Dark April??

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So we continue to grind along with numbers that aren’t really good or bad news. There has not yet been another state that has broken into a spike like Michigan but a couple are still looking like they could. Cases continue to go up but not in every state. Rates of increase have slowed in a couple of places that were on the watch list.

At the end of March, I thought it would take another two weeks to sort things out and we’ve had a week and a half since then and we’re about in the same place but with a few positive signs.

For the week that ended yesterday, there were 10 million tests recorded and that is essentially unchanged from the previous week (up 0.5% if you must be precise). There were 473,866 positive results recorded and this is up 5.2% from the previous week total of 450,444. It marks the fourth week in a row that cases have gone up.

The percentage of results recorded during the week that were positive was 4.7% which is also up slightly from the 4.5% of a week ago and that figure has now gone up five weeks in a row. To be fair, the last three weeks were 4.4%, 4.5% and 4.7% so it isn’t like it is a strong upward move.

The number of cases was the highest since the week of February 21 but the rate of increase is not what it was at the beginning of the wave in late September. For perspective, the first three weeks of the fall wave saw cases go up 12.7%, 14.3% and 21.8%. Over the last three weeks, cases have gone up 9.6%, 5.8% and 5.2%.

The same is true of percentage of positive results. Back in late September, that rate went from 4.1% to 5.6% in the first three weeks of the wave. Since March 14th, we’ve gone from 4.0% to 4.7% in the same time frame.

So we are seeing cases rise but we are not seeing the same rate of increase we did at the start of the fall wave.

On a state level (including DC), 26 states saw an increase in cases last week and 25 saw a decrease. The biggest increases were in Louisiana, Nevada and Wisconsin. The biggest decreases were in New Mexico, North Carolina and Alabama. Again, about a 50/50 split.

Here come the graphs:

  • California – after a small increase two weeks ago, cases dropped slightly last week but no evidence of a problem.
  • Texas – cases increased slightly last week breaking a five week trend but the figure for last week was still lower than any week since early October. Again, no evidence of a problem.

Here are some summary statements for this first group:

  • New York – cases dropped last week after going up three weeks in a row. The rate of change has slowed. One week is too early to say anything.
  • Florida -cases were up about 10% last week and that is the fourth week in a row of increases. The rate of change is still low so, while the trend is in the wrong direction, the growth rate is not yet like the start of a wave.
  • Pennsylvania – cases were up last week after being down the week before. The rate of change has been stable since the end of March. And the two week indicator actually went down yesterday. Like Florida, there is some concern but it still doesn’t quite look like the start of a new wave.
  • Illinois – cases were up 22% last week and have now been up four weeks in a row. The total last week was double the low set in mid March. The rate of change has been increasing but is still low compared to other places. One to watch.
  • Ohio – cases were up 1.3% last week. They have gone up four weeks in a row but the change over the last two weeks is hardly explosive growth. Actually looks more stable than truly increasing and not a concern right now.
  • Georgia – cases were down 2.5% last week and have been dropping since the peak during the week of January 9th. Since they haven’t hit a bottom, there is no concern here.
  • Arizona – cases were up 15% last week which sounds big but they are still below mid March levels. Growth rate is really too small to indicate a problem right now.

Summaries for the next group:

  • Michigan – cases continue to rise and were up 14% last week. There are signs that the rate of change is slowing but nothing has topped out yet so this is still the biggest problem. If my media indicator is correct, this might be a top since Michigan has been in the news and the media tends to tune in just as things are peaking.
  • Massachusetts – cases dropped 8.5% last week breaking a four week run of increasing cases. There is other evidence the rate of increase has slowed and my two week indicator has been down four days in a row. Still not enough evidence to call a peak though but it lessens the concern.
  • Minnesota – cases were up 12.7% last week and that is fifth week in a row of rising numbers. The number of cases last week as the highest since the week of January 9th so they’ve come back quite a way. Rate of change is going up but not at Michigan levels. Probably call them Michigan Lite. Still a concern but not yet clear if we are going to see things start to skyrocket.
  • North Carolina – cases were down last week although they didn’t report Saturday. Still, things here are flat at worst and not a problem.
  • Indiana – cases were up 9.9% last week and have also been up four weeks in a row. The rate of change remains low and not really indicative of a wave. Having tracked this more closely, I can say that the increase here is primarily in a few regions. In other parts of the state, the virus is not really a problem. During the fall wave, things were up all over the state.
  • Tennessee – Cases were down 19% last week but they also didn’t report anything on Saturday. Still there is no evidence of a problem here.
  • Wisconsin – Cases were up 37% last week and were at the highest levels since the week of February 13th. Maybe they could only hold on for so long being surrounded by Michigan, Minnesota and Illinois. A wait and watch candidate right now.

Moving on to the next group:

  • New Jersey – cases were down 14% last week breaking a six week upward trend. The rate of change has slowed and the two week indicator has been down since April 4th. Can’t call it over based on a single week but it lowers the concern.
  • Colorado – cases were up 13.3% last week and have now been up four weeks in a row. The current number is the highest since the week of January 23rd. Right now, the increase is not in wave territory but it does need to be watched.
  • Virginia – cases were up 5% last week but have really been flat since the week of March 6th. No evidence of a problem.
  • South Carolina – cases continued to drop and were down 9% last week. They haven’t hit a bottom yet so there is no concern.
  • Missouri – cases were up 11.5% last week but have been bouncing up and down since the week of February 20th. No evidence of a problem here.
  • Iowa – cases dropped 1.6% last week and have really been flat since the week of February 13th. No evidence of a problem.
  • Alabama – cases dropped 22% last week and they still have not hit a bottom. No problems here.

