Wes Nakagiri

Livingston County Commissioner, District 3

Governor Whitmer’s COVID emergency is not supported by the statistics. As many have asserted, the Governor is not following the science as she wreaks havoc on the physical health and the financial health of Michigan citizens.

Doubling time is a statistical measurement commonly used to quantify the magnitude of a pandemic/epidemic. The doubling time refers to the number of days before the number of COVID cases doubles. For example, a doubling time of 5 days means that 5 days from now there will be twice as many confirmed COVID cases as there are today.

In the early stages of a pandemic, the doubling time is very short. For example, on March 29, 2020, the Detroit Free Press published an article with the headline, ‘Southeast Michigan is Burning’: Michigan’s coronavirus case count doubles every 3 days.’

A more thorough discussion of doubling times can be found here, https://blog.datawrapper.de/weekly-chart-coronavirus-doublingtimes/. This link also displays other useful information regarding COVID doubling times including:

  • Doubling times for countries around the world are displayed. This allows readers to do some comparative analysis on their own.
  • The calculation to determine doubling time is shown. This allows readers to calculate doubling times for their own jurisdictions (city, county, state, etc.)

So, the doubling rate was 3 days back on March 29, what is the doubling time today? Michigan chooses not to publish doubling times. This deprives citizens of access to a “measuring stick” which would enable citizens to make their own assessment as to how quickly/slowly progress is being made. As progress is made doubling time increases. For example, one would expect doubling time to increase as social-distancing and lockdowns are deployed.

As mentioned in prior articles, Michigan does not provide access to a full COVID dataset, making it difficult for citizens to have a full grasp of how our state is progressing. Michigan does not publish doubling times. Michigan does not believe in full transparency. 

With that being said, Michigan does provide enough data for citizens to perform their own doubling time analyses if they are so inclined. Any analysis won’t be as comprehensive as it could be because, as stated previously, Michigan does not provide citizens with a complete set of COVID data.

Doubling Times as of May 12, 2020

In the table below, doubling times are provided for Livingston County, the State of Michigan, and each of the 8 Emergency Preparedness Regions in Michigan.

Doubling times are shown for the last 28 days. The doubling times were calculated using an average of the prior 5 days of data. Using a 5-day average matches what is most commonly been used for COVID analysis.

Every jurisdiction shows progress as doubling times have increased from April 15 to May 12. Region 7 shows the most progress with a doubling time of 1457 days. Region 6 shows the least progress with a doubling time of 31 days.

Of local interest, Livingston County has a doubling time of 308 days. Livingston County is far above its Region 1 doubling time of 156 days. 

It has long been known that COVID rates are low in the Upper Peninsula (Region 8) and the Northern Lower Peninsula (Region 7). Therefore, as expected doubling times are the longest in these two locations. The doubling time of the Upper Peninsula is 303 days, while the doubling time of the Northern Lower Peninsula is a remarkable 1457 days. It is worth noting that several days of no new cases in the Northern Lower Peninsula has contributed to the 1457 day doubling time.

Also noteworthy, Livingston County has a doubling time longer than that of the Upper Peninsula. 

Some might ask, what is a "good" doubling time. Obviously, longer is better. An internet search produced no definition of what is "good." 

Absent a definition of "good" it becomes useful to observe the doubling time of a jurisdiction of interest and compare it to the doubling time of another jurisdiction. Let's compare doubling times to the country of South Korea.

South Korea has been heralded as having one of the most effective COVID mitigation efforts. The doubling time for South Korea is currently 251 days (https://blog.datawrapper.de/weekly-chart-coronavirus-doublingtimes/) for the last 5 days. Clearly there are jurisdictions in Michigan with performance superior to that of South Korea.

Before concluding it should be mentioned that the number of COVID cases is dependent upon the number of COVID tests performed. The more tests that are performed, the more COVID cases will be discovered. It is important to keep this in mind because, with greater availability of test kits, more and more COVID tests are being performed. This means that more and more COVID cases are being included in the statistics. These "extra" cases of COVID will artificially shorten the doubling times.




date Livingston Region 1 Region 2N Region 2S Region 3 Region 5 Region 6 Region 7 Region 8 State
15-Apr 13 22 17 17 16 13 10 12 27 15
16-Apr 13 22 18 18 17 13 10 12 49 15
17-Apr 16 20 18 19 17 12 10 10 49 16
18-Apr 20 22 21 19 18 13 9 10 66 17
19-Apr 25 23 25 22 19 14 9 10 50 17
20-Apr 24 22 26 26 19 13 9 11 70 20
21-Apr 24 24 29 28 22 13 9 13 70 22
22-Apr 26 23 32 30 25 14 9 15 27 24
23-Apr 29 25 33 32 26 14 9 18 27 25
24-Apr 37 25 33 33 27 13 9 30 19 27
25-Apr 71 28 39 32 28 14 9 34 18 27
26-Apr 92 28 46 35 28 16 9 34 17 26
27-Apr 74 31 49 39 27 16 9 39 25 29
28-Apr 46 30 50 42 32 16 11 34 20 32
29-Apr 48 32 48 45 37 17 12 34 22 33
30-Apr 38 32 47 48 39 17 11 35 25 33
1-May 33 35 45 48 44 16 11 46 28 31
2-May 37 38 52 44 52 18 11 58 31 31
3-May 54 45 60 50 49 23 12 128 41 29
4-May 46 47 72 60 46 22 13 237 99 32
5-May 50 55 78 59 51 24 17 179 300 38
6-May 73 57 81 61 57 26 20 160 300 41
7-May 66 63 77 68 61 25 21 160 300 43
8-May 63 69 73 64 61 26 21 160 303 44
9-May 86 82 82 58 71 37 24 207 303 40
10-May 110 106 95 71 68 50 24 485 303 39
11-May 135 129 105 85 65 57 24 728 303 45
12-May 308 156 116 88 67 88 31 1457 303 52

 

emergency preparedness regions 881Wx796H

Region1 – Clinton, Eaton, Gratiot, Hillsdale, Ingham, Jackson, Lenawee, Livingston, and Shiawassee counties.
Region 2S – City of Detroit and Monroe, Washtenaw, and Wayne counties.
Region 2N - Macomb, Oakland and St. Clair counties.
Region 3 - Saginaw, Alcona, Iosco, Ogemaw, Arenac, Gladwin, Midland, Bay, Genesee, Tuscola, Lapeer, Sanilac, and Huron counties.
Region 5 - Allegan, Barry, Calhoun, Branch, St. Joseph, Cass, Berrien, Van Buren, and Kalamazoo counties.
Region 6 - Clare, Ionia, Isabella, Kent, Lake, Mason, Mecosta, Montcalm, Muskegon, Newaygo, Oceana, Osceola and Ottawa counties.
Region 7 - Manistee, Wexford, Missaukee, Roscommon, Benzie, Leelanau, Grand Traverse, Kalkaska, Crawford, Oscoda, Antrim, Otsego, Montmorency, Alpena, Presque Ilse, Cheboygan, Emmet and Charlevoix counties.
Region 8 - Chippewa, Mackinac, Luce, Schoolcraft, Delta, Alger, Marquette, Dickinson, Menominee, Baraga, Iron, Gogebic, Ontonagon, Houghton, and Keweenaw counties