Coronavirus Cases Begin to Drop in Key States as Deaths Continue to Rise

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After a second Coronavirus wave started in mid-June, which resulted in a recent rise in deaths, the number of new cases finally began to drop, especially in states hardest hit in this ‘second wave.’

While states like Florida, Arizona, and Texas have had a fraction of the number of nationwide deaths nationwide and were have seen far fewer deaths than states like New York, New Jersey, and Massachusetts, who combined account for almost 40% of the United State’s COVID-19 deaths, the trio, along with California, have led a three fold spike in new daily cases.

However, over the last week, all four states’ new daily cases have been on the decline. That decrease is being echoed on the national level as well.

While New York and New Jersey were hit fast and hard in the pandemic’s early days, resulting in over 48,000 deaths, almost all happening before June, Southern states were spared from the virus’s early rampage. When politicians aimed to ‘flatten the curve,’ Cuomo and Murphy oversaw the high peaked case and death curve Fauci warned us to avoid while DeSantis and Abbott avoided having their healthcare system and nursing homes overrun by patients before being able to increase hospital capacity.

Up until the start of the second wave, Texas’s daily death count hovered around 75, Florida saw an average of 40 deaths per day, and Arizona lost less than 20 lives a day. During the same period, Northern states lost nearly 1,000 lives each day.

Though the increase in cases can be partially attributed to an increase in tests, which shot up from approximately 150,000 tests a day during the first wave to over 800,000 tests each day now.

While some of the recent spike can be explained by higher testing availability, a higher percent of new tests are positive compared to the recent trough of new daily cases and deaths which spanned from early May to Mid-June. Though the recent increase in percent positive tests pale in comparison to the early days of the pandemic.

Nonetheless, it’s very likely, considering the lack of early testing and information gathered through antibody survey’s of hotspots like New York and California, that the supposed first wave of cases grossly unestimated the daily infections. The IHME estimates nearly 250,000 people were infected each day in late March while approximately 115,000 people are infected daily in late July. Both estimates surpass confirmed cases, but it suggests the early outbreak was more severe – case-wise – than our second wave. Because deaths are a lagging indicator it’s too early to make that call.

While recorded cases did spike, they’ve started a slow and early decline, and that decline is most evident in state identified by the media as leaders in the second wave.

Deaths, a lagging indicator, which didn’t start its climb until almost 6-weeks after cases spiked, are still rising, but that’s to be expected. Wednesday’s daily death count of 1,450 is still less than half of the high point back in April.

According to Worldometer, the 7-day rolling average of new cases is down from 69,000 to 66,000 and has remained flat and slightly on the downtrend for 2-weeks. New Florida cases peaked on July 17th with almost 12,000 and has since declined to barley 10,000 new cases. Texas followed a similar path, declining from an average of 10,000 new cases on July 15th to about 8,000 new cases today. In Arizona, that number decreased from 3,700 daily cases to 2,500 cases today, and California peaked last week with 10,250 cases and fell to a 7-week average of 9,700 cases each day today.

Both deaths and new cases appear to be cyclical. High points are usually Tuesday and Wednesday while low points are Sunday and Monday. Week over week, deaths are still ticking up, but new cases are falling.

Deaths are still rising in Florida, Texas, and Arizona, but the three states combined only make up 10.8% of COVID-19 deaths in the U.S. despite being the center of the media’s attention over the last two months.

According to IHME’s mobility estimates, American’s decreased their mobility – which means they spend less time outside, in stores, at work, etc. – by 55% between March 1st and April 9th. From there, people began returning to their normal lives. On May 1st, the first lockdown restrictions were lifted nationwide in Georgia with Texas, Florida, and Colorado soon to follow. California, where cases also spiked, were much more reluctant to lift any restrictions. But it would take over six weeks for cases to rise despite the Coronavirus incubation period only lasting 3-days before patients start showing symptoms. The spike in cases only started about two weeks after Memorial Day weekend and after millions of Americans congregated coast to coast in Black Lives Matter protests. IHME estimates our mobility was down 25% from March 1st when cases began to climb on June 17th and remained consistent over the following 6-weeks.



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