A Tale Of Two Curves

Ken AshfordEbola/Zika/COVID-19 VirusesLeave a Comment

The US is having a consistent plateau of 20,000-25,000 new COVID cases per day. However the location of those cases are moving. The Northeast has effectively crushed the epidemic spread. The Great Lakes is making progress. The South and Sunbelt however are heating up. One of the metrics that is useful to look at to determine spread is how many days does case count double? At the start of the epidemic, doublings were happening every three to six days. No state is at that pace; thankfully. However there is massive differences between the fastest and slowest doubling states.

Arizona has the fastest current doubling time in America at just over 2 weeks. At current pace, Arizona will quadruple its case count in a month. Even if there was a magic wand waved that stopped transmission this afternoon, Arizona would see a 20% increase in cases over the course of the week as there is a multi-day lag between when people get infected and when people are tested. There is no magic wand. There are smart public health measures and harm minimization techniques including wide spread mask wearing that can slow spread down.

New York got crushed in March and April. However aggressive lock-downs and wide spread changes in social behavior have produced massive changes in disease spread. Now case count will double in a year. New York’s hospitals have a fighting chance to now accommodate any unexpected surge or reasonably expected non-COVID disasters.

But Florida recorded almost 2,800 new coronavirus cases on Monday — the highest number of new and confirmed cases in a single day the state has seen, according to the Florida Department of Health. Despite the increase, Gov. Ron DeSantis told reporters Tuesday that the state will not shut down.

How states are trending

 21 states are seeing upward trends in newly reported cases from one week to the next: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Kansas, Oregon, Louisiana, Montana, NevadaNorth Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, West Virginia and Wyoming.

• 8 states are seeing steady numbers of newly reported cases: Connecticut, Indiana, Maine, Mississippi, Ohio, South Dakota, Utah and Washington.

• 21 states are seeing a downward trend: Colorado, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New Jersey, New York, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia and Wisconsin.

• One state, Vermont, has seen a decrease of at least 50%.

The April-May story was a Northeast and Pacific Northwest story. The June-July story will be a Sunbelt story.