US Covid – March 19 – Cases Still Dropping

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So the news continues to be good. I know the virus has been pushed off the front pages and, given the current levels, it should be.

A quick summary:

  1. Cases continued to drop last week.
  2. All of the states where cases were up two weeks saw a drop last week.
  3. We did have eight states that saw cases go up last week.
  4. The seven day total may have hit a bottom – the last two days saw increases.

For the week ending on March 20th, there were 196,511 newly reported cases and that was down about 17% from the week before. This is the ninth straight week of declines and the ninth week in a row with declines of more than 10%.

The nine weeks in a row ties the period from the week ending on April 25th, 2021 to the week ending on June 20th, 2021 as the longest run of declining cases. But that period saw a couple of weeks where the decline was less than 10% so this is the longest run of big declines. Remembering that we did see a small wave last year in mid March, it is possible that we are getting near a bottom.

But we have yet to see sustained increases in any state. Maybe what we are seeing is some kind of “spring break” effect where there is an increase in testing as people get ready for vacations and it temporarily drives up the numbers in a limited number of locations.

Here is the chart looking at cases per million against the weekly change in cases. I’ve adjusted the y-axis scale as cases have come down to improve clarity. Cases remain relatively high in Idaho and Alaska but the vast majority of states are less than 1000 cases per million. For perspective (and ignoring the early months of the pandemic), previous lows have been in the 100-300 cases per million range so we are generally higher than historic lows.

The biggest increases were observed in Kentucky, Rhode Island and Hawaii. Other states that saw increases were North Carolina, New York, Connecticut, Vermont and Massachusetts.

We do have a few states where it looks like they’ve dropped their reporting frequency to once a week which makes it harder to compare.

But the ten states with the fewest cases per million last week were Kansas, Nevada, Nebraska, Ohio, South Carolina, Iowa, Louisiana, South Dakota, Mississippi and Wyoming.

And the ten states with the most cases per million last week were Idaho, Alaska, Vermont, Kentucky, Arkansas, Rhode Island, Maine, Colorado, West Virginia and New York.

Overall, the news continues to be good as cases continue to fall and we don’t yet have any state showing a sustained upward trend. The data do continue to suggest we are close to hitting a bottom in terms of cases and so we may not see continued declines. Until that happens, the trends remain positive.

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