Post #1050: Trends, data reporting issues, still waiting for the U.K. variant

Posted on March 10, 2021


States continue to add old cases into their total case count data.  This muddies up any trends that might be occurring and makes it difficult to track the trend in actual new cases.   This is all by way of saying that it’s hard to tell whether or not there is any change in the trend of new cases. 

Yesterday it was Missouri, which added about 50,000 old cases that had tested positive via antigen testing.  I simply threw those out of the data.  Today it’s Minnesota, which added an undisclosed number of previously-unreported posititive tests.

Those states can be identified from notes on the New York Times website.  I suspect that a few other states are doing similar clean-ups, but without documentation, I can’t be sure.


Daily new cases appear to have begun rising in the Midwest and Mountain states (circled below).  That’s only significant because those areas led the rest of the country in the U.S. COVID-19 third wave.  It’s too soon to tell whether that’s a real change in behavior in those areas or not.

Source:  Calculated from NY Times Github COVID-19 data repository, data reported through 3/9/2021.

The irony here is that those are NOT the areas where the new, more-infectious COVID-19 variants are prevalent.  If we’re waiting for the U.S. fourth wave to start, courtesy of those new variants, well, it seems to be starting in the wrong place.

Meanwhile, Florida shows no such turnaround.  Florida should have by far the highest U.S. prevalence of the U.K. variant.

New York, with its own home-grown more-infectious variant?  New case rates are flat, as they are in much of the Northeast:

The new-case declines in California finally appear to be tapering off.  No way even to guess whether that’s the effect of the California variant.

All told, it’s as clear as mud.  I think I’m going to stop posting on the current trends until such time as there’s something clear to post about.  I like to stay on top of things, but right now, there’s nothing to be on top of.