Data Update

Massachusetts Data Update December 6, 2020

I’m not totally sure there is any point to doing these periodic updates on the covid statistics in Massachusetts, as cases, hospitalizations, and deaths continue to increase rapidly. There are perhaps some signs that test positivity rates are beginning to level off, albeit at staggeringly high levels compared to the lulls of the late spring and summer.  But I’ve been lured into thinking that before, only to be blindsided by higher rates shortly thereafter.


Table 1: Massachusetts Testing Statistics
7 Day  Trailing Average
December 6, 2020
Testing Statistic   Current 7 Days Ago 4 Weeks Ago
Test Positivity Rate (Individuals)   17.5% 13.7% 8.7%
Test Positivity Rate (Include Suspected)   18.6% 14.4% 9.1%
Test Positivity Rate (All Tests)   5.3% 4.6% 2.7%
Test Positivity Rate (Newly Tested)   17.5% 13.7% 8.7%
Test Positivity Rate (Repeat Testers)   0.8% 0.9% 0.5%
Percentage Repeat Testers   72.9% 70.8% 73.7%
Test Positivity Rate (Higher Ed)   0.5% 0.3% 0.2%
Test Positivity Rate (Non Higher Ed)   7.4% 6.2% 4.4%
Percentage Higher Ed Testers   29.4% 27.6% 41.7%
Newly Tested (Lagged 1 Week)   19,070 26,037 17,469
Higher Ed Tests (Lagged 1 Week)   18,053 33,704 30,751
All Tests (Lagged 1 Week)   65,411 92,343 70,388


As high as these test positivity rates are, some have held steady or even dropped over the past few days.  Nonetheless, it seems clear that positivity rates this high aren’t sustainable for long without putting tremendous strain on our hospital resources.  As expected, higher education testing began to drop significantly as students headed home for Thanksgiving.   This, coupled with reduced testing outside of higher ed because of the holiday, accounts for the drop in the week-over-week testing totals in Table 1.


Table 2: Massachusetts Hospitalization Statistics
7 Day Trailing Average
December 6, 2020
Hospitalization Statistic   Current 7 Days Ago 4 Weeks Ago
Confirmed  Patients Hospitalized   1312 985 510
Confirmed  Patients in ICU   267 214 115
Confirmed  Patients Intubed   133 105 56
New Confirmed Admissions (01-Dec)   138 125 57
Net New Confirmed Patients   48 27 19
Net New ICU Patients   9 7 8
Net New Intubated Patients   4 3 2
 Percent ICU / Hospitalized   20% 22% 23%
 Percent Intubated / ICU   50% 49% 49%


And of course, high positivity rates and high numbers of new cases translate eventually to more hospitalized patients, with the 7 day average increasing one-third week over week.  ICU patients and intubated patients each increased 25% week over week,.


Table 3: Massachusetts Reported Case and Death Statistics
7 Day Trailing Average
December 6, 2020
Statistic   Current 7 Days Ago 4 Weeks Ago
Total Deaths Including Suspected   40 29 19
Total  Deaths Confirmed Only   39 29 19
Deaths in Long-Term Facilities (All Cases)   16 14 9
Percent from Long-Term Care   40% 47% 49%
Total Cases Including Suspected   4593 2620 1670
Total Confirmed Cases   4342 2479 1584


Cases continue to increase at a staggering clip.  Over the past week, we’ve averaged almost 50% more reported and suspected cases per day than the highest one day total in the spring.  Deaths, of course, are also rapidly increasing.  Although deaths in long-term care facilities are a smaller percentage of deaths than at any time previously during the pandemic, the absolute number of long-term care deaths are still as high as early July.


2 replies on “Massachusetts Data Update December 6, 2020”

I can certainly understand how this unfavorable trajectory might make you hesitant to continue. I am sure all of your readers have appreciated your analysis. In any case, if you pause, I am hoping you’ll resume offering analyses once the vaccination program is underway, and identifying correlations to all of the current metrics. I am tired of the government spin.

Not too much to ask. : )

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