US COVID Through 12/12/21

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We have to start with a caveat because any discussion of trends can’t account for significant changes to the current situation that could have a big influence on the numbers. By that I just mean that the US has just started to see cases of the new Omicron variant. When this hit South Africa and neighboring countries, we saw an explosion in cases which could certainly happen here.

For the week ending on December 12th, we had 817,194 newly reported positive cases and that was up 9% from the week before. This is a slower rate of growth than we were seeing back in mid November. And we haven’t yet come close to the August where we had four straight weeks with over a million newly reported cases.

Last year at this time, we had 1,490,162 newly reported positive cases so we are still below the peak from last year. Now these are statistics for the entire country and things will look different on a state by state basis.

Again, we have no idea what Omicron will do but, for a lot of places, we have seen a peak.

Except for the Northeast where cases have continued to climb. As cases fall off elsewhere, these states move up the list in terms of cases and they have some of the fastest rates of growth in the country. This is now clearly the worst region in the country.

  • Vermont (32) – Fifth in the nation in terms of cases per million but actually saw a decrease in cases last week. The monthly change here is the smallest in the region. Too soon to say that they’ve peaked but certainly the trend here is better than in the other states.
  • New York (41) – Second lowest number of cases in the region but that still is above average for the country. Low growth rate compared to the region but faster than a lot of the rest of the country.
  • Pennsylvania (42) – Outside of Vermont, the slowest rate of growth in the region but more cases than New York so they end up here.
  • New Jersey (43) – Essentially the same number of cases as New York but faster growth.
  • Connecticut (47) – Fastest weekly and monthly growth in the region and in the country which is why they end up ranking near the bottom.
  • New Hampshire (48) – Highest number of cases in the region and in the country but slower growth than the states ranked below.
  • Massachusetts (49) – Big monthly increase and a high number of cases.
  • Maine (50) – Big weekly and monthly increases and the fourth highest number of cases puts you near the bottom.
  • Rhode Island (51) – Just behind New Hampshire in cases and also saw big weekly and monthly increases.

This region is seeing cases accelerate and so the situation here no longer looks as good. The actual number of cases remains low but the growth rate was faster than in other regions. The trends are not going in the right direction so things are no longer positive here. For some reason, Maryland did not report any cases this week so their ranking is really meaningless.

  • Maryland (1) –
  • Virginia (31) – Clustered together with DC and North Carolina in terms of cases per million but the growth rate was slightly less here.
  • DC (35) – Low number of cases but big weekly and monthly increase.
  • North Carolina (38) – Close to Virginia in terms of cases but a much higher growth rate.
  • Delaware (45) – continues to be the outlier in terms of cases and cases continue to increase. Looks more like the Northeast at this point.

High number of cases but slowing growth rates in a few states. Better than the Northeast and trends in growth rate are getting better. Still one of the worst regions but expect to see improvement here.

  • Wisconsin (26) – Still ranks high in number of cases but saw cases drop last week and the monthly increase is low. Not yet sure we’ve seen a peak but it looks to be close.
  • Michigan (34) – Highest number of cases in the region but cases have been falling for several weeks in a row. Not falling that fast but the trend is certainly moving in the right direction.
  • Ohio (36) – Like Wisconsin, saw cases drop last week but one week is not enough to say that things have peaked.
  • Illinois (44) – Lowest number of cases in the region but the fastest weekly and monthly growth.
  • Indiana (46) – Second highest cases in the region and, if the trends continue, would pass Michigan next week. But I pay a little more attention to this state and I’m starting to see signs of a peak. Would not be shocked to see cases drop next week.

Interesting region as two of the three states saw cases drop last week which may just be the Thanksgiving disruption working itself out. Now looking better than the states just to the east on the Atlantic Coast but we have to see another week or so to confirm that cases are no longer going up.

  • Kentucky (23) – middle of the pack in cases but a big weekly decline.
  • Tennessee (27) – smallest number of cases but was essentially flat week over week.
  • West Virginia (29) – largest number of cases in the region but the smallest monthly change.

Well now we get to the Southeast where you still have a low number of cases but rising totals. Looks like they’ve all bounced off the bottom and are heading back up again. This is what happened last year with a summer wave, followed by a larger winter wave. Given they saw a huge summer wave, it will be interesting to see if that keeps this wave down.

  • Alabama (6) – slower growth rate (so far) than the other states keeps them in the top 10.
  • Florida (9) – While cases have gone up, the growth rates are not as fast as other regions and they still have one of the lowest number of cases per million in the country.
  • Georgia (17) – faster growth here than in Alabama or Florida but still a very low number of cases.
  • Mississippi (21) – biggest weekly and monthly jump in the region but fewer cases than South Carolina.
  • South Carolina (25) – highest number of cases in the region.

