Daily COVID-19 Briefing: Tuesday

Top news, reports and insights for today:

  1. Daily headline summaries for Tuesday:
  • Coronavirus hospitalizations grow in 23 states, Texas admissions soar to over 8,000 on Sunday (CNBC, see graph below)
  • President Trump’s approval rating has fallen fastest in the 500 counties where per capita COVID-19 deaths have been highest says new Pew poll (Bloomberg)
  • Study finds that people with blood Type O were less likely to develop severe COVID-19 symptoms than people with Type A (NBC News)
  • A study from British Office for National Statistics (ONS) finds that only a third of patients who test positive for the virus report symptoms on the day of the test (BBC News)
  • 239 scientists sign an open letter to the World Health Organization (W.H.O.) calling for greater focus on the possibility of aerosol (airborne) transmission of coronavirus (New York Times)
Screen grab from CNBC.com
  1. All but 3 states in the West, Midwest and South had >5 new cases per 100,000 per day last week. Arizona’s infection rate has risen 508% since Memorial day
     Sunday and Monday saw new cases drop below 50,000 after 4 straight days above that threshold. This may signal that the upswing in daily new cases has begun slowing. On the other hand, we know that reporting lags on Sunday and Monday and it was a holiday weekend. We will need to be patient to see what the numbers look like for the rest of the week. Daily deaths remain exceptionally low with less than 300 a day reported over the last 3 days. It’s not clear when deaths will follow suit and start rising but a glimpse comes from Arizona where triple digit deaths (117) were reported for the first time today. In the last 7 days, the U.S. has added more than 348,000 cases, compared to just 216,000 weekly cases just 5 days ago.
     The bottom chart shows new daily cases per 100,000 population by state. The good news is that in the Northeast, all states except Delaware saw fewer than 5 new daily cases per 100,000 last week.
     The South was the inverse: all states except West Virginia were above that benchmark. Alabama (22), Florida (40), Georgia (24), Louisiana (28), Mississippi (23), South Carolina (33), Tennessee (21) and Texas (23) saw cases rise more than 4-times that benchmark.
     Cases rose more slowly in the Midwest, although again, all states except Michigan were over 5.
     The epidemic continues to surge in the West, with more than 20 new daily cases per 100,000 in Arizona (53) and Nevada (23). Colorado, Hawaii, Montana, and Wyoming remain under control.
    Arizona continues to be the nation’s top hot spot. The overall rate of infections will this week pass 1,400 per 100,000, placing it 7th nationally behind Louisiana (1427), The District of Columbia (1,490), Massachussetts (1,506), New Jersey (1,955), New York (2,044), and Rhode Island (1,604). To put this in perspective, the case incidence rate in Arizona was 274 per 100,000 on Memorial Day, while New York was at 1,906. In the intervening 5 weeks, the rate of COVID-19 infections has risen by 509%. The total cumulative cases in Arizona grew by 34% last week with 27,000 new cases.
    The bottom line: Caution dictates that its too early to say that the surge in cases is slowing. The Northeast is in the eye of the storm. Three states are now experiencing hurricane force winds: Arizona, Florida and South Carolina.
  1. U.S. ranks 1st on the planet in cases and deaths, 25th in testing
    Let’s review where the U.S. now ranks in terms of basic COVID-19 statistics. I will use the data from the WORLDOMETERS site based on yesterday’s numbers. This site collates data from 213 nations and territories based on multiple sources and is relied upon by many for keeping score during the pandemic in a way that maximizes comparability of data. According to this site, the U.S. has now passed 3 million total cases. We rank worst (meaning 1st) in total cases, new cases, total deaths, active cases and cases that are serious/critical. Relative ranking on population rates are adjusted for the fact that the U.S. has a population of over 330 million. In total cases, the U.S. now ranks 13th, a number that has been rising in recent weeks. Deaths per 1 million now stands at 9th. What is particularly striking is that given all these dismal rankings, the U.S. still is 25th among nations in tests per 1 million. That shows how disproportionate our national response remains given the relative size of the outbreak. The top 5 countries in testing rates are all above 340,000 per million population or twice the U.S. rate. If we were in the top 5, that would no doubt mean that our case totals would be significantly greater than current numbers reflect.
    What this means: Our low performance in testing undoubtedly hides the true magnitude of our inability to control the spread and reach of this virus.
StatisticRankCurrent value
Total cases1st3,040,192
New cases1st50,584
Total deaths1st132,979
Active cases1st1,528,266
Serious, critical1st15,198
Total case per 1 million13th9,184
Deaths per 1 million9th402
Tests per 1 million25th115,449
Numbers based on yesterday’s totals from WORLDOMETER’S rankings of 213 countries and territories.

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2 thoughts on “Daily COVID-19 Briefing: Tuesday

  1. The numbers you are giving are all misleading. You should compare the US to the Euromomo countries whose combined population is about the same as the US. They have had about 200,000 excess deaths since the start of the epidemic, the US about 135,000 so far.

    1. I respectfully disagree. First, the population of Europe is more than twice that of the US at over 748 million. Second, what are “Euromomo” countries? Third, you are misusing the term excess deaths. If you mean official deaths attributed to COVID-19, the US now has 136,099 according to WORLDOMETERS. Europe has 196,000 official deaths. Excess deaths are different. Both US and European excess deaths associated with COVID19 are estimated to be about 1/3 to 1/2 larger than that. Fourth, the way to avoid misleading numbers is to compare rates, not totals. That is how epidemiologists adjust for different population sizes. As of yesterday, the US ranks 9th at 410 COVID19 deaths per 1 million people. All 8 counties ahead of us are in Europe. I will have to calculate deaths per million for all of Europe. I suspect it will be about 300 per million. I will check. What exactly are you so angry about?

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