How does North Dakota manage to top the score?

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bmforre
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How does North Dakota manage to top the score?

Post by bmforre » Wed Sep 30, 2020 10:36 am

In the list of fresh infections per inhabitant North Dakota tops the score by a lot. Have been alone at that pinnacle for some time now.

How do they manage to get so many infected so fast? Surely here should be something to learn.

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Re: How does North Dakota manage to top the score?

Post by jimbob » Wed Sep 30, 2020 10:52 am

Have you considered stupidity as an explanation

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Re: How does North Dakota manage to top the score?

Post by sTeamTraen » Wed Sep 30, 2020 11:44 am

I'd be wary of looking for any one explanation. Sturgis is probably part of it, but it's in South Dakota (5th on the new cases per million list yesterday) and 200km from the ND border. It's much closer to Wyoming, which is 27th. (And maybe the Sturgis event caused ND to increase testing, as well as have more infections.) Other possibilities:

1. ND is small (~750K people), so a couple of clusters in a city can make a difference. They had 549 cases per million people yesterday, but only 418 cases in total.
2. Relatedly, states are somewhat arbitrary ways to partition a country. The median population of a US county is higher than the entire state of North Dakota, meaning that there are over 1,500 counties with more people. I would bet that quite a few of those have higher daily new cases.
3. Awareness and fear of the virus goes in cycles, along with cases, hospitalisations, ICU admissions, and deaths. The lags between all of those are subject to both systematic and random variations.
4. Some state has to be top of each statistic, and there are many statistics to choose from. North Dakota is not a state that we hear a lot about, so its appearance in a national list it more salient than, say, California, or even Wisconsin (second in new cases per million people).
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Re: How does North Dakota manage to top the score?

Post by OneOffDave » Wed Sep 30, 2020 12:07 pm

City of London did this a few weeks ago. A handful of cases in a population of around 9k makes for a significant rate per 100k

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Re: How does North Dakota manage to top the score?

Post by Bird on a Fire » Wed Sep 30, 2020 12:52 pm

Worth bearing in mind that about a third of the state population lives in a single metropolitan area (Fargo), so if things are bad there that'll ramp the stats way up.

There were similar effects with countries like Ireland and Sweden where a huge wodge of the population lives in the capital.
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Re: How does North Dakota manage to top the score?

Post by lpm » Wed Sep 30, 2020 2:10 pm

Early on The Vatican was the world's number one, by quite some margin.

It had one case.
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Re: How does North Dakota manage to top the score?

Post by bolo » Wed Sep 30, 2020 8:16 pm

The North Dakota numbers are not just a cluster or two in a couple of cities. They are high across the state, even though the population centers (such as they are) are quite widely separated. Here's a map:
https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/202 ... s.html#map
For scale, Bismarck to Fargo is about 200 miles.

Also, something is wrong with sTeamTraen's numbers on median county size. I reckon there are only about 85 counties (out of 3141) that have more people than North Dakota.

Off the top of my head I don't have a good source for comparing states on things like business closures, mask mandates, or limits on large gatherings, but if there were such a thing, I'm pretty sure it would show ND as much more laissez faire than most other places.

To some extent this may also just reflect how long it took Covid to reach more remote areas. New York at its peak was a shitshow. Then the South was a shitshow. Now North Dakota is a shitshow.

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Re: How does North Dakota manage to top the score?

Post by Martin_B » Wed Sep 30, 2020 11:59 pm

bolo wrote:
Wed Sep 30, 2020 8:16 pm
To some extent this may also just reflect how long it took Covid to reach more remote areas. New York at its peak was a shitshow. Then the South was a shitshow. Now North Dakota is a shitshow.
North Dakota being 7 months behind New York is something of a surprise; most people consider them 20 years behind the rest of the country usually.

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Re: How does North Dakota manage to top the score?

Post by sTeamTraen » Thu Oct 01, 2020 12:08 am

bolo wrote:
Wed Sep 30, 2020 8:16 pm
Also, something is wrong with sTeamTraen's numbers on median county size. I reckon there are only about 85 counties (out of 3141) that have more people than North Dakota.
Yes, you are clearly right. A moment's thought shows that 1500 counties with 800k people would mean 1.2 billion Americans. I must have been reading the linked page in a hurry. ND is still a fairly small state, though.
bolo wrote:
Wed Sep 30, 2020 8:16 pm
To some extent this may also just reflect how long it took Covid to reach more remote areas. New York at its peak was a shitshow. Then the South was a shitshow. Now North Dakota is a shitshow.
I guess every area will have its 15 minutes of fame. :(
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Re: How does North Dakota manage to top the score?

