Light and Dark Winter

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We currently have places in the US where cases are accelerating and places where they are declining. The overall numbers continue to go up because some of the states with the most people are seeing increases. So is it a DARK WINTER or not? Maybe it depends on where you are. And, we actually haven’t started winter yet so who knows.

For the week ending on 12/12, we again hit record highs in tests, positive results and negative results. Because of some changes to the numbers after I last posted (that happens from time to time), the percentage of positive results went from 11.1% to 11.4% which is an increase. Some of what we saw a few weeks ago was likely a combination of Thanksgiving disruption and the decline in certain places. Now we have some acceleration in other places and that is sending things back up again.

I won’t show the hospital/ICU graphs this time. They continue to go up but at a much slower rate than before. Depending on the case mix in certain states, this should start to rise again if what we are seeing in those places is primarily new cases. I think this week is going to tell that story so I’ll wait and see what happens.

Random thoughts on each state in the graph below:

  • Connecticut: Cases have accelerated in the last two weeks after being relatively flat for three weeks.
  • Massachusetts: Cases jumped significantly two weeks ago and increased again last week but not at the same rate. Like Connecticut, can’t call a trend based on two weeks but need to watch.
  • Maine – Similar to the others but with a bigger jump in percentage of positive results last week. Percentage of positive results is still less than 5% so way below national total.
  • New Hampshire – With the exception of Thanksgiving, cases and percentage of positive results have been accelerating. Last week had 12% positives after 6.3% two weeks ago and total cases also doubled.
  • New Jersey – Cases actually dipped slightly last week although percent positive went up slightly. Looks like rate of growth may be slowing.
  • New York – Cases and percent positives still increasing but the change from last week to this week was the smallest in several weeks. But we can’t draw conclusions based on a single week.
  • Pennsylvania – Everything still going up.
  • Rhode Island – Didn’t report any data this weekend so the totals for this last week are artificially low. Saw an increase two weeks ago so we need to fill in the missing data to know if this is a real trend up.
  • Vermont – Also saw a slight dip in cases and percent positives last week. Three of the last four weeks have had similar cases and percentage of positive results is only 2.2% so very low. Looks to be flattening.

General theme is a lot of states have seen acceleration in these last two weeks. Pennsylvania remains the most problematic followed by New Hampshire. Just based on sheer numbers, New York is also on the watch list.

  • Delaware – Cases continue to go up as this is the seventh straight week of increases. Percentage of positives also continues to climb. No sign of slowing yet.
  • DC – Cases also continue to go up but the increase slowed last week. Percentage of positive results is still low (4%). Can’t confirm pattern based on one week of data though.
  • Maryland – Cases continue to increase although percentage of positive results has been essentially flat for four weeks. Rate of increase seems to have slowed but can’t call a top yet.
  • North Carolina – Cases and percentage of positives jumped two weeks ago and continued to increase last week although at a slower pace. Now above 10% positives for the last two weeks.
  • Virginia – Big jump in cases and percentage of positive results last week. Things look to be going up and maybe accelerating.

A region where things may be starting to climb. Virginia seems to be the most problematic followed by North Carolina and Delaware.

  • Illinois – Cases peaked during the week of 11/9 and have been falling since. Last week they were below 10% positives for the first time since the end of October. Things are clearly falling.
  • Indiana – If you account for the disruption during Thanksgiving, cases and percentage of positive results have been flat since the week of 11/9. A long plateau but things aren’t increasing.
  • Michigan – Cases peaked the week of 11/16 and have dropped since then. Another place where things are improving.
  • Ohio – Big jump in cases and percentage of positive results last week and things had been going up before then.
  • Wisconsin – Cases peaked the week of 11/9 and have been falling since then. Percentage of positive results dropped to 11.9% last week. Also another place where things are improving.

In this region, Ohio is the only problematic state. Things are improving in the other three and flat in Indiana.

  • Kentucky – Accounting for a disruption due to Thanksgiving, cases have been flat for a month. Jump in percentage of positives last week so it isn’t clear where things are going.
  • Tennessee – Big jumps in cases and percentage of positives last week. Looks like things are accelerating there.
  • West Virginia – Cases and percentage of positives were flat last week after increasing for a few weeks. Can’t call a peak based on a single week.

Of the three, Tennessee looks to be the most problematic right now.

  • Alabama – After being flat for three weeks, cases have accelerated over the last two. Percentage of positives has been steadily increasing as well.
  • Florida – Cases have been climbing for several week but the percentage of positives has been near 8.7% for three of the last five weeks so increase in cases may be due to increased testing. Appears to be in a plateau right now.
  • Georgia – Big jumps in cases and percentage of positives for the last two weeks. Similar to Alabama but at a lower rate of positives.
  • Mississippi – They only report negative results once a week so the percentage of positives is no longer useful. Like other states here, cases jumped significantly two weeks ago and were still up last week but at a smaller rate.
  • South Carolina – Mixed results – cases up but percentage down last week. Overall, the last two weeks did see a jump but pattern isn’t a clear here.

In this region, things looked relatively stable until two weeks ago where we saw jumps in several places. Alabama looks to be the most problematic while Florida may be in the best shape.

