Post #1018: U.S. COVID cases down 71% from the peak. But.

Posted on February 19, 2021

But 1:  Texas. 

Winter weather is affecting the reporting of new COVID-19 cases and fatalities across many jurisdictions. New case counts will be artificially low until reporting resumes.

Source:  Texas COVID-19 dashboard.

After looking at the Texas COVID-19 dashboard, I’d say that the statement above is accurate.  Over the past three days, the seven-day moving average of new cases has fallen by more than 40% in Texas, Arkansas, and Louisiana.

Including those states, the decline so far is 71%.  Excluding them, the decline is 70%.

I suspect that, as with Thanksgiving and Christmas (Post #929), some portion of the recent reduction in Texas cases will be permanent.  Ultimately, the final rate of decline for this period will likely end up between 70% and 71%.

In the national/regional graphs above I’ve highlighted the South Central region in gray.  That region contributes slightly to the sharpness of the decline.  But only slightly.

But 2:  Declines have ceased in three bellwether states.  Yesterday, I pointed to North Dakota’s increasing new case rate as something to keep an eye on.  Today I note that declines in new-case rates have now ceased in three states that were on the leading edge of the third wave:  ND, SD, WY.

If I date the minima for those states to somewhere between 2/10/2021 and 2/15/2021.  That means that new infections stopped falling in those states somewhere around the end of January.  (Figuring roughly 16 days’ average lag between infection and reporting, due to the lags between infection and symptom onset, and then seeking care, getting tested, having test results reported, and then using a seven-day moving average to smooth the data.)

I’m not going to make too much of that until I see a few more of those early-decline states do the same thing.

That said, what makes these three states interesting is that were among the first states to show a sharp rise in cases for the U.S. third wave of coronavirus.  And they were among the first to show a sharp decline in new cases.  So I’m wondering if they’re among the first to show the end of the downward leg of the U.S. third wave.

Two asides:  Herd immunity, and Super-Bowl explosion of cases.  Still waiting for either of these to show up.

There’s still no sign that the decline is due to anything other than seasonality.  I saw Wall Street Journal opinion piece yesterday claiming that the decline was kind-a, sort-a, maybe due to herd immunity.  The writer clearly had not bothered to do even the most basic look at the numbers to test out that hypothesis.

Finally, it almost goes without saying that there’s still no evidence yet of a post-Super-Bowl explosion in new cases.  It’s still a little early for that (13 days after Super Bowl Sunday).  But I’m betting that you won’t see any mention of it in the newspapers unless there was some super-spreader event somewhere.  So I’m keeping up the watch.