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COVID in Full Retreat!

Yes, it’s true. As of yesterday, I model 463,843 known active cases, which is less than the wave 2 peak of last July (465,945). An artificial milestone for sure, but provides some perspective, as the wave 3 peak was nearly 4 times as large as wave 2. It shows just how far and how fast COVID is receding.

We’ve now vaccinated over 43 million people in the U.S. with at least one dose. I’ve explained why I focus on those with one dose or more, rather than 2 doses in the past, but here is a new article confirming that a single dose of the Pfizer vaccine provides substantial protection, which is why I believe it to be the more predictive statistic: Some Covid-19 Vaccines Are Effective After One Dose, Can Be Stored in Normal Freezers, Data Show – WSJ. And also this one: FDA documents show Pfizer COVID vaccine protects after 1 dose | CIDRAP (umn.edu)

At 43 million vaccinated, I believe we’re about half way toward herd immunity. I explain this in my February 1st discussion, pinned below. Here is an article from Dr. Makary, professor at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, claiming herd immunity by April. This comports well with my analysis – it was published the day after my last report: We’ll Have Herd Immunity by April – WSJ

Here is the prediction I made in late December:

I predict that we’ll see COVID in rapid decline in 2 months’ time, by the end of February, and life will more or less return to normal by spring 2021. After springtime, we’ll still see breakouts in certain communities based on vaccine acceptance, but it will be even more geographically localized than it is now, and these clusters will burn out quickly.

I took a lot of heat for that statement, as COVID was still rising at that time, but at this point the numbers speak for themselves.

As this terrible COVID chapter winds down, I’ll try and report a little more often until my data sources dry up (I have at least until March 7). It’s much more enjoyable to report when COVID is in retreat than when it’s rising.

National Analysis

Here is the important picture. A remarkably rapid drop, and a stunning 73% drop from the January 11th peak.

Below is the national daily death count. The brown line is my daily death model, in which I have a high degree of confidence. We’re starting to see the decline in daily deaths.

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, and some dropping precipitously. Here is Arizona, down 84% from the peak.

South Carolina is down 51% from the peak.

Here is Florida – down 67% from the peak on January 8th. Now down materially below July levels.

California is now down 86% from the peak, and below wave 2 levels. A remarkable drop.

Georgia is down 69% from the peak, and now below July levels.

Same caveats with Texas as always – their reporting is messy, but nonetheless down 81% from the peak. Some of this could be delayed reporting and lack of testing during the storm. However, Texas didn’t report testing data for 4 days last week, but then reported a pretty typical 5 days’ worth on Friday, so I don’t think that’s the primary factor. Nonetheless, it will be difficult to make any conclusions about Texas data for another week or so. Texas data frequently has inconsistencies, but this makes it worse.

Here are VA and NC. 66% drop from peak in NC, and 67% 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 55%, and NJ down 54%. NY and NJ are both below their April wave 1 levels.

Here is Massachusetts. Down 73% from the peak on January 12th, and now below wave 1 levels.

…And here is Michigan, down an amazing 87% from peak, and now below wave 1 levels.

Here is PA, down 73% from the peak on December 16.

Here is Colorado, down 83% from the peak on November 21st.

Here is Illinois, down 86% from peak and now below May 2020 levels.

Here is Wisconsin, down 89% from the peak, and now below wave 2 levels.

Here is Alabama, down 80% from peak, and substantially below July 2020 levels.

And Tennessee… down 88% from peak, and below summer 2020 levels.

Here is Ohio – down 83% from the peak on December 14th.

Here is Indiana, down 86% from peak.

So that’s it for today. I’ll report again later this week, I expect with continued good news. Perhaps just a few reports left before I run out of data…

–Shane Chalke, FSA

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