The New Epicenter of Coronavirus

Posted: Mar 26, 2020 12:57 PM
The New Epicenter of Coronavirus

New York has become the epicenter of COVID-19 infections in the United States. That description applies to both New York City, whose number of confirmed coronavirus cases total 17,896 with 192 deaths, and the state of New York, whose total positive cases reached 30,811 with 285 deaths as of 25 March 2020.

The following tower chart shows the progression of COVID-19 in the state of New York from 10 March 2020 through 25 March 2020.

See the daily progress of COVID-19 in New York here.

New York City accounts for 58% of the cases reported in the state, where the city's Department of Health has provided some limited demographic data about who has tested positive for COVID-19 in the city. The data is from 19 March 2020, but provided enough information for us to construct a cumulative distribution of the ages of the 3,954 who had tested positive for COVID-19 nearly a week ago, which allows us to generate a more detailed distribution of that sampled population. The following chart shows those estimated results. 

The median age of New York City's population of those testing positive for the coronavirus infection is 46, which means half of confirmed cases are in people above that age, and half are in people below that age. Of those confirmed to have coronavirus infections, 40 to 44 year old New Yorkers have the highest incidence, with 51% of the city's infected population would appear to fall between the ages of 30 and 54.

How good are these estimates? As of 25 March 2020, New York City's age demographic data for COVID-19 infections has been expanded to cover over five times as many cases, and the percentages of the smaller sample from our analysis fall within 1% of the larger sample's data for Ages 0 through 64, and within 3% up to Age 74.

Overall, the state of New York has recorded over three times the rate of incidence of residents testing positive for COVID-19, when measured as a percentage of its population, than second ranked New Jersey.

As for COVID-19 related deaths in New York City, 95% are reported to have occurred in individuals with underlying illnesses, including diabetes, lung disease, cancer immunodeficiency, heart disease, hypertension, asthma, kidney disease, and gastrointestinal/liver disease. The best statistical analysis we've seen for the mortality risk associated with COVID-19 is from David Spiegelhalter, who describes the effect of the disease as being "like packing a year's worth of risk into a week or two".

Why has New York City become the epicenter for coronavirus cases in the United States? While that's a question that will be studied by epidemiologists for years, significant parts of the answer might be found here.