Illinois’s Track Record

Let’s engage in a little exercise in map-reading. The graph above, taken from the site of the Illinois Department of Health, illustrates the number of newly-diagnosed cases of COVID-19 in Illinois by day since March 10, 2020 to date. As I’ve said before it’s noisy.

How would you interpret that graph? I don’t think it actually tells us anything. My eyeball-o-meter tells me that it’s more likely to reflect irregular reporting of data than anything else. When looked at on a weekly basis, the last couple of weeks have seen about the same number of new cases diagnosed on average each day. There’s a chart available graphing deaths due to COVID-19 per day. That’s even noisier if anything. Again, to my eye it’s more indicative of irregularities in reporting than anything else.

There’s one thing not reflected in the graph. More tests are being done week-on-week. In other words it’s a Red Queen’s Race. We’re running twice as fast to stay in the same place. Or, again said another way, the graph is misleading.

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