MDmetrix, a clinical performance management platform, released control charts on Thursday that show whether US states are successfully flattening the curve of daily deaths caused by the coronavirus. The charts are based on data accumulated by the New York Times, displaying the number of fatalities and new COVID-19 cases each day.
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The charts attempt to show the current status of the coronavirus pandemic, separating the signals of change from the noise, according to a press release. Hopefully the data can help those on the front line understand and alter their approaches to the disease.
“The MDmetrix Mission Control platform provides control charts that help healthcare professionals visualize and identify significant clinical changes,” said Warren Ratliff, CEO of MDmetrix, in the release.
“With COVID-19, the public needs to see the urgency of mitigation measures. We are sharing this powerful tool to allow everyone to understand, visually, the critical need to comply with social distancing and other mitigation measures,” Ratliff added.
How the charts work
The charts feature four lines: One red, one solid blue, and two dotted blue.
The red line signifies an exponential growth curve projection, based on available data of daily deaths from the New York Times. The solid blue dots, joined by the blue line, indicate the actual number of reported coronavirus deaths each day.
The dotted lines represent control limits, which are mathematically linked to the projected growth rate. If coronavirus deaths are maintaining a stable path of exponential growth, the solid blue line should remain within the dotted lines.
As stated in the press release, the blue line oscillates across the red line projection, which reflects the expected real-world variation, or noise.
Certain circumstances may cause the solid blue line (deaths) to cross the dotted line (control limit, making the exponential growth system unstable. A stay-at-home order could decrease the daily death count, flattening the solid blue line and forcing it to cross the lower control limit.
What the data shows
The states with some of the highest number total deaths include New York, New Jersey, California, Michigan, Louisiana, and Washington. These states are still moving along on an exponential growth curve, according to the charts.
“A special cause signal below the lower limit on these charts will show that we have succeeded in flattening the curve of COVID-19,” said Lloyd Provost, a leader in the application of control charts for healthcare improvement, in the release.
“As of today, we have not seen a data signal that the US as a whole has successfully reduced the accelerating daily death rates from this disease,” Provost said.
On the chart list for new cases per day, Colorado, Florida, California, Idaho, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, and Tennessee, have seen some progress. The solid blue line indicating the actual number of daily new coronavirus cases has dropped below the bottom dotted line, meaning there is some progress.
Many states throughout the US have mandated shelter-in-place policies, requiring non-essential workers to remain home and only leave for groceries or other critical situations. Even institutions with essential workers are requiring employees to limit interaction with the public, through tactics such as curbside service. Schools have also been closed in many areas.
For more, check out Digital coronavirus maps helping public understand the pandemic better on TechRepublic.
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