COVID Archives

COVID analytical update for Monday, May 25

Lowest daily death count since March 30

Happy Memorial Day, everyone –

I took a few days off for the weekend. The big news today – we have another record test reporting day today, with 441,027, an all time high. We also recorded a dramatically dropping death count over the weekend, with today’s reported deaths, 523, the lowest since March, quite early in the pandemic. Many states are also dropping dramatically, but we do have a few hot spots that are against the overall trend, most notably California (more on this below). The cumulative case growth rate came in at 1.2%, the lowest yet, and a snail’s pace compared to last month.

The IHME model updated today, and the projected peak daily deaths move up one day to last April 15th.

As always, feel free to send me your questions about my assumptions, methodology, or modeling in general.

  • Likely date of active case peak (Chalke modeling): April 10
  • Likely date of peak deaths (IHME): April 15 (last revision on May 25)
  • Short term projection for active cases tomorrow: 153,000
  • Total Test Results reported today: 441,027 (record high)
  • Total Pending tests reported today: 3,368 (very low)
  • National reported case Growth Rate today: 1.2% (record low)

Shane Chalke Interviews

First, here is the big news. I show this graph once in while to keep you up to date, but I don’t model deaths – I concentrate on modeling active cases, which I continue to believe is the most important metric to gauge the slowdown (why does no one else model it?). Daily deaths are roughly half of what they were a bit over 2 weeks ago – and this, with many states expanding their definition of a COVID death.

Here is the national picture of active cases – small decline today but relatively flat for a week now. We’re down 29% from the peak. This is mixed bag of rapid declines in most areas, coupled with a few spots where the disease is still growing. Known and still active cases (the number of people that are currently sick) is a bit over 150,000. To add some perspective, this is a tiny sliver of the U.S. population – about 0.044%.

Here are the new reported cases nationally. The long, slow decline continues. I’ve added the linear trend line so it’s easier to see the pattern.

Here are the daily reported tests. As you can see, we had no slowdown in test results over the holiday weekend, and in fact set a new record today, at over 440,000. Total reported tests are now just under 15 million. More importantly, positive tests set a new record low, at only 4.5% of total reports.

On to the states. Both VA and NC are in some stage of reopening (all 50 states are now). North Carolina moved on to Phase 2 Friday, while VA maintains heavier restrictions. Looking at the 2 states side by side, you can see a lot more COVID in VA, even though VA has only 85% of the population of NC. On a population adjusted basis, VA has about 57% more COVID than NC. IHME updated their model today, and still project peak deaths in NC at June 6th. NC has dramatically increased testing, but I still expect NC to show declines soon. VA shows a new peak today – It’s hard to interpret VA data, as they use “event date reporting” (I’ve discussed this several times). IHME now projects peak deaths in VA way back on May 2nd, so I expect this curve to fall in line shortly as well.

No surprises with Washington – long slow decline – total remaining cases are small – around 1500.

Florida seems to be leveling off from their 2nd half of May bump. The hot spot in Florida continues to be Miami. Other than in SE Florida, COVID presence is small.

Here are NJ and NY. Hard to tell from the graph (it has the historical big NY numbers on it), but NJ has had quite a decline this weekend. NJ is now down 73% from the peak, and I’m now thinking active cases will stay below NY. NY is now down 83% from the peak, which is remarkable. Both states are recovering well.

California has problems in Los Angeles, which is skewing the entire state’s numbers upwards. IHME projects peak deaths in California back on May 13, but is modeling a long tail.

Massachusetts has had a very rapid recovery, now down 61% from the peak on April 27th. This is a remarkably rapid recovery.

Georgia has increased for 6 days now. Still well below the peak last month, but we’ll watch it closely.

Big drop in Michigan over the weekend. Michigan is down 63% from the peak on April 6th.

Pennsylvania continues on trend – steady declines since the peak on April 11. Pennsylvania is down 66% from their peak.

Here is Texas, with some increases the past 2 days, after some rapid drops. I believe Texas peaked on May 19th. Texas is another state with a small COVID presence per capita.

And finally, here is Colorado. Colorado is one of the states that has aberrations in their data. In any event, it looks like Colorado is about 48% below the peak on April 29th.

So that’s it for today. Please remember that although the number of active cases is declining, it’s declining slowly (some areas quite fast, though). We’re on the backside of the curve, in some states still near the top, where the probabilty of coming in contact with an infected person is relatively higher than it will be in another week or two. Everyone be careful.

–Shane Chalke, FSA

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