The improvement we saw in the Rockies spread east this week. Looking better across the region with almost all states seeing a drop in cases last week. This year’s wave has been very different than last year where cases were universally higher and we saw big increase and then big declines. We never got as high but we’ve been a plateau for several weeks.

  • North Dakota (11) – big weekly and monthly drops brings the case count down below a lot of other states so you get a good rating.
  • South Dakota (18) – similar in cases to North Dakota and also saw a similar weekly drop but the monthly drop was not as much so they rank a little behind.
  • Iowa (30) – ranks behind the Dakotas in cases and also saw a small decline last week.
  • Minnesota (33) – second highest number of cases in the country but saw a drop last week and the monthly change was low compared to other states. Will need more data to confirm the peak though.
  • Nebraska (39) – had a big weekly increase which could be recovery from Thanksgiving as it is different from the rest of the states in this region. Monthly increase is in line with the rest of the region.

Can’t really make any generalizations here because we’ve got divergence and a clear north/south split. The states here moved a little bit more in tandem last fall/winter but not so much now.

  • Louisiana (5) – I made these grouping by latitude and longitude but Louisiana has clearly been closer to the Southeast than the rest of the states in this region. Very low number of cases but they are seeing some growth.
  • Texas (13) – More cases than Louisiana and a bigger monthly increase.
  • Arkansas (19) – the only state in the region that saw a weekly decline but that needs more data to confirm. Could drop down the list next week.
  • Oklahoma (22) – almost the same number of cases as Arkansas but was flat for the week which puts them just behind Arkansas.
  • Missouri (37) – big differences between Missouri and Kansas and the rest of the region in terms of cases. Big monthly increase here.
  • Kansas (40) – similar weekly and monthly increases to the other states but more than double the number of cases puts them last here.

In the Rockies last year, most of the states were among the first to see the fall wave and among the first to peak. That seems to be true this year as well as the situation continues to improve. All of the states here saw decreases last week and are also below where they were a month ago. From the worst to one of the best in a few short weeks due to seasonal patterns. Like the Northern Plains, this wave did not reach as high as last year and things haven’t fallen off as quickly as they did last year.

  • Montana (2) – now ranks twelfth in terms of cases which is lowest in the region and ranks near the top both in weekly and monthly decreases.
  • Wyoming (4) – similar to Montana in how fast cases are dropping but still slightly above them in terms of cases.
  • Idaho (10) – big monthly drop compared to the rest of the country.
  • Colorado (14) – similar to Idaho in terms of change but still has more cases per million.
  • Utah (15) – similar to Colorado as they both rank high in weekly and monthly decrease when compared to the rest of the country.
  • New Mexico (28) – still has a high number of cases but has seen growth level off as they’ve been in a plateau for several weeks. But flat growth is better than the increases we see elsewhere so they end up ranking near the middle.

After several weeks of slow declines, we actually got weekly increases in a few places making this region look less favorable than it did last week.

  • Hawaii (3) – cases remain very low but there was an increase last week. Over the month, cases are essentially flat so you still get a good rating.
  • California (16) – still a low number of cases even with a big increase last week. Could be some settling of the Thanksgiving data but the weekly and monthly trends are now up.
  • Nevada (20) – very similar to California. More cases but a smaller weekly decrease and a small monthly increase.
  • Arizona (24) – more similar to New Mexico at this point. Cases were down slightly over last week and last month but the overall number is higher than the rest of the states in this region.

With two states in the top 10 and one just outside, this is probably the best region in the country right now. All three saw monthly decreases and they have relatively low case numbers. Oregon and Washington continue to move almost in lock step.

  • Alaska (7) – cases have continued to drop here so they now rank in the top half of the country in terms of fewest cases and the weekly and monthly declines rank near the top.
  • Washington (8) – had a small weekly decline and now has fewer cases than Oregon so they rank ahead.
  • Oregon (12) – seems to change places with Washington every other week. Similar cases but they had a small increase so they rank just a little behind.

Just to recap, the top ten are (I’m ignoring Maryland here because they didn’t report any numbers)

  1. Montana
  2. Hawaii
  3. Wyoming
  4. Louisiana
  5. Alabama
  6. Alaska
  7. Washington
  8. Florida
  9. Idaho
  10. North Dakota

No longer dominated by the Southeast. The Rockies and Pacific Northwest have taken over.

And the bottom ten with the worst at the top.

  1. Rhode Island
  2. Maine
  3. Massachusetts
  4. New Hampshire
  5. Connecticut
  6. Indiana
  7. Delaware
  8. Illinois
  9. New Jersey
  10. Pennsylvania

New England takes the top five spots and all are east of the Mississippi and northern states.

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