Post by bmforre » Wed Oct 07, 2020 4:03 pm

Today in NYTimes:
Virus surges in North Dakota

Serious now maybe borderline critical ...

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Re: How does North Dakota manage to top the score?

Post by sTeamTraen » Wed Oct 07, 2020 5:56 pm

bmforre wrote:
Wed Oct 07, 2020 4:03 pm
Today in NYTimes:
Virus surges in North Dakota

Serious now maybe borderline critical ...
But to what extent is this just arbitraging variation to tell a story?

In any given week, some state will have the most cases per million people and another, probably a different one, will have the most deaths per million people. There doesn't seem to be anything unique about North Dakota that would explain why it is having this issue now, and not, say, South Dakota, where Sturgis actually is. It all feels very like post hoc justification by someone in need of a story. Maybe three months ago someone wrote "How North Dakota beat the pandemic", which will have been, in hindsight, equally useless. Writing about the pandemic as if it were some kind of ongoing sports event reveals the limitations of sports reporting quite starkly.
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Re: How does North Dakota manage to top the score?

Post by bolo » Thu Oct 08, 2020 3:00 am

sTeamTraen wrote:
Wed Oct 07, 2020 5:56 pm
There doesn't seem to be anything unique about North Dakota that would explain why it is having this issue now, and not, say, South Dakota, where Sturgis actually is.
It's not as if South Dakota isn't having problems. It's second only to North Dakota at the moment, based on cases per 100k in the past week.

They ought to be just one state anyway. Would be, if it weren't for Republican Senate-packing in the 1880s.

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Re: How does North Dakota manage to top the score?

Post by bmforre » Thu Oct 08, 2020 8:18 am

bolo wrote:
Thu Oct 08, 2020 3:00 am
sTeamTraen wrote:
Wed Oct 07, 2020 5:56 pm
There doesn't seem to be anything unique about North Dakota that would explain why it is having this issue now, and not, say, South Dakota, where Sturgis actually is.
It's not as if South Dakota isn't having problems. It's second only to North Dakota at the moment, based on cases per 100k in the past week.

They ought to be just one state anyway. Would be, if it weren't for Republican Senate-packing in the 1880s.
In the newest overview in WaPo I see that South Dakota has now edged up past North Dakota to head the list.

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Re: How does North Dakota manage to top the score?

Post by sTeamTraen » Thu Oct 08, 2020 2:53 pm

bmforre wrote:
Thu Oct 08, 2020 8:18 am
In the newest overview in WaPo I see that South Dakota has now edged up past North Dakota to head the list.
Great. Now the media can come and tell another just-so story.
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Re: How does North Dakota manage to top the score?

Post by sTeamTraen » Mon Oct 12, 2020 9:47 pm

This is interesting (even if the start date is somewhat cherry-picked to make the political point).

Sturgis (in South Dakota) was held from 7-16 August. North Dakota enters the top 25 around 5 August; South Dakota doesn't enter until around 24 August. So Sturgis doesn't seem a likely candidate for the majority of North Dakota's problem.
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Re: How does North Dakota manage to top the score?

Post by sTeamTraen » Tue Oct 20, 2020 9:06 pm

6910 new cases in North Dakota in the last 10 days. That's almost exactly 1% of the population of the state. :o

On the other hand, their dashboard is a masterpiece of data visualisation, give or take the time needed for it to load.
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Re: How does North Dakota manage to top the score?

Post by bolo » Fri Oct 23, 2020 2:04 pm

Nice graph of U.S. states showing a very strong correlation between mask use and Covid prevalence.* North and South Dakota are among the worst at mask use.

https://arc-anglerfish-washpost-prod-wa ... G4SECM.png

* Probably not the correct technical term. IANA epidemiologist.

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Re: How does North Dakota manage to top the score?

Post by Woodchopper » Fri Oct 23, 2020 6:55 pm

Overwhelmed by cases, North Dakota tells residents with COVID-19 to do their own contact tracing
https://www.grandforksherald.com/newsmd ... ct-tracing

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Re: How does North Dakota manage to top the score?

