Daily COVID-19 Briefing: Sunday

Top news, reports and insights for today:

  1. Daily deadline summaries for Sunday:
  • Florida reported 4,049 new COVID-19 cases on Saturday, another single-day record as the number of statewide infections has surged to at least 93,797 (CBS News)
  • Michael Osterhom (a trusted source) said on Meet the Press he does not think coronavirus is behaving like influenza and does not expect multiple waves, instead likening the epidemic to a forest fire that he believes will burn continuously through the summer and fall (Axios)
  • Despite everything that we know from the data, President Trump says COVID-19 is ‘dying out’. The President told the Wall Street Journal recently that testing was ‘overrated’ because it reveals large numbers of cases which ‘makes us look bad’. The federal attitude of dismissiveness will make it harder to further contain the epidemic which shows no sign of slowing (STATNEWS)
  1. U.S. daily cases spike to levels not seen since May 1, 10 states set new record highs in new cases
     The U.S. added more than 31,000 new COVID-19 cases yesterday, after a week in which 175,979 new cases were reported nationally, an increase of almost 20,000 compared to two weeks ago. On Friday and Saturday, new record high daily case totals were reported in Arizona (3,246), California (4,317), Nevada (445), Utah (643), Missouri (389), Florida (4,049), Georgia (1,800), South Carolina (1,148), Tennessee (1,188), and Texas (4,430). Records were broken on both days in Nevada, Utah, Florida and South Carolina. The leading edge of the 7-day moving average of daily cases has reached 25,000 daily cases for the first time since May 9. The overall surge in new cases is due to escalation of transmission intensity (percent growth in cumulative cases in last week of 15+ percent) in 20 states, most notably Arizona (+45%), California (+16%), Idaho (18%), Oregon (+22%), Utah (+22%), Oklahoma (+24%), Alabama (+20%), Arkansas (+25%), Florida (+28%), North Carolina (+20%), South Carolina (+32%), Tennessee (+17%) and Texas (+25%).
    The Bottom Line: The U.S. is trending back toward exponential growth at a pace not seen since early April. The White house is in complete denial. The rest of the world looks on in horror. U.S. deaths will begin following suit in the next two weeks.
  1. Change in U.S. State COVID-19 incidence rates vary astonishingly: some states rose 1,000%
     I thought it would be useful to take a look at overall trends in the incidence rates across U.S. states. That means confirmed COVID-19 cases per 100,000 population. Of course, we know those rates have been going up due in part to more testing but the shear spread in those rates and how much they have changed shocked even me. Have a look at the graph below. For each state, there are 2 bars; the dotted bar to the left is the COVID-19 case incidence rate 2 months ago on April 20; the solid bar is the rate as of yesterday. As expected, the incidence rates in the Northeast remain the highest, with 8 of 12 states over 1,000 cases per 100,000 population. New Jersey and New York stand at over 1,900, higher than any other country on earth with more than 100,000 total cases. You might think New York is way ahead of other Northeast states, but Connecticut, DC, Delaware, Massachussetts, Maryland and Rhode Island have closed the gap and are now at more than half the rate in New York. More importantly, while incidence rates doubled in the last two months in New Jersey, they rose more slowly in New York and Vermont. Maryland had the biggest rise in the northeast increasing 367%.
     I see at least 4 general patterns here. First there are a small number of states that saw their rates rise by less than 100%, including Hawaii, Montana, New York and Vermont. These are the states that should serve as models of best-practices. Second are states where rates roughly doubled, performing better than the national average. This includes Alaska, Colorado, Idaho, Washington, Wyoming, Michigan, Louisiana, Missouri, West Virginia, Connecticut, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. Third are a group of states that did what the nation did as a whole, increasing 3 or 4-fold. Lets call that California, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Illinois, Indiana, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Wisconsin, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Delaware, Maryland, Maine, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island. Perhaps these are the states that performed about average. Finally, there are a group of states that saw rates rise from 500-1200% in two months. These low-performing states include Arizona (+883%), Iowa (+707%), Kansas (+507%), Minnesota (1,215%), Nebraska (+974%), Arkansas (+668%), North Carolina (+661%), and Virginia (+517%). These are states where we have seen large outbreaks at meat processing plants and prisons. Keep in mind that two months ago was late April, so there are no states that hadn’t had time to prepare and execute mitigation strategies. By April 20, all states had time to set up robust testing programs. It is shocking to think some states have seen more than 500% growth in cases in just 8 weeks. The northeast saw rates double overall, but both the West and South saw overall rates triple.
    Bottom line: Rates continue to vary wildly across states. The hardest-hit states in the U.S. now have rates of infection that exceed any country on earth. While some states have been effective at controlling the growth of infection rates, the lowest performing states have seen rates explode with Minnesota leading at more than a 1,200 percent rise. The West and South are now catching up to the extraordinary rates of infection seen in New York and New Jersey.
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One thought on “Daily COVID-19 Briefing: Sunday

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