and the more I thought about it, right now those data are not very helpful.

One problem is that different jurisdictions have different testing regimes.

For example, as of Friday, Nova Scotia had tested 14,060 people, or 1.44% of the province’s population. There were 428 people who tested positive — .04% of the population, or 3% of those tested.

In contrast, New Brunswick has had tested 7,403 people, or about 1% of that province’s population. There were 112 people who tested positive — .01% of the population or 1.5% of those tested.

I don’t think any immediate comparison of those figures is meaningful. (Or if they’re meaningful in some ways, I don’t think they’re so important for the moment.)

A second problem (for cross-jurisidctional comparisons is that the disease in Nova Scotia is several weeks behind most other provinces and countries. That’s a good thing, of course, as it gave us more time to prepare for its arrival, and the implementation of social distancing and other responses came earlier than in other provinces, related to the onset of the disease.

But cross-jurisdictional comparisons don’t tell us much at the moment. As the disease worsens in Nova Scotia, we’ll be able to look at, say, the doubling time of deaths after the first three (or 10, or whatever) deaths, and compare that to doubling times elsewhere. But thankfully our death number — 2 as of Friday — is so low that doubling times isn’t much of an indicator of anything useful.

So as the disease progresses, and certainly after the pandemic subsides, the cross-jurisdctionals comparison will become more important, but for now, I don’t think that’s so important. Maybe in another week or two.

Rather, for now, I think what’s important is what is happening in Nova Scotia.

The most immediately heart-wrenching number is of course how many people have died:

Total deaths by date

We also want to know the fatality rate of the disease. There are two different ways to map this: either deaths from COVID-19/total known cases or deaths from COVID-19/total resolved cases (meaning people who have either recovered or who have died; we don’t know yet what will happen with those still sick). From a day-to-day perspective, I think the latter is more useful. The fatality is now sitting at almost exactly 2%.

Fatality rate of COVID-19 in Nova Scotia[1]of cases with resolution — that is, people have either recovered or died, so does not include those who are still sick


And perhaps more hopefully, representing those who have recovered. Ideally, we would want those two numbers to be identical (everyone recovers), but we know we’ll have more deaths as this goes along.

Total known cases and recovered


The medium-term concern, however, is the burden onto and the capacity of the health care system. One set of figures that would help illustrate that is the number of people currently in ICU, compared to the number of ICU beds available, and to the potential ICU bed availability. Thankfully, there currently are only four people with COVID-19 in ICU (there are others with other illnesses), compared to a total of 120 ICU beds, with the potential for 190-200 ICU beds as. So for now, it’s not worth graphing those numbers.

And for the rest of this post, I’ll use the graphs we’ve shown in the past.


We’ve now had four full weeks since the first known cases of COVID-19 was discovered in Nova Scotia. Here’s a graph of new known cases by week:


Number of tests by date and total tests by date[2]Total tests of Nova Scotians with confirmed positive or negative results; these figure do not include tests with indeterminate results or tests from other jurisdictions analyzed in Nova Scotia.


Number of tests by date[3]Total tests of Nova Scotians with confirmed positive or negative results; these figure do not include tests with indeterminate results or tests from other jurisdictions analyzed in Nova Scotia.


Total number of tests with confirmed results by date[4]Total tests of Nova Scotians with confirmed positive or negative results; these figure do not include tests with indeterminate results or tests from other jurisdictions analyzed in Nova Scotia.


Positive cases by NSHA zone


Positive cases by age range


Positive cases by gender

53% are female, 47% are male.



The Halifax Examiner is an advertising-free, subscriber-supported news site. Your subscription makes this work possible; please subscribe.

Some people have asked that we additionally allow for one-time donations from readers, so we’ve created that opportunity, via the PayPal button below. We also accept e-transfers, cheques, and donations with your credit card; please contact iris “at” halifaxexaminer “dot” ca for details.

Thank you!




References

References
1 of cases with resolution — that is, people have either recovered or died, so does not include those who are still sick
2, 3, 4 Total tests of Nova Scotians with confirmed positive or negative results; these figure do not include tests with indeterminate results or tests from other jurisdictions analyzed in Nova Scotia.

Tim Bousquet

Tim Bousquet is the editor and publisher of the Halifax Examiner. Twitter @Tim_Bousquet Mastodon

Leave a comment

Only subscribers to the Halifax Examiner may comment on articles. We moderate all comments. Be respectful; whenever possible, provide links to credible documentary evidence to back up your factual claims. Please read our Commenting Policy.
Cancel reply