On to the next group:

  • Maryland – cases were up 7% last week and have now been up for five weeks in a row. This last week was the highest since the week of January 30th. But the rate of change actually slowed a bit last week. Wait and watch but not a big concern yet.
  • Washington – cases were up 2% last week and have been moving up for four weeks. But the rate of change has slowed and it doesn’t look like cases are taking off so the concern is lower.
  • Kentucky – cases dropped 19% last week and they still haven’t hit a bottom. No problems.
  • Louisiana – saw a big jump last week with cases up 40% but still below levels back in mid March. Not going to be overly concerned about one week.
  • Utah – cases dropped 2.2% last week and they also haven’t hit a bottom yet. No concern. Would love to understand why there is a big difference between Utah and Colorado though.
  • Oklahoma – cases dropped 21% last week and they have also not hit a bottom. No problems here.
  • Arkansas – cases dropped 2.4% last week and they are also not yet at a bottom so no problems.

On to the next bunch:

  • Connecticut – cases dropped 13% last week. A couple of weeks ago, they looked like a problem. Now they don’t as the growth rate has slowed. They still seem to move in tandem with New York and New Jersey and all three are in similar spots so it will be interesting to see what happens next week.
  • Nevada – cases were up 39.5% last week but the numbers were still below late February levels. Can’t really react to a single big increase. Like Louisiana, it doesn’t yet look like the beginning of a problem.
  • Nebraska – cases up 8% last week but really things have been flat here since mid February. Nothing suggesting a problem right now.
  • Idaho -cases up 12.5% last week but have been flat since the week of February 13th. Again, there is nothing to suggest a problem here.
  • Mississippi – cases down 14.6% last week and still looking for a bottom so there are no problems here.
  • New Mexico – cases were down 30% last week although they didn’t report on Saturday. Still, they’ve been flat since mid March so no problems here.
  • Kansas cases were down 15% last week but they do have spotty reporting. Even allowing for that, things have been flat since early March and there are no signs of any new surge.

Almost to the end. Second to the last group.

  • New Hampshire – cases were up 11% last week and have been up for five weeks in a row and the rate of change is increasing. It doesn’t yet look like exponential growth but it is an area of concern as cases continue to rise.
  • Oregon -cases were up 3% last week. While they’ve been up four weeks in a row, the small increase last week does lessen the concern of some new surge.
  • West Virginia – Cases were down 5% last week and have now been down two weeks in a row since the big jump during the week of March 27th. Does not look like a problem right now.
  • Rhode Island – Cases were down 19% after two bigger weeks. Now it just looks like they’ve been flat since the week of February 6th. Since the upward move wasn’t sustained, there don’t appear to be any problems here.
  • South Dakota – cases were up 5% last week but they’ve been bouncing for four weeks now. Maybe settling in at a higher level then the lows in February but no evidence things are going to surge again. Doesn’t look like a problem.
  • North Dakota – cases were up 8% last week and the slow increase has continued with cases up for six weeks in a row. The numbers last week were the highest since the week of January 16th. Still the rate of change remains low and is more flat than increasing. Not a big concern.
  • Montana – cases were up 18% last week but have been bouncing up and down since the week of February 27th so the jump is not a concern. Things are flat here and that does not suggest a new surge is coming.

Last group:

  • Maine – cases were up 25.5 last week and this marks the second big jump in a row. The rate of change is going up as well and Maine now ranks third in that category behind Michigan and Vermont. Now a big area of concern.
  • Delaware – cases dropped 10.5% last week after a big jump. The pattern now appears flat since the week of February 6th so no evidence of a new upward trend here.
  • Vermont – Cases were down 17% last week which is the first drop in three weeks. Not wanting to overreact to one good week but the rate of change (while still high) has been dropping for the last two weeks. It is starting to look like the worst is over but can’t call it until we get more data.
  • Alaska – Cases were up 0.7% last week (1005 to 1012). These last two weeks have been similar to late January/early February and it looks less likely that we’ll see a big increase here.
  • DC – cases were down 6% last week and haven been more or less flat since the week of February 13th. No issues here.
  • Hawaii – cases were down 12% last week for the first drop in five weeks. While it is still too early to call this one, the rate of change has slowed and the two week indicator turned down a couple of days ago. Less of a concern than it was last week.
  • Wyoming – case were down 1.2% last week and last week was the lowest total since the week of September 12th. No evidence of a problem here.

Michigan remains the biggest concern even if there are some potentially hopeful signs if I put on my rosy glasses. Maine, New Hampshire, Minnesota, Illinois and Colorado probably rank as the next places to be concerned about with Wisconsin a place to watch. Concern is lessened in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Hawaii and Vermont but we still need to watch them.

Yes, cases are up. But they are not up uniformly across the country. We remain in a place where some states are doing fine and others aren’t. It sure does not look like the beginning stages of some new wave but we have to watch to make sure other places don’t become the new Michigan.

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