US COVID – Post Thanksgiving

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Now we are a week into December and I’m guessing most of the Thanksgiving backlog has been cleared. That gives us a couple of good weeks before the end of the year causes major disruptions.

The overall take is that cases continue to rise but not at the rate we saw in the summer. We are starting from a higher baseline but, even compared to last year, the numbers are down. Last year, several states had peaked but the country as a whole still had more to go. The number of cases actually peaked during the first week of January but some of that was the holiday lag.

For the week ending on December 5th, there were 733,309 newly reported positive cases which was an increase of 19% over the previous week. But that figure is inflated because the numbers during Thanksgiving week were lowered as there were delays in reporting. Thanksgiving week was actually down 5% from the week before and that needs to be considered.

Number of tests may change as new data comes in but, for last week, 9.7% of the tests were positive so we’ve jumped from 5.8% to 6.3% to 8.2% to 9.7%. This is similar to what we saw in July as the summer wave got going. This current wave is now in its sixth week. Past history suggests maybe another 4 weeks or so before numbers start to come down.

At this time last year, we were coming off a week with 1,385,345 newly reported cases so we are a little more than half of last year’s total. Some of that is likely because we had some places in the north see waves in August (Delta) which wasn’t the pattern we had last year. But we would need to see some major acceleration in case growth to approach last year’s numbers.

In the Northeast, all the states but New Hampshire were up from last week’s total and were also up from totals four weeks ago. Would say that the situation has gotten a little worse there except for Maine and New Hampshire which might be near a peak. Going state by state:

  • New Hampshire (19) – has one of the highest number of cases per million people but, compared to the rest of the region, the growth rate has slowed.
  • Connecticut (29) – cases are way up from four weeks ago but the overall number still ranks low so they end up as second best in the region.
  • New York (35) – also seeing a big jump from four weeks ago and more cases than Connecticut so they end up here.
  • Maine (37) – the growth in cases has slowed as well but not as much as New Hampshire so they don’t rank as high.
  • New Jersey (38) – like New York but cases grew slightly faster so they end up slightly worse.
  • Pennsylvania (40) – case growth rate is a little slower than New York or New Jersey but case count is much higher (per million).
  • Massachusetts (47) – big jump in cases from four weeks ago put them behind Pennsylvania.
  • Rhode Island (48) – another place with a big jump from four weeks ago and has more cases per million than Pennsylvania.
  • Vermont (51) – currently the worst state in the country. Passed New Hampshire for cases per million and is the second highest in the country right now. Plus saw a big jump from last week so high case numbers and accelerating growth puts you in last place.

Moving down the Atlantic, we are seeing growth everywhere but only Delaware really stands out on the negative side. North Carolina is in the top 20 and the rest rank around the middle.

  • North Carolina (17) – cases are up but not as fast as other places and they still rank low in terms of number of cases.
  • DC (22) – faster growth than North Carolina but fewer cases (for now).
  • Virginia (25) – starting to see faster growth but still coming from a small number of cases.
  • Maryland (27) – similar to Virginia but growth just a bit faster.
  • Delaware (44) – growth rate similar to Maryland and Virginia but a much higher number of cases.

In the Midwest, cases are all way up from four weeks ago but seems to have slowed a bit last week compared to other regions. They all have high number of cases so they don’t rank high. Not good but may be nearing a peak.

  • Michigan (24) – very high number of cases but they have actually dropped for two weeks in a row.
  • Illinois (32) – cases have been up six weeks in a row but they rank lowest in the region in terms of cases per million and the rate of change last week was actually pretty good compared to other regions.
  • Indiana (36) – cases way up from early November but also did not see a huge increase last week.
  • Wisconsin (45) – may pass Michigan next week for number of cases and they are still growing here so you get a bad rank.
  • Ohio (50) – big jumps from last week and four weeks ago and a high number of cases is why they are only ahead of Vermont.

This region looked fine a few weeks ago but the growth rate has turned up. There is always an issue with percentage change when you start from a smaller base it is easier to get a large percentage change. Still, the number of cases in a couple of states also ranks high. Things are getting worse here.

  • Tennessee (30) – far behind the other two in terms of cases but has clearly come off the low.
  • West Virginia (42) – the one week increase is probably an overestimation but the case number is very high.
  • Kentucky (43) – similar to West Virginia – fewer cases but faster growth from four weeks ago.

