COVID-19 Update: 5/29/2020

I was on vacation for a week. Here is what has happened.

Data from 5/29: This table and the one further below (from 5/22) show the top few states sorted by their COVID-19 Case Growth. Number of new cases is a metric that I’m seeing a lot of news articles show, but it’s not a good one. This metric shows the slope of their case growth, and therefore smooths out unusual spikes (like those due to irregular data collection approaches). STILL, I’m not a big fan of counting cases… it might be fun to do, but it’s not revealing much. Why? 1) We’re testing more now, so clearly cases should be growing. That should not be news. 2) I believe cases will continue to grow for the near term (and might start again when the weather cools off). This is a new disease for mankind that seems to spread quickly like the common cold or like influenza and we ought to get used to it. What we should really care about is that we can manage the cases well and keep people out of hospitals. Imagine if we reported flu cases the way we’ve been reporting COVID-19 cases?!?

What is interesting in the data below? First, Illinois continues to lead the country in the steepness of it’s case growth. However, their growth has slowed from .2217 cases per 1000 per day to .1871. Still growing, but not growing as quickly. Possibly due to their case growth, Illinois slowed their reopening and I believe today is the day they move into Phase 3 of reopening. I note that Nebraska’s numbers are falling fast, which makes sense to me because they were only being driven by one large county (which may have been related to a meat packing plant outbreak in a neighboring county). Illinois’ cases, however, were spread across a number of counties, and therefore may take longer to process through. The good news, though, is that the numbers of deaths are slowing significantly. Case growth with low deaths starts to look manageable, like influenza.

State Data Table from 5/29/2020 – sorted by case growth rates
State Data Table from 5/22/2020 – sorted by case growth rates

Arizona Latest Data sorted by Case Growth Rates

Since I live in Arizona, and since it has been an interesting state for COVID-19, I’ll show the latest for my state. Note that the top counties in case growth are Apache and Navajo, two neighboring counties that contain multiple Native American reservations (including the Navajo). Many have heard about how severe the outbreaks have been in the Navajo Nation. You can see this in the data… cases are spreading in these smaller counties very rapidly, especially when compared to the states’ tables above. Santa Cruz county is the county with the fastest accelerating rate and Yuma County is right behind. As both border Mexico and have heavily traveled border crossings, I suspect that there is a relationship between their new cases and the large number of new cases across Mexico. The two largest counties, Maricopa and Pima, have both slowed down a bit and Pima county’s growth rate is decelerating slightly. Fortunately, again, deaths are very low across Arizona (the row below with NaN for county is the results for the state as a whole).

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