Post by sTeamTraen » Sat Oct 24, 2020 6:41 pm

Woodchopper wrote:
Fri Oct 23, 2020 6:55 pm
Overwhelmed by cases, North Dakota tells residents with COVID-19 to do their own contact tracing
https://www.grandforksherald.com/newsmd ... ct-tracing
I imagine quite a few people are doing that already (everywhere). If I were to go out to dinner with someone and wake up two days later with a bad cough, I'm pretty sure I'd give them a call.
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Re: How does North Dakota manage to top the score?

Post by bolo » Sat Oct 24, 2020 8:42 pm

sTeamTraen wrote:
Sat Oct 24, 2020 6:41 pm
Woodchopper wrote:
Fri Oct 23, 2020 6:55 pm
Overwhelmed by cases, North Dakota tells residents with COVID-19 to do their own contact tracing
https://www.grandforksherald.com/newsmd ... ct-tracing
I imagine quite a few people are doing that already (everywhere). If I were to go out to dinner with someone and wake up two days later with a bad cough, I'm pretty sure I'd give them a call.
Yes, but that's different. You're not a moron.

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Re: How does North Dakota manage to top the score?

Post by sTeamTraen » Sat Oct 24, 2020 9:30 pm

bolo wrote:
Sat Oct 24, 2020 8:42 pm
sTeamTraen wrote:
Sat Oct 24, 2020 6:41 pm
Woodchopper wrote:
Fri Oct 23, 2020 6:55 pm
Overwhelmed by cases, North Dakota tells residents with COVID-19 to do their own contact tracing
https://www.grandforksherald.com/newsmd ... ct-tracing
I imagine quite a few people are doing that already (everywhere). If I were to go out to dinner with someone and wake up two days later with a bad cough, I'm pretty sure I'd give them a call.
Yes, but that's different. You're not a moron.
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Re: How does North Dakota manage to top the score?

Post by bolo » Tue Oct 27, 2020 11:00 pm

Vox answers the question:

https://www.vox.com/platform/amp/future ... third-wave

TL;DR. Total failure to act by the Republican state governors.

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Re: How does North Dakota manage to top the score?

Post by sTeamTraen » Tue Oct 27, 2020 11:42 pm

bolo wrote:
Tue Oct 27, 2020 11:00 pm
Vox answers the question:

https://www.vox.com/platform/amp/future ... third-wave

TL;DR. Total failure to act by the Republican state governors.
They seem to be at about 100 cases per 100K per day. That's awful, but Belgium, Czechia, and many parts of Switzerland are currently doing even worse, and they seem to fairly free of Republicans.
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Re: How does North Dakota manage to top the score?

Post by dyqik » Wed Oct 28, 2020 1:27 am

sTeamTraen wrote:
Tue Oct 27, 2020 11:42 pm
bolo wrote:
Tue Oct 27, 2020 11:00 pm
Vox answers the question:

https://www.vox.com/platform/amp/future ... third-wave

TL;DR. Total failure to act by the Republican state governors.
They seem to be at about 100 cases per 100K per day. That's awful, but Belgium, Czechia, and many parts of Switzerland are currently doing even worse, and they seem to fairly free of Republicans.
But they also have less than a quarter of a mile between each resident.

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Re: How does North Dakota manage to top the score?

Post by sTeamTraen » Wed Oct 28, 2020 12:49 pm

dyqik wrote:
Wed Oct 28, 2020 1:27 am
sTeamTraen wrote:
Tue Oct 27, 2020 11:42 pm
bolo wrote:
Tue Oct 27, 2020 11:00 pm
Vox answers the question:

https://www.vox.com/platform/amp/future ... third-wave

TL;DR. Total failure to act by the Republican state governors.
They seem to be at about 100 cases per 100K per day. That's awful, but Belgium, Czechia, and many parts of Switzerland are currently doing even worse, and they seem to fairly free of Republicans.
But they also have less than a quarter of a mile between each resident.
As do Singapore and Taiwan, and Japan once you take the mountains away.

Presumably population density explains some part of the variance in outcomes, and government competence explains another part. But I'm wondering if either is much about 20%. The second of those would be hard to operationalise, but it ought to be easy to do the first. Hmmm, I feel a spreadsheet coming on...
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