Post #965: Everybody got the memo except South Carolina

Posted on January 20, 2021

If you’ve been following along, you know the drill by this time.  Below are eight graphs.  Two show the US as a whole — first for the US and six broad regions, and then a tangle of lines, one line for each state.  Followed by six regional graphs, showing the states.

All the underlying data are from the NY Times Github COVID data repository.  Data reported through 1/19/2021.

Near as I can tell, only South Carolina has a true upward trend.  Virginia also appears to, but (per prior post) we won’t really know until a 1/17/2021 data reporting artifact works its way through the data.

I find the state data to be weirdly correlated.  It’s as if everybody but South Carolina got the memo.  And so you see all the states with an apparent peak, all within days of one another.

You can’t attribute the synchronization to state policy, to mask wearing, to h*** i******, or to any other one obvious factor, because all of those vary across states.  Maybe this is some unforeseeable consequence of the holidays, but I surely can’t see how.  That’s the only thing these states had in common.  Or maybe that’s just a visual artifact of the holiday dip, and the states are not as coordinated as they look?

I’m going to have to go look at some typical flu season data, to see if this really is as anomalous as it seems to me.  Maybe this sort of thing happens all the time, but nobody ever remarked on it.  My impression is that flu season is far more ragged, but I should document that.

My guess remains that we’re looking at the start of the end of the third U.S. wave of COVID.  We are, as I noted on 12/28/2020, due for it.  The big open question is what will happen when the more contagious UK variant takes over.