i'm gonna go deep nerd for a minute, but hopefully not into conspiracy territory in the process...well, it's possible.
as i've mentioned a few times before, i have been tracking raw testing data in my "region" of illinois as lined out by the governor and public health. been tracking this data since early december, and also recording the officially-posted data from the state over the same time frame. according to the raw data, our region had been producing positivity rates that were lower than what the state was reporting, and the difference was usually significant and generally consistent. at the time, i tried to shrug it off as some number shuffling (for instance, patients from our region test positive in a different region, and those numbers could be later assigned to our region even though they didn't show up in our raw data). seemed legit enough i suppose. in the meantime, all illinois regions were locked in what we called "tier 3 mitigations" meaning a lot of shit was closed until further notice. in order to leave tier 3, positivity rate had to be below 12%. our region was below 12% for awhile, but mitigation measures were locked in place as of 11/20/20 because the governor supposedly feared holiday spikes that would cause havoc in the hospitals. we needed 4 weeks (2 full incubation cycles) post-holiday to know if a spike would occur, and no changes would be made to mitigations until that 4 week window had passed. no exceptions.
then on 1/7/21, just one week post-nye holiday, our governor announced regions would be allowed to move back to tier 2 or further, assuming they met the metrics to move back, starting on 1/15/21. the same fucking day as his announcement, the difference in raw vs. state-reported data slipped back to 0.0. in the week following that, the gap increased again, only now our raw data began showing a higher positivity rate than the state-reported data. we're talking a full percentage point, which is pretty fucking significant considering 12.0% = closed and 11.9% = open. it's almost like the data was being massaged to help justify remaining closed, but the moment that course was reversed and a reopening plan was announced, the data was massaged in the opposite direction to justify getting things opened back up.
just in time for inauguration day. as if the conspiracy theory nuts needed more fuel.
don't get me wrong. i'm happy as hell because we were legally approved to open our doors yesterday for the first time since november 12. and maybe there's just a set of coincidences playing to our favor for a change. the fucking universe aligned in our favor or something. just seems hard to believe that this is all above board.