Cases Surging – Until the Weekend

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I ended up scrapping the one website I had been using since March because of some data issues. I’ve now gone back to CDC as my single source for everything and I’ve updated the previous data sets. I also decided to align everything with calendar week so it made some marginal changes in a lot of the things I had been using.

Last week was interesting. Up until Friday, we were poised for another big increase in total cases. The increase was tracking to be a bit smaller than the week before but still very large. Then cases just collapsed over the weekend. Weekend reporting is spotty in many places but they had been following the general increasing trends.

Let me give you the numbers. From Monday (7/12) through Friday (7/16) there were 172102 newly reported cases. In this past week, from Monday (7/19) through Friday (7/23), there were 264627 newly reported cases. That’s a 53% increase.

Over the first weekend (7/17-7/18), there were 69158 newly reported cases. Over this last weekend (7/24-7/25), there were 30960 newly reported cases. That’s a 55% drop. Have no idea whether that is a real drop or just a delay in reporting.

Meaning that for the week, we ended up with 295587 newly reported cases compared to 241260 the week before. That’s still an increase but only a 22% increase which is a slower rate of growth than the previous two weeks.

Let me just pop up the graph as it might illustrate this a little better.

During the wave last summer, we had four weeks in a row where the case growth was greater than 20%. We’ve now just hit the fourth week this year with that level of growth. Last year, this was a sign that the wave had topped – there was a modest increase in the next week and then cases started to fall. This coming week is going to determine whether we stick to that pattern or see increased growth. At this point, I don’t have a guess.

I’ll just run through the state graphs. Despite the weekend drop, cases were up almost everywhere and the growth trends are scary looking in a few places. Past history says we only get a couple of weeks of that type of growth but it always manages to freak everyone out.

In the Northeast, New York continues to lead the way in new cases but most of the region saw an uptick this last week. Still, the rate of change is small so I think you’d be hard pressed to really call this a surge.

All states here were up again last week but North Carolina took a big jump compared to the rest. Cases there are still half of the peak from last summer although the peak last summer was in early July. I always caution against making too much out of a single point so we wait and see what happens.

Much like the Northeast, we just see small increases in this part of the Midwest. All states are still below last summer’s numbers and we haven’t yet seen sharp increases. Not yet looking like a problem.

Kentucky and Tennessee seem to be following the same pattern with relatively big jumps over the last two weeks. Tennessee is still way under their peak of last summer but Kentucky is very close to the small peak they saw last summer. These are two of the places we need to watch since they look to be early in a potential wave and could still see increases over the next 2-3 weeks.

Cases are up sharply for the second week in a row in Florida and Alabama and Mississippi also saw a big jump. They are still below the peaks of last summer, but the waves of last summer saw cases increase for 4-5 weeks in a row. If that holds, they could easily pass last summer’s peaks. For some reason, Georgia and South Carolina are not yet seeing cases rise as strongly.,

I don’t know if the CDC is getting accurate information from South Dakota. They go for several days with 0 reported new cases. Outside of South Dakota, we see small increases in the other states but like the rest of the states in the north, the increases are hardly alarming.

Here’s where things get a little interesting. I should mention again that these are all cases per million which adjusts for the different population in the states. Arkansas and Louisiana zoomed past Missouri this week to become the new biggest problems (along with Florida and Alabama). Missouri is interesting because they saw small rises for four weeks in a row and then two weeks with big jumps. Last week, the growth rate slowed which is good news. Not saying other states will automatically follow this pattern but it could mean that we see things start to slow in other places during this coming week.

In the Rockies, we see small increases everywhere (except Colorado). Right now, none of these increases looks particularly alarming. All of the action continues to be in the South.

We do see increases in Arizona, California and Nevada but all remain well under the peaks of last summer. And the growth we are seeing now is nothing like the growth we saw last year. Had kind of hoped this is the pattern we would have seen in the South but that isn’t the case. Still none of these three are participating like they did last year. Hawaii is always different in timing from the rest of the country but it could be that we are going to see a similar late July/August increase like we did last year.

We see increases in all three states here as well. I find it interesting that Oregon and Washington seem to be following the same track because their graphs almost lay on top of each other. I don’t really know how concerned to be about increases like we see here. The scary ones are where growth looks more exponential where here is looks pretty linear. I suspect there are reasons for that but I don’t have enough data to really prove anything. Still, these don’t look like problems.

So we don’t yet know whether next week will look more like the first part of this last week or like the weekend. Got a couple of places seeing pretty big jumps and we don’t know if Missouri is going to be predictive or if Missouri just takes off again. I do think we’ve reached a point where this next week is important. We’ll get a better picture of how close this summer will follow last summer once we get to the end of the week. I might jump back in if we get a strong signal either way in the first couple of days.

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