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Active cases down 58%

Only good news today… Known active cases have been falling rapidly for a month now. In fact, we’ve fallen 58% from the peak on January 11th. A few weeks ago I said that by mid-February COVID would have fallen enough that even the press would notice, and this is now happening. If you’ve watched any news at all, you know that COVID is receding. I’m modeling about 732,000 known active cases left. This is still quite a bit above the peak of wave 2 in July, but I project that we’ll be down to July levels by the end of February.

In addition, we’ll now see daily deaths fall quite rapidly from this point out. I’m confident in this because deaths are fairly easy to project about 3 weeks out.

We’ve now vaccinated about 34 million people, or a bit over 10% of the population. That doesn’t sound like much, but we’ve now removed 10% of the population from susceptibility, and this has an immediate impact on Rt, the transmission rate. Every 10% of the population vaccinated should cause Rt to fall a similar 10%. As of yesterday, there were another 21 million doses delivered but not administered. I expect that the vaccination rate will increase based on this, so I’m thinking we’ll have 20% of the population vaccinated by the end of the month. As I’ve discussed several times, I believe that we reach herd immunity at less than 100 million vaccinated (see the February 1st discussion pinned to the end of this report). We should get there sometime in March.

In other news, as COVID winds down, several of the tracking and analytical sites are closing shop. In particular, The COVID Tracking Project, which I rely on for raw data, is closing on March 7th. I’ll continue reporting IF I can find another credible data source, otherwise, perhaps I’ll just track national data, which I can source myself. We’ll see.

In case you missed it, here is my latest radio interview: COVID, By the Numbers (virginiainstitute.org)

National Analysis

Here is where we stand with known active cases. We are back down to the level we saw on November 3rd of last year. I believe that we’ll be at July 2020 levels by the end of February.

Below is the national daily death count. I’m confident that we’ll see fairly rapid declines in daily deaths over the next 3 weeks. The brown line is my daily death model, which has tracked pretty well with actual data since August.

Here is the graph of daily deaths per 1,000 known active cases, still remarkably stable, and a good predicter of daily deaths over the next 3 weeks.

Individual States

All of the states I track are past peak, with some receding faster than others. Generally, the states hardest hit are declining the fastest. Here is Arizona, down 68% from the peak.

SC is down 40% from the peak.

Here is Florida – down 57% from the peak on January 8th. Now down below July levels.

California is now down 73% from the peak. A remarkable drop.

Georgia is down 58% from the peak, and almost at July levels.

Same caveats with Texas as always – their reporting is messy, but nonetheless down 48% from the peak.

Here are VA and NC. 53% drop from peak in NC, and 42% in VA.

Washington data is a mess. I won’t bore you with the details, as I have in previous reports, but here is what it looks like.

Here are NY and NJ – NY down 47%, and NJ down 40%. NY is now below their April wave 1 levels, and NJ is close.

Here is Massachusetts. Down 60% from the peak on January 12th.

…And here is Michigan, down an amazing 84% from peak, and just about at wave 1 levels.

Here is PA, down 63% from the peak on December 16.

Here is Colorado, down 79% from the peak on November 21st.

Here is Illinois, down 78% from peak and nearly at May 2020 levels.

Here is Wisconsin, down 85% from the peak.

Here is Alabama, down 63% from peak, and below July 2020 levels.

And Tennessee… down 74% from peak.

Here is Ohio – down 75% from the peak on December 14th.

Here is Indiana, also down 75% from peak.

I said I wouldn’t report again on South Dakota, but the news is positive, with SD down an amazing 91% from the peak. I model that SD has just 941 known active cases left.

So that’s it for today. I’ll report again next week.

–Shane Chalke, FSA

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