Approaching the July Peak

Case numbers continue to rise and to accelerate.  Daily deaths are still fairly low but have begun to rise over the last week.  Here’s the graph to start us off.

Yesterday’s case count is the third highest on record, exceeded only by the 16th and 24th of July.  The 7 day case average is higher than it has been since the 2nd of August.  The 7 day average of daily deaths hit its lowest point since August on Oct 16th, but has since risen more than 10%.  It is now higher than it has been in over a month.

As I mentioned in my last post on the subject, this surge is very widespread and does not seem to be limited much by geography or population density.  Of the top 10 most populous states, only California has not been rising recently.  Of the 10 least populous states, only Delaware and Maine are not rising.  New England is probably the least hard hit region thus far; the Dakotas are the hardest hit.  

On a per capita basis, North Dakota is particularly bad.  Here is its chart.

The thing to remember is that North Dakota has a population of about 760,000.  It’s seven day new case average is at about 770.  That means for every thousand people in the state, one of them is newly diagnosed with COVID each day. 1 out of every 100 people in the state have been infected in the last 11 days. Because COVID infections typically last about two weeks, current infections will be even higher.  If North Dakota were a country, it would have the highest infection rate in the world.

In raw numbers, North Dakota is dwarfed by other states with larger populations.  For example, even though New York has less than one-tenth the per capita infection rate of North Dakota, it accounts for almost twice as many cases per day.  Here is its chart.

We’re in the height of the political season, and COVID has been heavily politicized, so it’s difficult to anticipate how this surge may go.  Because this surge is so widespread, it’s not a matter of just tightening restrictions in a few states.  It really needs a national response, which seems unlikely in these times.  With that said, if things continue as they are, we will reach a cumulative 9 million cases and 230,000 deaths by the end of the month.

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