I’m wondering how much longer places are going to continue updating COVID data. I know we’ve had a few high profile cases lately but it has really fallen off the radar as most people just learn to live with it. At some point, we’ll stop counting and turn off all the lights and it will be over.
The good news is the cases continue to drop although it is a slow, gradual decline. Last week, I had 773,186 new cases. With the missing data added, the total rose to 801,338 which is still a 5% drop from the week before.
This past week, there were 683,165 newly reported cases but several states (North Carolina) have gaps in their reporting so that number will go up but will still be under the 801,338 from the week before. And it will likely be back to mid June levels as cases start to drop in the South.
Cases fell in 41 states last week. The four with big declines are places where there were missing days so the bulk of the declines were less than 20%. Again, consistent with what we’ve been seeing which is just a more slow gradual decline rather than the steep drops of earlier waves.
The biggest increases were in New Hampshire and Vermont which is odd but they are still at very low levels.
And we continue to see that number of cases in the South this year is well behind what happened there last year. It is worth showing one graph to illustrate this. Last summer, all five states in the Southeast peaked at 6000 or more cases (per million). This year, none of them got above 4000. I don’t have Louisiana on this graph but the story is the same there.
If I ignore the four states with the bulk of the missing days, the ten states with the fewest cases per million last week were Vermont, Maine, New Hampshire, DC, Washington, Idaho, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Oregon, Utah and Nebraska. Vermont, Maine, New Hampshire, Connecticut and Massachusetts were in the top 10 last year as well so this looks like a seasonal low for New England.
The ten with the highest number of cases per million were Kentucky, West Virginia, Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee, Oklahoma, Alaska, South Carolina, Texas and Florida. Of those, Kentucky, Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas and Florida were in the top ten for most cases at this time last year as well. I know this point has been made before but I think it helps to keep showing it. Summer is a peak season for COVID in the south.
One last thing to note. The majority of states have lower cases this year than they did last year. The big exceptions right now are Michigan, North Dakota, Maryland, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and South Dakota. This is just increase over last year because some of the states here still have low totals. A few clusters but not sure if it means anything right now.
As we move into fall, we’d expect to see cases start to rise in a lot of places. That’s the next signal to look for. Right now, it seems like the summer wave is over in the South and they didn’t come close to what they saw last year. Cases are dropping slowly across most of the country. So we’ll see what happens as we move into fall.