Post #1399: COVID-19, no trend at 1/12/2022

Posted on January 13, 2022


For the second day in a row, total U.S. new COVID-19 case counts did not materially increase.  We now stand at 241 new cases / 100K / day, roughly the same as two days ago.  For the past seven days, the case count rose just 35%.

Yesterday’s pause was clearly mostly an artifact of data reporting.  Today, by contrast, I can point to a handful of high-population states — starting with New York and Illinois — whose true declining new case counts contributed to the stable U.S. average.

Cases are still rising in most of the country, for sure.  But a handful of places — NY, NJ, DC and now a few others — seem to be turning the corner.

Combine this with a couple of days of non-rising new hospitalizations (Post #1398), and even if this isn’t quite the peak, it’s a nice change of pace.

We’re due for it.  This is the week that the winter wave peaked last year.  And we’re now nearly four weeks into our wave, whereas both Great Britain and Canada appear to have peaked at just over three weeks.

Edit:  It now appears that the NY Times may be suggesting that we are at or near the peak, per this reference.

Data source for this and other graphs of new case counts:  Calculated from The New York Times. (2021). Coronavirus (Covid-19) Data in the United States. Retrieved 1/13/2022, from”  The NY Times U.S. tracking page may be found at

The Northeastern region led the way up on this wave, it’s only reasonable that they’d be first to peak.  About a week now I started pointing to NY, then NY/NJ.  Now let’s go out on a limb and point to the whole NY/NJ/CT/MA cluster as being near, at, or past peak.

In the South Atlantic region, DC was hit first and hardest, and now clearly appears to be post-peak.  Not much in the way of declines elsewhere, but (e.g.) Florida, South Caroling, Georgia appear to be tabilizing.  That matters in the U.S. average due to the large populations of both Florida and Georgia.

In the South Central region, there are no outright declines. But just contrast what we had a week ago — uniformly, everybody’s rates were going through the roof — with the scramble of lines at different angles at the right edge of the graph.  That’s an improvement.

The Midwest has a cluster of states where today’s new case rate is at or below the rate from three or four days ago.  (Those are listed from top to bottom on the graph.)  For one state in isolation, you could dismiss that.  But when that many states in (fairly) close proximity show the same pattern, that’s starting to look like a trend.

The Mountain and Pacific states were mostly late to start this wave, and they are still firmly in the rapid-growth (“vertical”) phase of their Omicron waves.

As long as I’m focusing on nothing but good news, I will note that both the U.K. and Canada appear to have peaked.  The U.K. daily new case rate is down almost 25% in the past week.

Speaking of Canada, it looks like the Quebecois are going to tax people who won’t get vaccinated, proportional to the additional costs they are imposing on the health care system.  (Source).  I will note that that great bastion of American liberal socialism — Forbes magazine — has suggested the same for the U.S.  (That’s sarcasm, in case you don’t know what Forbes is).  Makes sense to me.

For those who think this sets some great precedent, just recall that most (maybe all?) U.S. life insurance companies set separate rates for smokers and non-smokers.  (Random reference).   For the simple reason that smoking knocks a decade off your life expectancy (best guess, here’s the CDC’s writeup).

Smokers are, at root, drug addicts.  If you can charge drug addicts for the predictable average impact of their addiction, I find it hard to say you can’t charge the vaccine-stubborn for the predictable average impact of their mulishness.

Source:  Calculated from Virginia Department of Health, case rates by vaccination status, week ending 12/25/2021.