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Category: Life

The COVID-19 Situation

In the European Union, things are going quite well. They clearly have the epidemic under control, at least for the moment. They are seeing a little over 4,000 new cases per day which is a rate of < 1/100,000 people.

In the United States, the situation is worrisome. After a long but gradual downtrend, the number of confirmed cases has been rising quickly over the last couple weeks and has begun hitting new highs. We’ve recorded over 250,000 new cases in just this last week. We should be on the lookout for a consequential rise in the number of deaths. (The spike in deaths/day on 6/25 is due to a reporting issue and can be ignored.)

The US situation varies by region.

The northernmost states in New England have only had a relatively minimal number of cases and deaths so far.

New York, the early epicenter of the COVID-19 epidemic in the US, and surrounding areas have successfully gotten their outbreaks under control and the rate of new cases has been kept manageably low. (The spike in deaths on this chart is due to a reporting issue in NJ.)

The mid-Atlantic region has improved in recent weeks, but the decline in new cases has recently leveled off and we should be on a lookout for a rise driven by increases in states to the south and west of this region.

Similar to the mid-Atlantic region, states around the Great Lakes have been improving slowly in recent weeks but new cases have recently begun climbing again.

This region’s rate of new cases per day reached an initial high point in early May, showed only moderate improvement over a month and half or so, and has recently begun increasing again.

This region is sparsely populated so the absolute numbers are small, but the rate of COVID-19 new cases per day per capita is on par with the West coast.

Growth in cases on the west coast has been slow but steadily increasing for some time. Recently new cases per day have been growing at a faster rate. They have nearly doubled over the last three weeks.

After an initial rise, cases in the southwestern states remained relatively steady at about 1000 per day until around the beginning of this month when they began to increase dramatically. They have nearly quadrupled over the last 3 weeks.

Most of the recent rise in cases in the US has been driven by increases in southern states. While the raw numbers in this region are being driven by Texas, cases in both Oklahoma and Arkansas are on a steep rise as well.

While Florida has been hitting new highs approaching 10,000 new cases per day, all states in this region have been seeing increases.

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I host sites, including this one, on virtual server instances running on a cloud computing infrastructure. This offers many advantages, but the most important one to me is the isolation from hardware problems. The cloud is built on fully redundant hardware and if a hardware failure occurs, my virtual server just fails over to another node. For many years, I hosted sites on dedicated servers and disk failures were an occasional and very irritating problem. Switching to cloud-based virtual servers was supposed to end all that.

But here’s the thing. The virtual servers have virtual disks. And those virtual disks can, in strange circumstance, become corrupted just as real disks can. It’s not really a hardware problem; it’s a virtual hardware problem.

It’s rare. I have it on good authority that the engineers for the company that provides the cloud management system to the hosting company I use have only seen the issue a handful of times in almost half a decade.

I saw it twice in two days.

The two days immediately after I sent links to my résumé out to more than half a dozen employers.


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