US Covid Numbers – Last Week of August

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The short version of this is that we are still waiting on a peak but there are a whole lot of signals suggesting we are very close to one. Now some of that is due to the impact of four big states (California, Florida, Texas and New York) where case growth has stalled or is dropping. There are still a limited number of states where I’m comfortable saying they are past peak.

We are seeing evidence that the wave is leaving the south and moving further north. It remains to be seen what happens over the rest of the fall and winter which were the worst times for most places last year.

I did wait a few extra days just to let the weekend numbers settle. For hurricane reasons, we got nothing from Louisiana over the weekend making it harder to say where they really are.

For the week ending on August 29th, there were 1,046,080 newly reported cases. This was up about 3% from last week which is the tenth week in a row of weekly increases. But it is also true the this was the smallest percentage increase over that same period. So take your pick if this is a good sign or a bad sign.

Also, the seven day total of cases dropped on Sunday after dropping for the first time on the 25th. The 10 day average hit a high on the 27th and has been lower since. Because there are daily patterns, I also compare each day to the same day on the previous week. Last week, two days were lower than the week before. All of this suggests we are nearing a peak.

Here’s kind of a messy bar chart showing daily cases back to March. You can draw your own curve over the top to see that the growth rate has really slowed. Case counts are always higher at the end of the week so this week will be interesting as it unfolds. But if we don’t peak this week, it will likely be next week.

Not going to show the state by state graphs just because they aren’t much changed from last week in terms of the story they tell.

Two weeks ago, the top ten was Florida, Texas, California, Georgia, North Carolina, Tennessee, Louisiana, New York, Alabama and South Carolina. (Like how New York tends to be ignored when discussing high case counts). This past week, the top ten was Florida, Texas, California, Georgia, Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina, New York, Ohio and Kentucky.

Not much change. Louisiana and Alabama dropped out while Ohio and Kentucky moved up. Louisiana should be taken with caution just due to the missing days.

If I look at where the states ranked, the biggest droppers were Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Arkansas and Rhode Island. The biggest risers were Kentucky, Ohio, Indiana, West Virginia, Michigan and South Carolina.

Last week, cases fell in Louisiana, California, Alabama, Missouri, Arkansas, North Carolina and Mississippi so they were still up in most of the country. Right now, California, Missouri and Arkansas are the places where we have the most confidence that things have peaked. Others may reveal themselves this week.

The biggest percentage increases were in Maine, West Virginia, South Dakota, Kentucky, Ohio, Indiana, Nebraska, Hawaii, South Carolina and Wisconsin. I’d probably expand that list to include Virginia, North Dakota and Montana as all are places where cases were up by more than 40% week over week.

Hawaii and South Carolina are the oddballs on the list but South Carolina got started a little later than other parts of the south (like Georgia).

As we’ve been for a bit, the trend is that the southern wave is peaking but we haven’t seen strong evidence of a downturn just yet. The places where cases are rising the fastest are mostly in the midwest and northern plains. That’s where things stand going into September

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