Coronavirus update; analysis of possible recovery rates

by Steven Felschundneff

Claremont’s confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus remained at 30 for the third consecutive day, while the county recorded 962 new cases and 47 new deaths from COVID-19 countywide, according to a news release from Los Angeles County Public Health on Friday.

Thirty-seven of the people who died were over the age of 65, five were between the ages of 41 and 65. Thirty-two people had underlying health conditions including 30 over the age of 65.

Since its first coronavirus update on March 4, health officials have reported 1,755 deaths and identified 36,259 positive cases across all areas of L.A. County. Ninety-two percent of people who died had underlying health conditions. As of Friday, a total of 5,727 people who tested positive for COVID-19 (16% of positive cases) have been hospitalized at some point during their illness. There are 1,733 people currently hospitalized of whom 25 percent are in the ICU, with 18 percent on ventilators. Testing capacity continues to increase with results available for over 282,000 individuals, 11 percent of whom tested positive.

“Today we will begin posting our Recovery Dashboard on our website. This Dashboard presents important data indicators we are tracking to assess our ability to continue slowing the spread of COVID-19 in LA County. We will use this information to guide decisions on how to move forward on our recovery journey,” Director of Public Health Barbara Ferrer said.

Many COURIER readers have inquired about the recovery rate in Claremont, however, the county has not shared that information. Still, there is some data that could assist in estimating how many of the 30 Claremonters with confirmed cases have likely recovered.

It is well documented that the disease is more severe among older people. However, according to the data from the county, only 26 percent of cases are among people over 65. According to the census the average age in Los Angeles County is 37 and in Claremont it is only slightly higher at 39.5. Therefore, it is likely that Claremont’s cases mirror those across the county and that 74 percent are younger than 65.

Claremont’s first confirmed case of the novel coronavirus was reported on March 23, by April 1 cases had increased to 3, and by May 1 the total was 24. According to a report from the World health Organization: “The median time from onset to clinical recovery for mild cases is approximately two weeks and is three to six weeks for patients with severe or critical disease.” Multiple sources estimate that 8 in 10 COVID-19 cases are mild.

Based on the WHO data it is fair to assume that 80 percent of the 24 cases reported by May 1 were mild and therefore about 20 people have recovered. It is also fair to assume that the six cases reported in the past two weeks involve patients who are either still sick or beginning recovery. Three of the four remaining cases are over six weeks old, and referring back to the WHO data, the chances that they have recovered are pretty good.

There are still no confirmed deaths in Claremont, however, the county’s mortality data by location lags a few days behind its other data. Still, among patients who have died, the time from symptom onset to outcome ranges from two to eight weeks, according to WHO. That offers a positive sign as the confirmed cases in Claremont stretch out into weeks and months since they were reported.

A final note. There were 21 new Claremont cases reported in April and just six in the first two weeks of May, so if that trend continues then it appears that the “flattening of the curve” is happening here.


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