Going in the wrong direction

I’ve been updating the map below for a couple of months now. The idea was that it would be mostly green – but the few counties that did had COVID-19 cases would be highlighted in a deep red colour.

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But – things have changed, and now the map is mostly red. So what’s going on? How did we get here?

As the numbers came down we entered a relatively quiet phase of about 10-20 cases a day on the island, but this didn’t last.

With lockdown restrictions almost entirely reversed, the number of cases has grown considerably, and this is all happening before the schools start back (probably the most worrying thought).

This chart below shows the daily cases and also has a 7-day moving average.

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This clearly shows that the cases are increasing – we have not yet reached the numbers we experienced in May, but we all know how quickly things can change.

Let’s have a look at the updated heat map. I think this is a really good way of understanding the general trends, while also seeing lots of detail if that’s what you’re after.

There’s more and more red as you move towards the right of the chart. Only 1/11 councils without any cases today, and 8/26 counties.

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The last week in particular has been bad – in the North cases have been doubling each week for a couple of weeks – and in the South there were 200 cases today alone. So we’ve returned to mid-May numbers – but this time we’re going in the wrong direction.

Using daily numbers lets us see any changes quickly and is really useful – but it’s not a good idea to base too much on a single day’s numbers.

I think the best measure for understanding the trend is probably the 7-day average, and while we’re at it, let’s take into account the population size of the county/council.

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This clearly highlights Offaly, Kildare and Laois –the 3 counties that had restrictions re-imposed.

Finally, despite all the bad news, we have seen some areas of the country that have went long times between cases – some counties have been able to go a month without any being reported.

Clare went the longest at 44 days, then Roscommon (35), Derry (32), Sligo (30), Kerry (30).

The chart below shows what that looks like – the county/council hits a peak, and then falls back to zero. There’s a lot going on here, so I’ve split this into provinces:

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But, back to reality – things are getting worse again – whatever way you measure this.