A week before Thanksgiving

Cases continue to rise and accelerate across the nation, however, there is some evidence that the rate of acceleration has decreased over the last week. It’s too soon to know whether that decrease is part of a longer trend, but given that states are increasing efforts to reduce infection rates, it’s possible.  As with so much, we’ll have to wait and see.  Yesterday saw 187,833 cases and the 7-day average is now at 165,029.

Deaths, on the other hand, have been accelerating faster.  Yesterday saw 2015 deaths, the highest number since early May.  The 7-day average is now at 1335.  In part, this is a function of the delay between cases and deaths; deaths are now responding to the acceleration of cases from two weeks ago.  However, we are also seeing increasing reports of hospital systems suffering under the heavy load.  Our rate of positive tests is also high at about 12% nationally.  This is also the highest rate since early May.  Here is the Daily Cases and Deaths graph since March 1.

 I don’t follow the hospitalization numbers in my dataset, but here is a graph from which does.  As hospitalizations continue to increase, expect deaths to accelerate.

As I’ve noted before, this surge is widespread, affecting the entire nation rather than a specific area.  41 states have 7-day average cases at or above 1000, three states are above 10,000.  On a per capita basis, the upper plains and upper midwest are the focus, but numbers are rising across the nation  You can watch this animated GIF to see the progression over the last month.  

Actual case numbers are highest in high population states, even where those may have much lower per capita numbers.  Here is a map showing 7 day average numbers across the nation. 

At a more local level, here is the combined graph for King and Snohomish counties in Washington state.  Cases are rising quite a bit and deaths are starting to rise noticeably also.  Our positive test rate is at about 8% and rising.

With Thanksgiving coming next week, there will be lots of opportunity for the virus to spread further.  Please consider your plans carefully.  Best practice is to only celebrate with people who live with you.  We all like spending time with loved ones, but we don’t want to see them sick, hospitalized or dead.  If you feel you must invite others, do your best to limit the number.  Each additional guest increases the risk for everyone at the table.  Social distance and wear masks as much as possible. 

Stay safe, be kind, and do your best to focus on the joys in your life.

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