Post #947: COVID trends through 1/12/2021. Is North Dakota the bellwether?

Posted on January 13, 2021

Source: Calculated from NY Times Github COVID data repository.  Data reported through 1/12/2021.

North Dakota now has the second-lowest rate of new COVID-19 cases in the country.  (Well, maybe third — they are tied with Vermont, rounded to the nearest whole number.)  Only Hawaii has a materially lower rate.

North Dakota led the way on the upslope of the U.S. third wave.  Two months ago, they were the country’s basket case.  And now they’re the brightest spot in an otherwise gloomy U.S. mainland.  So here’s hoping they’re the bellwether for the downslope of the third wave as well. 

And here’s hoping that somebody in the mainstream media notices the low rate in North Dakota and asks why that’s happening.  My guess, as I’ve stated before, is that they’re approaching herd immunity in ND.  They’re running out of people to infect.  But that’s neither here nor there.  First, somebody has to notice what’s happening, then we can ask why.  And I doubt anybody will notice until ND has literally the lowest rate in the nation. If then.

A few weeks back, I thought ND would have the lowest U.S. rate by now (Post #928).  That was wrong.  Maybe that was wrong because this whole analysis is off-base.  And maybe that was wrong because the post-Christmas surge got in the way.  Don’t see the post-Christmas surge in ND?  In this case, that would be the level spot on an otherwise-downward-sloping curve.  That level spot, for the past two weeks, is the upward departure from trend that is the definition of a surge.

So, maybe give it another couple of weeks, and we’ll see if ND has the lowest rate in the entire U.S., including Hawaii.  Instead of just being tied for lowest rate in the lower 48.  Will that happen?  And will anybody notice if it does?

There’s more to say about current trends, the post-Christmas surge (such as it is), and so on.  I’ll do that as separate posts.