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calendar   Thursday - July 09, 2020

A Rare Gem In Pandora’s Box o’COVID

Alas, it has now been repressed.

One NJ County Gets It Right. State Shuts Them Down.

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Warren County is the next county to the north of us. With 109,000 residents in 360 square miles, they’re about 20% smaller than us with about 20% fewer people. They’re also at least as Red Corner as we are, maybe more.

Their COVID updates are through a document, instead of the interactive dashboard our county uses. But it’s a well written document that explains things, instead of just dumping numbers and putting up graphs. They are not stoking the hysteria. Well done.

I read the local and state news sites, and the comments, nearly every day to try and stay abreast of this pandemic situation. While Warren County has been hit a bit harder than we have here in Hunterdon, they are also in the small group of least affected counties in the state. But those comments I read ... OMG, reading comments online can be torture ... so many people having a hissy fit because “they” are hiding the truth, hiding the good data, everything is politics, Murphy sucks, Trump sucks, you suck. Oy. But a big complaint is that “nobody” is putting out anything on how many people have recovered. Another is that the LTC data is hard to get locally, and misleading. I reply to a lot of these comments, and I’ve seen that my concept of active public cases has been picked up by several other folks.

But I didn’t know until yesterday that any county was actually publishing data that supported my idea. Warren has been. But now the state, NJDOH, has squashed recovery data. No longer going to look into it. Interesting, given that NJ has about 40% more contact tracers than needed. So instead of complaining, I politely asked why. You really do catch more flies with honey than vinegar.

Dear Warren County Public Information Department:

I read in the latest copy of the Warren COVID-19 weekly report that NJDOH ended recovery tracking on July 6.

With the latest spikes in the top of the state news, why was this done? I have read elsewhere that NJ has at least 1,000 more contract tracers than minimally required, which allows them to get the job done quickly. So insufficient staff can’t be the reason.

I think the COVID report put out by Warren County is excellent and informative. It may not be as high tech as Hunterdon’s interactive dashboard, but it provides clearly written explanations for the data presented. so it isn’t just numbers and graphs.

It also provides data analysis that few other counties have done, such as segregating the LTCF data from the rest of it. The patient recovery data is almost unique and is very reassuring.  Being able to subtract “restricted access” case numbers (LTCF and prison inmates) and recovered patient numbers from the overall cumulative case numbers is illuminating.  With these two data sets and the death numbers any person can quickly estimate how many active cases there are in public in the county. This goes a very long way towards calming the hysteria and giving the residents a more realistic awareness of the local situation. So why stop the recovery tracking, and the publication of that data? The sensible among us realize that masks and social distancing are going to be with us for quite some time, even long after the daily numbers approach zero.

Obviously Warren County has not been unique in making the effort to acquire patient recovery data, or else NJDOH wouldn’t have stopped this practice statewide. But Warren is the only county I’m aware of that has published this information and I think the lack of it going forward will not benefit the members of the public who have tried to stay well informed about this pandemic in their area.

I looked for information about this new practice at the NJDOH site but could find no mention of it, or the new software package being used by the contact tracers.



I got a response in under an hour. My query has been forwarded, and if they don’t respond in a couple days here’s a number you can call. And thanks for actually thinking ...

Again, thank you. It’s nice to hear from someone who reads beyond a photo and headline. Best wishes, and have a nice day.


The new case rate in Warren has fallen so much that they decided several weeks ago that it was no longer worth updating their documents daily, and switched over to weekly. Why spend the labor money for nothing? And they also publish the recovered numbers right on the main page of the county site, broken down into every township. Unfortunately they don’t list the deaths that way, like Hunterdon does.  And you still have to hit the state dashboard if you want the nursing home specific LTC numbers which have been God awful in Warren.

I think “self reported recovery” data is better than my 6 week approximation algorithm, or at least as good and rather more factual than hypothetical. I wish this were done everywhere. Because active public is the only number we need to know.

Cumulative cases for some area (with or without probables) minus “restricted access” cases (LTC and inmates) minus deaths not in LTC minus recovered. Adjust recovered by the fraction of cumulative cases not in LTC

Or more simply: Cumulative cases minus deaths minus recoveries. This works if you don’t have lots of nursing homes or prisons.

In Hunterdon today, that’s about 55 people; active public cases.
In Warren today, that’s about 74 people; active public cases.

So 129 active public cases from two county combined population of 225,000 people, in almost exactly 800 square miles. 1 per 1,744 folks you might run across in a store. A hair over 2 per square mile. Assuming they aren’t self isolating at all.

Yeah, it’s nearly over, all over over here.

But if you knew that, you might not wear your mask in public or practice excessive social distancing, or hide in your basement in terror. Now be a good sheep and behave.


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Posted by Drew458   United States  on 07/09/2020 at 12:24 PM   
Filed Under: • Governmentpandemic and epidemic diseases •  
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