As I said yesterday, since people are finding these updates helpful on the social media, I am going to repost the previous evening’s graphics I make on the Coronavirus Covid-19 outbreak here on Coffeespoons as well. So while today is Thursday, these are the numbers states provided yesterday, so it’s more of a Wednesday update.
But here I can start with the flatter curves graphic. The New Jersey numbers in particular look good—I mean they’re still bad. Of course we are just a few big breaches of quarantine and lapses in social distancing from reversing that progress.
State-wise, Pennsylvania continues to worsen. However, a close look at the slope of the line in the previous chart indicates that the steepness of the growth may be lessening. Deaths passed 300 and cases are now firmly entrenched on both sides of the state with the rural, less densely populated areas in the Ridge and Valley portion of the state seemingly hit not as hard.
Despite the potential flattening, New Jersey is just in a rough spot. The final bastions of low case numbers in South Jersey are slowly filling up as Cape May County passed the 100-case threshold.
Delaware continues to accelerate and is now past 1000 cases.
Virginia continues to see cases spreading in the eastern, more populous portions of the state. And at 75 deaths, it’s nearing the 100-death threshold.
Illinois is seeing deaths occur away from Chicago, in the St. Louis suburban counties and in and around Springfield and Champaign and Bloomington areas.
Here are the Tuesday figures for Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Virginia, and Illinois. At the end is an updated version of the flattening curves chart as well. Given the value of these graphics that people have been texting, emailing, and DMing me on social media, I might consider making these a regular staple here on my blog as well. I would probably slowly write about other graphics covering the outbreak as well.
Any feedback is welcome on how to make the graphics more useful to you, the public.
Pennsylvania has finally reached the point where the virus has infected at least one person in every county. Now, if we shift our attention a wee bit to the deaths, we can see those are still largely confined to the eastern third of the state.
New Jersey continues to suffer greatly. But a sharp increase in new cases could be a blip, or it could mean the curve isn’t flattening. We need more data to see a longer trend. Regardless, over 3000 more people were reported infected and over 200 more died.
Delaware worsened significantly. As a small state, it has a lower captive population. But it is rapidly approaching 1000 cases. In fact, I would not be surprised if that is the headline from Wednesday.
Virginia also saw a significant uptick in cases. And most counties and independent cities in eastern Virginia now report cases. But the rural, mountainous counties in the west and southwest are not uniformly infected. At least not yet.
Illinois saw some geographic spread, but again, compared to a state like Pennsylvania, the worst in Illinois is disproportionately concentrated in the Chicago metropolitan area.
Lastly, the curves are not flattening in all the states but maybe New Jersey. But as I noted above, the higher daily cases there might be a blip.
Yesterday I mentioned that there was some data to suggest that at least in New Jersey the curve was flattening. Monday we received additional data and so I wanted to share what that data showed.
I used a set of bar charts to show the new daily cases yesterday for Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Virginia, and Illinois. But as I mentioned, a single day can be a blip. Noise. We want to find the pattern or the signal within that data set. Consequently I applied a simple 7-day rolling average to the new daily cases data set.
I chose seven days for two reasons. The first was that the onset of the symptoms is 5–10 days after infection. Picking a mid-point in that range assures us that people who are infected are beginning to appear in the data. Secondly, a cursory check of the data suggests that reported numbers dip lower on weekends. And so making a week-long average covers any possibility of lower values at week’s end.
That preface out of the way, what do we see? Well, there is some evidence that the curve is flattening in New Jersey. The lines below represent that rolling average. And if you look at the very top of the New Jersey curve, you can see it beginning to flatten.
Unfortunately that does not mean New Jersey is out of the woods. Not by a long shot. Instead, that means tens of thousands of people will still be infected. And hundreds more will die. But, the rate at which those two things happen will be lower. Hopefully hospitals will not be as overwhelmed as they presently are. And that might make for a lower total death count.
The data does not support, however, the notion that the curve is flattening in the other states. Consider that the United States spans a continent and contains over 330 million people. The outbreak will look different in different states. Compare Pennsylvania and Illinois, which have similar case numbers. But in Pennsylvania we have more cases in smaller cities and rural areas and fewer in the largest cities. Plus, of course, we have the different measures taken by different states to contain and mitigate the pandemic within their borders.
But, we do have some data to suggest that at least in New Jersey the curve is flattening. I’ll take good news where I can find it. (Even if it comes from Jersey.)
This past weekend I continued looking at the spread of COVID-19 across the United States. But in addition to my usual maps of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Virginia, and Illinois, I also looked at the number of cases across the United States adjusted for population. I then looked at the five aforementioned states in terms of new cases to see if the curve is flattening. Finally, I looked at the number of hospital beds per 1000 people vs the number of cases per 1000 people.
The latter in particular I wanted to be an examination of hospitalisation rates vs ICU beds, which are a small fraction of total hospital beds. But as I could not find that data, I made do with overall cases and overall beds.
So first let’s look at the cases across the U.S. What you can see is that whilst New York and New Jersey do have some of the worst of the impact, Washington is still not great and Louisiana and Michigan are also suffering.
And then when we look at the states by their cases per 1000 people and their hospital beds per 1000 people, we see that the states often claimed to be overwhelmed, New York, New Jersey, and Washington are all well over the blue line, which indicates an equal number of beds and cases per 1000 people, or near it. Because it is important to remember that not all beds are the type needed for COVID-19 victims, who often require the more fully kitted out ICU beds. Additionally, not all cases are severe enough to warrant hospitalisation.
Then from the broader national view, we can look at the states of interest. Here, those of you who have been following my social media posts, you can see fewer dark purples in these maps. That’s because I have adopted a new palette that has sacrificed granularity at the lower end of the scale and added it at the top, a particular need in New Jersey and the Philadelphia and Chicago metro areas. And finally we look at the daily new cases to see if that curve is flattening.
Pennsylvania now has almost every county infected. But unlike Illinois, which has a similar infection rate but more unaffected counties, Pennsylvania has fewer cases in its big city, Philadelphia, and has more cases in the smaller cities and towns.
New Jersey is just a disaster. Deaths are now reported in every county—so I can probably remove those orange outlines. The only potential good news is that new cases for the second day in a row were fewer than the day before. It could be a blip. But it could also be a signal that the peak of infection has or is nearing. That said, hospitalisations and deaths are lagging indicators and could take two weeks to follow the positive test results. So in the best case scenario that this is a peak, New Jersey is far from out of the woods.
Delaware is the smallest state I look at—and one of the smallest in the union overall—but its cases are worryingly increasing rapidly, although like every state I examine in detail it had fewer new cases Sunday than Saturday.
Virginia is in a better spot overall than the other four states. You can see that in the national map above. And most of Virginia’s cases are concentrated in the DC and Richmond areas as well as the cities along the peninsulas jutting into the Chesapeake.
Illinois is, as noted above, similar to Pennsylvania in terms of infections. In terms of deaths, however, it is doubling Pennsylvania’s numbers. And most of its cases are located in and around Chicago. Big chunks of downstate Illinois are unaffected or lightly affected compared to the Commonwealth.
Finally, as I noted in New Jersey, could these lower numbers Sunday than Saturday be meaningful? Possibly. But in all five states? Highly unlikely. Regardless, we can look at the number of daily new cases and see if that curve of infection is flattening. We should wait several days before beginning to make that assessment. But one can hope.
All of this is to say that things are bad and likely will continue to get worse. But I will keep looking at the data daily and presenting it to the public to keep them informed.