Coronavirus Cases in Illinois Currently Decoupled from Hospitalizations and Death

From Wirepoints, reprinted with permission:

By: Ted Dabrowki and John Klingner

Six months into COVID-19, the media and Illinois’ political elite continue to push cases and the case positivity rate as the key statistics of the pandemic. So much so, that Gov. J.B. Pritzker and Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot have threatened shut downs all over again if the case numbers continue to go up.

The persistent reporting of rising cases and high positivity rates invoke fear, but the public should know that cases alone don’t matter.

What really matters are hospitalizations and deaths.

And those have yet to rise in Illinois, even if cases have risen significantly for more than a month and a half.

Gov. Pritzker warned last week that about cases, “…right now things are not headed in the right direction.”

Lightfoot said much the same last month, saying Chicago was “dangerously close to going back to a dangerous state of conditions” and threatened more recently to “take steps backwards.”

It should be no surprise that cases have increased in Illinois as it partially reopened parts of the economy.

But as the data below shows, there are no causes for concern yet.

What’s up with cases, hospitalizations and deaths in Illinois

Cases have been on the increase for about 50 days, a reflection of Illinois reopening its economy as part of Phase 3.

On June 18, Illinois experienced a seven-day average low of 596 cases. By August 9, cases had jumped to 1,734 – three times higher than on June 18.

Those stats would be worrisome if Illinois were seeing a corresponding increase in hospitalizations, but that has not been the case.

Nearly a month and a half after the increase in cases began, the state now has 433 fewer hospitalizations than it did on June 18 (see below graphic).

If rising cases reflect a problem, we haven’t yet seen it in hospitalizations.

Deaths measured on a seven-day average also have failed to move up noticeably – even if you take an extended lag-time into consideration.

On August 9, the state had 33 less deaths than the average on June 18. 

In fact, the seven-day average of deaths in Illinois hit their lowest point on August 4, almost seven weeks after cases began rising again.

We’re not implying that more hospitalizations and deaths won’t follow the increase in cases, as has happened in states like Texas, Florida and Arizona recently.

A rise is inevitable in Illinois as the state loosens its strict and protracted shutdown.

What’s clear, however, is that cases in Illinois are currently decoupled from hospitalizations and deaths.

It’s worth noting that Illinois’ positivity rate is also a poor indicator of trouble.

Positivity is pushed and pulled in different directions depending on changes in where testing is concentrated, on whom is being tested and the volume of testing.

If a particular region begins focusing on problem hotspots, for example, the rate would spike up, though that might not be representative of the region as a whole.

So unless the rate is accompanied by more detailed demographic data that shows which populations are begin infected, positivity by itself doesn’t mean much.

Good trends in Illinois

If Illinois’ trend continues – higher cases but continued low hospitalizations and low death totals – it may be that several good things are happening. 

Increased testing across the state may be picking up more asymptomatic or low-level infections.

That would be particularly true if those infected are younger, healthier people

It could be that Illinois is finally protecting retirement home residents better, which was a major cause of deaths earlier in the pandemic.

More than 54 percent of the state’s 7,600 deaths are tied to retirement homes.

Or it may be Illinois doctors are getting better at treating COVID patients who do end up becoming hospitalized. 

On that first point, we can only guess as to the ages of the most recent cases.

Gov. Pritzker and his staff make it impossible for the public to know who the newly infected are – the IDPH only covers the demographics of the state’s cumulative totals.

Compare that to Florida, where the state publishes the average age of cases daily, along with a host of other demographic data so residents can see just who is currently the most impacted by the virus.

The median age of Floridians infected by COVID-19 daily, for example, has fallen to the low 40s, down from the mid 60s only a few months ago. 


More shutdowns under Pritzker and Lightfoot’s orders would be a second disaster for Illinois.

Businesses that barely survived the last one would be wiped out, more jobs would be lost and government revenues would collapse further.

Moreover, it’s not even good science

Remember this graphic? 

The whole purpose of the lockdown was not to decrease the number of overall COVID-19 cases but to spread them out over time. 

Experts across the nation explained early in the pandemic that everyone was eventually going to be infected if no vaccine was rapidly developed.

The bottom line is this:

Cases and positivity rates by themselves don’t matter.

What really matters are hospitalizations and our ability to handle them well.


Coronavirus Cases in Illinois Currently Decoupled from Hospitalizations and Death — 14 Comments

  1. Quite possibly the much maligned herd immunity might be at work?

  2. Why is anyone worried about young people?

    More people have died from the flu in the under 15 age group since the start of the pandemic.