In the Southeast, cases are no longer declining and most states are back to where they were in early November. But the actual cases numbers remain very low and the growth rates are lower than most other regions. Still the best place to be.

  • Mississippi (2) – saw a decline last week and had almost no growth from where they were four weeks ago.
  • Florida (5) – cases were up but has the second lowest number of cases per million.
  • Georgia (7) – slightly fewer cases than Mississippi but a little bit higher growth rate.
  • Alabama (13) – actually down from where they were four weeks ago but had a pretty big increase last week.
  • South Carolina (16)- highest number of cases in the region but still very low when compared to the rest of the country.

A mixed bag in this region. Cases remain high but growth rates are basically in the middle of the pack. Not a great region but seems to be in a holding pattern.

  • Nebraska (28) – fewest cases in the region but still ranks high relative to the rest of the country. Slowest growth rate last week in the region.
  • North Dakota (31) – hard to figure because cases have been on a slow decline since late September unlike last year when they dropped like a rock. But still has a very high number of cases even if the trend is in the right direction.
  • Iowa (34) – middle of the pack growth but a high number of cases.
  • Minnesota (46) – highest number of cases per million in the country and case growth rate is higher than average.
  • South Dakota (49) – saw a big jump last week and we need to wait and see how much of that was holiday disruption. Ranks very high in number of cases and with the big jump last week, they fall to the bottom of this region.

Big differences in this region which is also because I grouped together a couple of smaller regions so we see the north to south split. Things are fine in the south but not looking great in the northern parts.

  • Louisiana (4) – more like the Southeast than the other states here. Low number of cases and actually below where they were four weeks ago.
  • Texas (9) – also lower than they were four weeks ago and a very low number of cases.
  • Oklahoma (21) – still a relatively low number of cases but they’ve come up quite a bit from where they were four weeks ago.
  • Arkansas (33) – big jump last week which might be due to the holiday disruption but they are also up quite a bit from four weeks ago.
  • Missouri (39) – case count is middle of the pack but growth rate over the last week and last four weeks has been among the highest in the country.
  • Kansas (41) – case count getting up there and also seeing growth.

On to the Rockies where, other than New Mexico, it looks like all the states have peaked and are starting to see cases come down. They no longer rank as high in terms of cases. A region where things are improving.

  • Montana (10) – cases are half of what they were four weeks ago and they rank in the middle in terms of number of cases.
  • Idaho (14) – increase last week is likely holiday disruption so would expect to see a better rating next week as cases continue to drop.
  • Colorado (15) – in the top 10 when ranked by four week change which drives this rating since cases remain near the middle when compared to the rest of the country.
  • Wyoming (18) – saw a big increase last week which is likely the holiday disruption. Like Idaho, would expect to see a better rank next week.
  • Utah (20) – Cases have not fallen here as they have in other states so they don’t rank as high.
  • New Mexico (26) – Cases are still among the highest in the country but they have been flat for four weeks which helps the ranking as cases aren’t accelerating.

Things are in good shape in this region. Cases are mostly flat not really going up or down and they are very low in three of the four states.

  • Hawaii (1) – lowest number of cases per million and no real growth over the last four weeks.
  • California (6) – low number of cases and they have been flat for about three weeks.
  • Nevada (8) – slightly higher number of cases but they have been dropping for about four weeks.
  • Arizona (23) – highest number of cases in the region but counts have been essentially flat for four weeks. If that continues, they should also get a better ranking next week.

Lastly, we get to the Pacific Northwest which is really seeing things improve with cases dropping to low levels.

  • Alaska (3) – cases have come down so much that they now rank in the top half of all states. And they are down more than 50% from four weeks ago. Plus they saw a small decrease last week so you get a high rating when the trend is moving in the right direction.
  • Washington (11) – kind of eerie how these two states seem to be in lockstep with each other. There are small differences but they are close in cases and in weekly and monthly change. Both saw small weekly increases but are down significantly from where they were four weeks ago.
  • Oregon (12) – as stated above, basically these two are twins.

In case it wasn’t obvious, I do this type of breakdown because the national numbers don’t tell the whole story. We saw an increase over the entire country but cases are actually dropping in the Pacific Northwest and Rockies. We have small increases in the Southeast but the cases there remain low.

Just to recap, the bottom ten ranked from the worst are Vermont, Ohio, South Dakota, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Delaware, Kentucky and West Virginia. Pockets in the Northeast, Upper Midwest and Ohio Valley and Delaware. So the problem areas have clearly moved out of the northern tier of states.

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