Early October – Still in Wait and See Mode

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Last year, cases bottomed out in mid September but we had another local low towards the end of September. From that point on, cases essentially rose through the end of the year. This year, we are still seeing the impact of cases falling over the south so the overall numbers look good but we do have places where cases are on the rise. The next month probably tells the story of what winter is going to look like.

For the week ending on October 3rd, there were 705043 newly reported positive cases. This was down 10% from the week before and the fourth week in a row of declining cases. The percentage of positive results was around 7.4%. With last week, we are back to mid July levels and down from the almost 11% peak set in mid August when things were really flaring up in the South. I’ll toss in a chart going back to mid March just to illustrate the decline.

If we go state by state, there were eleven states where cases went up week over week: Maine, North Carolina, North Dakota, New Mexico, Michigan, Minnesota, Alabama, Idaho, Arizona, New Hampshire and Colorado. The ten states with the largest week over week decline were Florida, Arkansas, Mississippi, California, Tennessee, Hawaii, South Carolina, Georgia, Louisiana and New Jersey.

The overall pattern continues with the big declines happening in the South and most of the increases happening in the far north as six of the eleven states share a border with Canada. With Michigan, you have the Great Lakes in between but you get the point. A few of the others seem to be anomalies where cases really aren’t going which I’ll explain in the region by region graphs.

  • Maine – Cases were up almost 40% and they just set a new high in cases per million. Would honestly expect things to start leveling off given the rest of the region and the length of the current wave.
  • New Hampshire – cases were up 4% but they’ve been in about the same place for three weeks in a row.
  • For the rest of the region, cases were down 3% in Pennsylvania, 5% in Connecticut, 6% in New York, 8% in Rhode Island, 12% in Massachusetts, 14% in Vermont and 18% in New Jersey.
  • New Jersey had been in a rough plateau for five weeks so this might be a break to the down side. But we aren’t seeing big declines here for most of the region.
  • North Carolina – while cases were up 32%, they were still at levels similar to the start of the wave at the beginning of August. I suspect cases were artificially lower last week and this does not look like the start of a new wave.
  • In the rest of the region, cases were down 2% in Delaware, 2% in Maryland, 13% in Virginia and 16% in DC.
  • This is the second week in a row for declines in Virginia, so I’d expect further declines. Cases still appear to be in a plateau in Delaware and Maryland.
  • In Michigan, cases were up 17% but have still not reached the April highs. Not sure if they will get there.
  • Cases were down 6% in Ohio and Wisconsin, 11% in Illinois and 13% in Indiana.
  • Illinois and Indiana are close to being back to beginning of wave levels but we still aren’t seeing the type of declines here that were are in the South.
  • Cases were down 13% in Kentucky, 14% in West Virginia and 26% in Tennessee.
  • West Virginia did lag the other two but is now in a down trend.
  • Cases were up 11% in Alabama but are still just at mid July levels so this just looks like a weekly anomaly and not a new uptrend.
  • Cases were down 22% in Georgia, 24% in South Carolina, 30% in Mississippi and 33% in Florida.
  • We continue to see big declines and have not hit a minimum.
  • North Dakota – Cases were up 19% and the wave is at the point where we’ve seen declines in other places so the next couple of weeks should be interesting.
  • Minnesota- Cases were up 14% and this is the third week in a row where they’ve been above the April peak. Again, the wave is getting a big long so we’ll see if it starts to top out.
  • Cases were down 2% in Nebraska, 6% in South Dakota and 13% in Iowa.
  • Even with the declines, cases really seem to be in a plateau in those states.
  • Cases were down 8% in Oklahoma, 8% in Kansas, 12% in Missouri, 14% in Texas, 22% in Louisiana and 32% in Arkansas.
  • Louisiana and Arkansas look like the other southern states while we have smaller declines elsewhere but clearly the trends continue to be down.
  • New Mexico – cases were up 17% but really within the same range they’ve been for the last four weeks. So it really just seems like they are in a long plateau and cases aren’t going up or down.
  • Idaho – cases were up 11% and broke slightly out of the range of the last two weeks.
  • Colorado – cases were up 1% but still below the peak in late August. Just appears to be a plateau or a slow decline.
  • Cases were up 1% in Utah, 2% in Montana and 14% in Wyoming.
  • Wyoming did have their lowest total in five weeks but I can’t call a decline based on one point.
  • Even with the declines, it really looks like cases are stable in most of the region – not really trending up or down with Idaho being the only exception.
  • Arizona – cases were up 5% but remain below the peak in late August. Looks like just some week to week bounce since cases have been in a range for four weeks in a row. Similar story to New Mexico.
  • Cases were down 8% in Nevada, 25% in Hawaii and 27% in California.
  • Real declines in Hawaii and California and cases are slowly going down in Nevada while they remain flat in Arizona.
  • Cases were down 2% in Washington, 6% in Oregon and 7% in Alaska.
  • That puts Alaska back in the map and we’ll have whether the down trend continues.
  • We do have down trends in both Washington are Oregon but cases are going down pretty slowly compared to California.

So that’s where we stand. The overall numbers are positive but I’m trying not to be overly optimistic given the expectation of a fall/winter wave. The remaining concern is whether we’ll see things turn around and start to rise – especially in those places where cases are flat or just slowly declining.

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