  • Iowa – Cases and percentage of positives peaked during the week of 11/9 and have dropped off quite a bit since then. New cases last week were the lowest since the week of 10/19
  • Minnesota – Cases peaked during the week of 11/16 and have been falling since then. Percentage of positives was below 10% last week for the first time since the week of 10/26.
  • North Dakota – Cases peaked during the week of 11/9 and have been dropping ever since. Last two weeks have seen percentage of positives below 10% with last week’s figure being the lowest since the week of 10/5.
  • Nebraska – Cases peaked the week of 11/16. Last week saw percentage of positives drop below 10% for the first time since the week of 10/26.
  • South Dakota – Cases and percentage of positives peaked the week of 11/9 and have fallen since.

Every state in this region is past the peak and has not yet seen any new upward trend after Thanksgiving. Clearly a region that was hard hit in early November but the situation is now improving.

  • Arkansas – Started to accelerate during the week of 11/2. Still going up but not at the same rate. Last two weeks have been slightly higher than the previous four.
  • Kansas – Cases peaked the week of 11/16 and have started to drop since then. Percentage of positives dropped but the graph is a little deceiving because the week of 11/9 was abnormally high and that’s the week that got dropped in my running four week sums. Situation improving but not as dramatically as the graph suggests.
  • Louisiana – Accounting for some disruption due to Thanksgiving, cases have been relatively flat since the week of 11/16. Small increase in percentage of positives over the last two weeks but still the smallest in this region.
  • Missouri – Cases peaked the week of 11/16 (along with percentage of positives). Things have dropped since then but have a ways to go to get back to baseline.
  • Oklahoma – Cases have been between 20202 and 21215 for the last four weeks. Wider fluctuations in percentage of positive results but the state is essentially flat and in a plateau.
  • Texas – Texas dumped a whole bunch of “probable” cases into their data base last week which kind of messed things up. It looks like things are flat but it is hard to say with any confidence.

Overall, there doesn’t look like a real problematic state here. We are down in a couple and flat in a couple. Guess Texas is the place to watch.

  • Colorado – Cases peaked during the week of 11/16 but percentage of positives has been between 9.4% and 11.7% for the last five weeks. Last week was 9.4% which is the lowest. Looks like they are coming off the plateau and starting to decline.
  • Idaho – I suspect some delay with reporting negative results since last week was unusually low. Cases were up slightly last week to a new high (10927) but the low over the last five week was 8826 during the Thanksgiving week. Guess would be still going up but at a slower rate.
  • Montana – Cases peaked during the week of 11/16 and have been dropping ever since. Last week’s total was the lowest since the week of 10/19. Coming down but still have a way to go to get back to baseline.
  • New Mexico – Case number and percentage of positives are still higher but have been flat the last three weeks. The graph is a bit misleading because the week of 11/16 had an unusually high percentage of positives (and also represents the peak in the number of cases). If next week continues to confirm the plateau, the graph will take what looks like a sharp drop.
  • Utah – Cases peaked during the week of 11/16 but the percentage of positive results has been between 18.1% and 20.5% for the last five weeks. Looks more like they are in a plateau – perhaps toward the edge and about to start coming down.
  • Wyoming – Cases peaked during the week of 11/16. Another place where we’ve had delays in reporting of negative results and we have a week with an unusually high percentage of positives. Likely at the edge of the plateau about to start coming down.

The graphs don’t show it but this region is in better shape than it was a couple of weeks ago. I think it lagged a bit behind the Midwest in starting the acceleration so they aren’t as far along in seeing things start to drop. Most of the states here appear to be flat to slightly declining.

  • Arizona – still trending up and at a rapid pace. Last week saw 18.1% positives which is higher than any week during the summer wave.
  • Alaska (got out of order) – Last week’s case number was down from the week before and they’ve essentially been flat in both cases and percentage of positives since the week of 11/9.
  • California – Cases jumped a lot last week but percentage of positives only increased from 10.3% to 10.5% so most of that increase was due to testing volume. Still, the last two weeks have been substantially higher than previous weeks. And, if California is at 10% positives, it is going to dump a bunch of cases into the system. That is also higher than at any point during the summer wave.
  • Nevada – Cases have continued to climb although the rate of growth for the last three weeks has slowed a bit. But things are still increasing here.
  • Oregon – They had issues with reporting negative tests so I can’t really make too much of the percentage of positives. Cases jumped two weeks ago and dropped back a bit last week. They had been steadily increasing before that although the last four weeks have seen the rate of increase slow.
  • Hawaii – Almost forgot them because they just aren’t participating in any increase. Things have been flat there since the week of 11/2 and the percentage of positives has been below 3% for the last eight weeks. And they have nice weather. The place to be right now.
  • Washington – Another state with big delays in reporting negatives leading to some funky behavior in the graphs. Cases were up last week to a new high but the previous weeks make it harder to determine a trend. If they’ve got their act together on reporting, we’ll know in a couple of weeks what to make of things.

Most of the states here are problematic. Alaska seems to have flattened and Hawaii has no problem at all. Can’t really say for sure yet about Oregon and Washington. Arizona and California look worse than Nevada but none of the three really look good.

Did you make it all the way through this? With some exceptions (Ohio), the middle part of the country appears to be in the best shape with cases either flat or down. We’ve got a lot of places where the last two weeks have seen an increase and we need additional data to know if it continues. Places like Arizona and Pennsylvania seem to be the most problematic but we need to be watching New York and California simply for the population.

Of course, by the time we start to get clarity, we’ll get to the end of the year where I’d expect major disruptions in the data flow due to Christmas and New Year. Still have more places where things are going up so it seems to be accurate to say the country hasn’t peaked even though states within the country are actually showing improving conditions. Looks more and more like this third wave is just going to roll through everywhere – except Hawaii.

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