I’ve been seeing lots of articles alleging that the rate of infection is shooting up across the country. LA County is re-ordering the wearing of masks indoors, even by people who have been vaccinated. Does any of this make sense?
Above you can see the current rates. Anyone who has read this blog for a while is likely to notice that the case rates for each state (IROC_Confirmed) are still quite low (see the table for April 28th here for a comparison). If you look around at my older reports you’ll find that Arkansas’ rate of .229 cases per thousand persons is a pretty low rate compared to previous leaders which were 3 or more times higher. But are the rates growing each day (accelerating)? In some states we see non-trivial accelerations. Nevada’s acceleration (dIROC_Confirmed) is causing the case rate to increase by .0171 cases per thousand every day. Missouri is at .0182. However, most states’ accelerations (while they are non-zero) are fairly small. Texas is pretty close to zero. My guess is that their case rate is falling. California doesn’t even show up on this list (their case rate is .031 and their acceleration is .0021).
I suspect that some of the panic amongst our journalists is the fear of the case rates doubling or tripling again like they did last summer. Or perhaps there’s just not enough to write about? If you look below, you can see that there ARE some counties that have really high rates. Most of these are in Arkansas and Missouri. As these states share a border, this appears to be a local situation more than a US national trend. You can see that the case rates in Baxter County, Arkansas (in the north of the state near the Missouri border), are about 4 to 5 times higher than the overall state rate. The second highest case rate is in Taney County, Missouri, which is quite close to Baxter County. I can’t figure out why the case rate is high in Midland County, Texas. There’s nothing about an outbreak on their County COVID website, so who knows.
Do take note however, that the rate of deaths is extremely small. This is likely to do with the better resistance that vaccinated people’s immune systems make to an infection.
Los Angeles County Case Rates over Time
Below you can see the Confirmed Case curve for Los Angeles. An increase in slope is barely perceptible today, but you can see that cases have essentially been flat since about February.