There are worrisome data – both cases and deaths – in Sunday’s COVID-19 report from 47 US states and the District of Columbia.
It’s day 188 since the first case of coronavirus disease was announced in the United States. On Saturday, Johns Hopkins reported 310,487 new global cases and a total of 16,046,986 cases. For the second weekend in succession, the United States has failed to report data to the World Health Organization for its Sunday Situation report.
Sunday and Monday are historically the days with the fewest reported cases and deaths, reflecting reduced testing and staff over the weekend. So when Sunday reports exceed the prior week’s daily average, that’s a yellow warning flag.
The first warning today comes from death reports. Of the five states reporting more than 25 deaths today, all have an average death rate for the week ending 25 July that is greater (🔺) than that for the week ending 19 July.
Moreover, two states, Texas and Louisiana, reported more deaths on Sunday than the prior weeks’s daily average. And in Texas, 1,000 people have died in six days.
One more yellow flag in today’s death reports: the South Carolina death rate is slightly greater than Florida, which is a distant second to Louisiana. Remember per capita data are not as dramatic but reflect the impact on a geographic region.
We know that increases in deaths follow spikes in cases, trailing by about three weeks, on average. And 17 states reported more than 1,000 cases today. Connecticut, Kansas and Rhode Island do not report on Sunday; none are likely to have been included in this chart.
The good news is that steps taken in Arizona, Florida and Texas to curtail the spread of the virus seem to be working, if you ignore their relatively high positivity rates (21.9%, 19.0% and 12.5%, respectively). WHO sets 5% as the maximum threshold which shows a jurisdiction is testing appropriately; the Pence task force sets the threshold much higher, at 10%.
The bad news is what is happening in a handful of other states that have reported more than 1,000 cases today: Illinois, Louisiana, Michigan, Missouri, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Washington. They each reported more cases on Sunday than the prior week’s daily average.
Another yellow flag: five states reported a larger average daily case rate for the week ending 25 July than for the week ending 19 July: California, Illinois, Louisiana, Mississippi and Missouri. This suggests additional efforts need to be implemented to contain the virus.
In Louisiana, there is an increase in nursing home-related cases and deaths. The state weekly report of 598 new nursing home resident cases (Wednesday 22 July) is the most new nursing home cases since since 994 were reported on 20 April 2020. Staff infections (479) are more than double those reported the first week of June (207).
[N]ursing home infections account for about 7% of the total known cases of the virus, but the 1,479 deaths of nursing home residents noted in Wednesday’s report are about 42% of the state’s total deaths from the disease.
There are as many coronavirus patients in Louisiana hospitals (1,600) as in the earlier outbreak (01 May). And the cases have spread far beyond New Orleans.
In California, 3-of-4 new new cases in Los Angeles County are people younger than 50 years old. Slightly more than half of those cases are people younger than 30. County officials report that hospitalization rates are still rising but not as rapidly as the first weeks of July.
The big question: will these state governors bite the bullet, unlike their behavior in the spring, and keep restrictions in place until the virus is controlled?
Only eight states reported fewer than 100 cases today: South Dakota (90), Montana (82), Hawaii (71), DC (63), Wyoming (29), Maine (24), New Hampshire (21) and Vermont (4).