Post #1074: COVID-19 trend to 3/24/2021, Michigan outbreak continues, NY reporting issue.

Posted on March 25, 2021

The U.S. count of daily new COVID-19 cases rose yesterday. 

That was due, in some part, to a data reporting issue with New York.  New York added about 15,000 excess cases to their COVID-19 case count on 3/24/2021.  (Relative to a recent daily count of about 5,000).  That excess case count was large enough to bump up the national number a bit.

But even without that, the U.S. new case count would have risen slightly.   (Calculated by redoing all the numbers without those 15,000 additional cases). Given that, I’m just leaving those additional NY cases in the file.  It’s just another data reporting “speed bump”.

On any given day, the new COVID case count rises in about half of states, and falls in about half.  But unlike the situation two weeks ago, we’re now starting to see persistent trends by state, not just random noise.  Essentially the entire Northeast is now on a slow upward trend.  The outbreak in Michigan continues unabated.   Florida’s case count seems to have bottomed last week and is now slowly rising.  And so on.  What was random day-to-day variation a few weeks back is now resolving into some persistent state-level trends.

We really are in a race between vaccination and spread of COVID-19.  I think vaccination will win, but it’s far from clear.

If your main focus is on avoiding further economic damage from this pandemic, then, rationally, you should be pushing a pro-vaccination, pro-mask-use, pro-COVID-hygiene agenda.  That’s the agenda that maximizes our chances of avoiding any re imposition of restrictions on commerce.

All you have to do is look to Europe to know that we remain at risk.  Great Britain, France (Paris), Italy, and to some extent Germany have reimposed partial or full shutdowns.

Three factors have helped the U.S. to avoid the same fate, so far:  The luck of timing, the heavy toll the disease has already taken here, and our rapid rate of vaccination. Perturb the current fragile equilibrium and we could easily end up in the same situation Europe is in now.

End of rant.  Graphs follow.

National and regional trends.  The blip in New York data reporting is circled in red.

Six regional graphs.  Other than the New York issue, there’s really not much change from the last time these were posted.

A second slide of the Midwest, going further back in time.  I had mistakenly said that Michigan was near its prior peak.  That’s not correct, as you can see here.  They are at about half their prior peak rate of new cases per day.