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California's COVID Dashboard is a Wreck

California's COVID dashboard is inherently contradictory, providing a textbook case in poor design. Its case counts and test positivity say opposite things. The chart of the right shows test positivity up sharply. The chart second from the left shows case counts slightly declining. This would be easily reconciled if the number of administered tests were declining, but they are increasing.

Beyond that, above chart depicts cases per 100k population of 13.6. Further down the page we can find the latest figure to be 18.2 and rising fast, but you have to know to click into a secondary chart and then hover over a very specific part of it to find out that fact.

All this creates two very different impressions of the same situation. A casual user (as most people generally are), focusing only on the case count chart would see a relatively stable situation.

Unfortunately, the situation in much of California is far from stable, and a greater number of hospitals are signaling staffing shortages than they have since February.

Two months ago, I thought California is the large state most vulnerable to having its healthcare system overwhelmed. Since that time, my concern has appeared unwarranted, but the conditions haven't changed, and my concern remains.


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