Delta Dawn?

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I mentioned I was going to do another US update since cases ticked up in the last week. Had to wait for today for the CDC website to update state totals for the weekend. It should be noted that the vast majority of states did not report anything over the weekend and so we may see a data driven increase next week. It may take another week before we can really confirm some of the trends.

For the week ending on Jul 3rd, there were 4.1 million new tests recorded which was a drop for 13% from the previous weeks and the lowest reported total for a week since mid June of 2020. There were 98,042 new positives recorded which is up 11% from the week before. The percentage of positive results was 2.4% last week and that is up from 1.9% the previous week (and is the fourth week in a row of increases). It is the first time we’ve crossed back above 2% since the week of May 30th.

CDC data for hospitalization and emergency room visits are showing small increases as well so we are trending back up again. A lot of this is driven by just a few places though. And, we should put these numbers into some context. At this time last year, we were right in the middle of the Sun Belt wave with a total of 341,790 newly reported cases and a positivity rate of 6.8%. The Sun Belt wave ran until the end of July so, right now, we are seeing a sharply reduced signal from last year.

Sometimes, a picture is worth more than 1000 words so here is the bar graph of newly reported cases per day since mid March. Yes, the pattern has clearly been up the last two weeks but we are still far below where we were just back in April.

Continuing the theme of looking back to last year, there are only five states where the weekly total for last week is above the weekly total for the same week last year. Those are Hawaii, Wyoming, Missouri and Colorado. Most of the Sun Belt is significantly below where they were last year at this time when cases were surging. The five states showing the fastest growth last week were Missouri, Hawaii, Arkansas, Nevada and Wyoming.

I think Missouri has been in the news and it is fair to say they are probably the worst case right now. So I’ll show a graph for them below. The odd pattern in a lot of the graph are weekends when reported was down. You can clearly see the upturn at the end but it is also possible that things there have already peaked. The highest new daily total was back on June 29th and the moving average hit a high on July 1. Missouri is one of that states that actually reported cases over the weekend but, since we don’t know how much of a disruption there was, it is still too early to say with confidence that things have peaked. It is the state to watch this week.

Just going to run through all the state graphs starting in the Northeast. Cases are uniformly low across the region but, with the exception of Rhode Island, they were all flat last summer as well. They do seem to be even lower than last year but there isn’t a lot of predictive power here.

Moving down the coast a bit, we come to a region where a few places were impacted by the first wave last spring. North Carolina saw a small but steady increase until the middle of July but has remained flat and close to the bottom of the graph this year. Rates in all places are lower than where they were last year at this time.

In the Midwest, we did see a small but gradual increase last year through June and into July and then a flattening until we got to the fall wave. That has not happened this year as all states have remained flat. Indiana is running above the others but still down from last year.

Last year, cases in Tennessee started to climb in early June and peaked in early July. This year, they’ve been flat and far below last year’s level. The other two states in this group have also been flat for the last couple of weeks and slightly below where they were last year. One theme through all of this first set of graphs is that we don’t really see any states where cases are really rising. The are flat and at low levels.

Into the deep South, where all five states in the group saw large jumps in cases starting in early June and running through mid to late July. This year, there are small rises in a few places but nothing coming close to what was observed last year. Florida is running above the others but still well below where they were last year. Looks like it could be a peaceful summer compared to last year.

Many of the states in the upper plains saw cases tick up in early July of last year but things didn’t really hit here until the fall. Right now, cases are low everywhere and the trends are flat.

By this time last year, all the states in this region were seeing cases rise and they would continue to rise in most places. The rate of rise differed but all were going up. This year, the two that stand out are Arkansas and Missouri but there are smaller rises in other places. As previously mentioned, Missouri is above where they were last year but the recent rate of change doesn’t look to be worse than what they saw last year at this time. And the same could be said for Arkansas.

It would be nice if this thing would just totally fade away but that doesn’t seem to be the case. But if Arkansas and Missouri end up being the limit of any type of summer outbreak, then that’s really a good thing. Even though cases are up in both places, it is not yet the type of growth we saw in Michigan in April.

Out to the Rockies. I mentioned before that Wyoming is one of the places where cases increased the most but the graph really doesn’t look that bad. Yes, cases are up but just edging up slowly. Colorado was in a low place last year so the fact that they are above where they were last year doesn’t seem like a big issue. The other states continue to see flat curves with cases at low levels.

Arizona was getting a lot of negative press this time last year and they had observed a big jump in cases but nothing like that has happened this year. They’ve been flat through June and into July. Last year, they had basically peaked by this time so unless there is a sudden new surge, we just aren’t going to see any rise this year. The numbers in Nevada for last week were lowered because they didn’t record anything on the weekend. We’ll see what happens this week. Hawaii made the last because they had almost no cases at this time last year but they aren’t seeing an increase in cases. California is also flat.

All three states here saw a gradual rise through June and into July of last year. That hasn’t happened this year as they’ve been flat to down.

It is true that the increase would have been larger if we had full reporting over the weekend. But that would not have changed the comparisons to last year and it is unlikely that we would have seen big jumps anywhere. At this point, we are really just looking at Missouri and Arkansas. And it certainly looks like we are not going to see anything close to what we saw last summer. Hopefully, that is a good sign for the fall and winter.

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