    If you are in a vulnerable population, take actions to protect yourself

    Then you don’t have to worry about what everyone else is doing.

    Every young person who gets covid and recovers is a good thing.

    One less possible person to transmit it.

    US covid deaths by age

    Under 1 – 15
    1-4 years – 10
    5-14 years – 20
    15-24 years – 225
    25-34 years – 1074

    It’s pretty clear that young people simply are not affected by this the same way as elderly are.

  3. My god, why don’t they just admit to us that this is a hoax made up by the MSM to CONTROL our DeMOCRAY and make us SUBMIT like the sheep we are :<(

  4. There is also research that is indicating we might not need 70% for herd immunity.

    This is just an overview but it seems previous exposure to different coronaviruses may have some carry over. This would explain why in places like NYC and Sweden why we are not seeing an uptick. They might be closer to herd immunity than we thought.

    Of course this is ignored by the news too.

  5. I have no idea on who and what to believe.

    Some health experts are in other health fields. 🤔😮

  6. Problem is that people are so convinced about this, they’ll be begging for their vaccines for the next scam that will get big pharma billions of dollars

    I’m not necessarily a fan of socialized health care in the manners in which it has been proposed, but Sweden’s circumstances show us how things are handled much differently when the financial incentives are removed.

  7. Neal,

    That article is interesting and I have great reason to believe it to be true.

    There is a lot of evidence that people who have experienced extreme illness at some point tend to develop hyperactive immune systems.

    To be honest, I’m not sure that things like “flu shots” don’t disrupt something that already was functional

    Anecdotally, those are the people who are always sick.

    People need to use their best judgment.

    One thing is for sure, those who sleep well, eat well, and stay fit are at lower risk for these sorts of problems than the fat green-haired trolls.

    Comorbidity data has proven this.

  8. This is one of best examples of convoluted logic I’ve ever seen.

    So, you’re going to get the virus anyway so you should rush out and get it now!

    And if you don’t die, you win.

    Covid-19 is causing lasting and permanent side effects to the heart and lungs and the symptoms are starting to be seen in people who only had “mild’ cases without hospitalization.

    Cases are surging after states reopen.

    Surprise, surprise.

    The reopening isn’t the problem.

    The problem is the stupid people who refuse to protect themselves and others by using PPE who are now coming into contact with greater numbers of other people.

    If Pritzker was a Republican everyone in McHenry County would be wearing two masks and he would be hailed as the Great Savior of the people of Illinois.

    Everyone needs to learn how to separate common sense from the ideological BS.

    If you want to be a staunch defender of the Constitution join the Army or find some issues that really matter.

    Stop killing vulnerable people by refusing to wear a mask because some idiot told you shouldn’t.

    America is becoming the laughingstock of the world because we don’t have the common sense to protect our health.

  9. This isn’t about the constitution.

    The science simply says that coronavirus is not very dangerous for young people on a statistical basis.

    That doesn’t mean that you can’t find fringe case examples, those will exist because of the shear number of cases.

    I didn’t say anything about masks either.

    People for the most part ARE wearing masks so all this messaging that if we just wear masks it will go away is not science, it’s political posturing.

    As far as the rest of the world laughing at us, what are you basing this on?

    Last I checked Europe, with the exception of Sweden has a big spike going on.

    Why do people like you just want to repeat what the media tells you without even thinking about it.

    It doesn’t matter your politics or country, if you lockdown cases will go up when you reopen.

    My suggestion that we don’t worry about young people so much and protect the vulnerable would get us to herd immunity with minimal deaths.

    What alternatives do you suggest?

    Lockdown for another year until maybe we have a vaccine and enough time for people to take it and have an effect?

    That doesn’t really sound like a plan to me.

  10. teekay? You are a complete moron! I’ve had just about all I can take from Covidiots. YOU the MASK wearing FOOLS are the ones that are taking lives and destroying the world. How dare you spew your venomous fantasies that the people that actually have a brain are the ones that are dangerous! Your abject foolishness has already cost uncountable lives. The misery you have wrought on mankind with your lockstep black magic beliefs indoctrinated by the most evil of all time is your ticket to the Lake of Fire. The lies you have embraced and repeated from the father of all lies is what sealed your fate. You’ve secured your first place reservation (the cowards are first) along with the rest of the fools that already have the blood of millions worldwide on their hands. No one can save you from your idiocracy that you have brought down on your own head by your willful stupidity.

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