US COVID Numbers Continue to Drop

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As we cross into May, the news continues to get better. So let’s get to it. For the week ending yesterday, there were 9.3 million tests recorded which is the lowest number since the last week of October. This is good news. When the virus is not widespread, there is little value in continuing to test at high levels. I’d still like to see it go lower but it is nice to things scaled back even a little.

For the week, there were 360,087 newly reported positive tests. This is the lowest figure since the week ending on October 10th. In two weeks, the number of cases has dropped from 498,971 or about a 27% decrease. Also, for the week, the percentage of positive results was 3.8% which is just the second time that figure has been below 4%. To be fair, if testing volumes had been as high back in the early fall, we likely would have had other time points below 4%. Still this is all good news and a sign that whatever little rise we had in April is now over.

I’ve updated the bar chart with last week’s data. Early in the week, the numbers were tracking the numbers from mid-March. The drop seemed to accelerate late in the week and the numbers for Saturday are striking compared to the other weeks. Curious to see how this pattern plays out next week.

The only states where the growth rate is still relatively high and there isn’t enough evidence to suggest a downturn in cases are Colorado, Oregon and maybe Washington. None of them are showing the type of growth we saw in Michigan and later for a bit in Maine. Would not shock me if all three turned down this week.

In the graph below, ignore New Jersey for now. I don’t chase these down anymore but for some reason, they revised their numbers down during the week so it makes it look like they had almost no cases last week. This was the problematic region a few weeks ago but all states are now seeing dropping case counts.

Delaware had been the exception in this next region but cases are now down two weeks in a row and last week did break the upward trend. While the drop is not as noticeable, most of the states here have also seen case counts drop for two weeks in a row. All are still above the low levels of last summer and fall before the spike started here.

Notice how quickly things are dropping in Michigan. It would be nice to fully understand this but it is like someone just flicked a switch and turned the virus off. The other states are flat at levels slightly higher than the bottom of the wave in early March and above the levels from last year as well. Interesting to see how long it takes Michigan to get back to levels consistent with the rest of the region.

All three states in this region have been flat since early mid March with just some random up and down bounces. Not much to see here.

Florida had been getting some attention but cases have dropped for two weeks in a row and last week was a bigger drop. Even with a little increase in April, they never got close to the previous peaks. The other states are either still falling or at a bottom. This will be one of the regions to watch as we move into summer to see if there is another wave like there was last summer. If not, then it may be a good sign for the fall.

Like many of the previously problematic states, Minnesota has now seen cases drop for two weeks in a row. They still stand out among the states in this region as the rest of them are flat or still slightly declining. Another common theme is that they are settling in above the levels of last summer. We’ll see if things continue to drift downward as we move into summer or if they just stabilize at this level. At this point, I think it all depends on if we continue to test at high levels.

The website I use did not record any new cases for Kansas this week. I suspect there is a big dump coming so we’ll see what happens. Although this is one way to beat the virus – just stop reporting numbers. As previously mentioned, Missouri has had some adjustments to their numbers as well leading to some odd behavior in the graph. The region is flat and actually below levels from the fall. Another place we’ll have to watch in the coming weeks as we move into summer but everything looks good now.

Colorado stands out in this region. Again, it would be interesting to understand why but there are probably too many variables to really know for sure. Still, while we saw an increase last week, it was much smaller than back in March and it does look like we’ve hit a bit of a plateau. All the other states remain flat and at low levels.

No obvious problems here as well as all the states have been flat and at low levels since mid March. Another group to watch as we move into summer to see if we get another “Sun Belt Spike”. Assuming the vaccines have had an impact and that this virus follows the course of others, the hope would be than any new spike is less than what was observed last summer. That’s what we wait to see.

And to the Pacific Northwest where we have are other two “problem” states. Washington has had a slow upward creep while Oregon saw a big jump a couple of weeks ago and now they are about the same. Both are still below the winter peak and neither one is really rising at an alarming rate right now. If this is the worst case in the country, then we’re in a good place.

April kind of started out a little rocky as we had several places bouncing off lows. A few saw some pretty significant break outs but things have clearly turned in the right direction. Hopefully, the positive pattern continues.

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