Data Update

Massachusetts Data Update December 10, 2020

There is some evidence that testing positivity rates are leveling off after the Thanksgiving surge (the surge actually predates Thanksgiving by a few days). For example, the all test positivity rate of 5.7% is at its lowest level since December 1. The repeat tester positivity rate has held steady at 0.9% since late November.  In addition, both the higher education positivity rate, and the positivity rate outside of higher education have declined slightly in the past several days. Hopefully, this trend will continue into Christmas.

Overall testing has declined somewhat, led by the decline in higher education testing – over 40% less testing compared to four weeks ago as students headed home for Thanksgiving.


Table 1: Massachusetts Testing Statistics
7 Day  Trailing Average
December 10, 2020
Testing Statistic   Current 7 Days Ago 4 Weeks Ago
Test Positivity Rate (Individuals)   18.2% 17.7% 10.7%
Test Positivity Rate (Include Suspected)   19.4% 18.7% 11.1%
Test Positivity Rate (All Tests)   5.7% 5.9% 3.3%
Test Positivity Rate (Newly Tested)   18.2% 17.7% 10.7%
Test Positivity Rate (Repeat Testers)   0.9% 0.9% 0.5%
Percentage Repeat Testers   72.7% 70.3% 73.2%
Test Positivity Rate (Higher Ed)   0.4% 0.5% 0.3%
Test Positivity Rate (Non Higher Ed)   7.7% 7.8% 5.2%
Percentage Higher Ed Testers   28.4% 25.4% 40.0%
Newly Tested (Lagged 1 Week)   20,785 24,727 19,216
Higher Ed Tests (Lagged 1 Week)   17,808 28,346 31,686
All Tests (Lagged 1 Week)   70,029 87,555 74,114


Good news on the testing front, but not such good news on the hospitalization front, as hospitalizations have been increasing at roughly the same rate for several weeks.  Over the past week, we’ve admitted almost 200 new patients a day with covid (the net is lower because patients are discharged and unfortunately die), but the net increase has declined relative to a week ago.  If we’re lucky, new admissions will stabilize before hospitals become severely overcrowded.


Table 2: Massachusetts Hospitalization Statistics
7 Day Trailing Average
December 10, 2020
Hospitalization Statistic   Current 7 Days Ago 4 Weeks Ago
Confirmed  Patients Hospitalized   1498 1151 592
Confirmed  Patients in ICU   298 240 141
Confirmed  Patients Intubed   151 121 65
New Confirmed Admissions (08-Dec)   195 138 80
Net New Confirmed Patients   40 51 23
Net New ICU Patients   7 7 5
Net New Intubated Patients   4 4 2
 Percent ICU / Hospitalized   20% 21% 24%
 Percent Intubated / ICU   51% 51% 46%


The 7 day average of reported and suspected cases actually dropped slightly from its pandemic high of over 5,000 reached yesterday.  It is amazing that at these high levels this 7 day average increased almost 50% from one week ago (although the averages one week ago might  have been suppressed slightly because of the Thanksgiving weekend). Unfortunately, the 7 day average of reported deaths continued up, reaching a fall surge high water mark (and the highest total since June 7).


Table 3: Massachusetts Reported Case and Death Statistics
7 Day Trailing Average
December 10, 2020
Statistic   Current 7 Days Ago 4 Weeks Ago
Total Deaths Including Suspected   48 34 23
Total  Deaths Confirmed Only   47 33 22
Deaths in Long-Term Facilities (All Cases)   17 15 11
Percent from Long-Term Care   36% 43% 47%
Total Cases Including Suspected   4839 3337 2147
Total Confirmed Cases   4599 3123 2036


3 replies on “Massachusetts Data Update December 10, 2020”

Thank you for this insightful data. It is disheartening that we are moving in the wrong direction. Is there any way to understand if newer therapies are having a positive impact on outcomes? And, what demographic is driving the sharp increases? Lastly, will you be adding metrics on the vaccine distribution? That would be helpful too. Thanks again and Happy New Year to all!

I’d assume new therapies are having some effect, but I’m not a doctor, just an analyst. The case to hospitalization and death rates are certainly lower than in the spring, but I’m sure some of that is due to much more widely available testing now – many cases were undetected or unconfirmed in the spring because of lack of testing. And for the demographics, the only info I have is age. See for the latest on the age breakdown of cases and deaths (I’ve given up on hospitalizations by age because of the poor data from the state).

And I will eventually do something on vaccines, pending more data from the state.

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