Governor Hutchinson’s spin of COVID-19 data has become a point of occasional controversy.
One particular bit of confusion: The rate of positive tests for the virus.
As we’ve explained, Hutchinson ignores the suggestions of White House and other health officials that a positive test rate above 5 percent is a danger signal — a counter-indicator for opening of schools, bars and restaurants. He continues to indicate that 10 percent is the key level AND that Arkansas is nearly there.
He displays a chart during his daily briefings prepared by the Health Department, which — more days than not — displays a positive test rate for the day below 10 percent.
To which I can only say WTF?
I know the daily reports use different data sets — the number of new coronavirus cases and the number of tests are not, in either case, compilations of only numbers in a 24-hour period. New cases and test results trickle in.
But over time, the cumulative figures must mean something.
So I did a simple computation yesterday.
I added all the daily reports of new cases for the first 29 days of August and all the daily reports of tests administered each day, as reported by the Health Department.
Here’s what I found:
TOTAL NEW CASES AUG. 1-29
TESTS PERFORMED AUG. 1-29
POSITIVE TEST RATE
But all is well. The governor has repeatedly assured us his decision to reopen bars, restaurants, high school football and band and choir rooms (those last with newly loosened safety restrictions, by the way) was driven by data.
Respin me, governor. Don’t forget to grin.