COVID-19 Trends 09/01/2020

I live in Texas, so all of what follows will have a markedly United States and Texas lens, so know that going in. All data is pulled from Johns Hopkins and the COVID Tracking Project and re-visualized on my site.

We have reached the end of August, and I NEVER EVER thought I’d still be tracking COVID cases. I figured for sure this would be something we would get a handle on (like most of the rest of the world who ran into as the same time we did) and then life would return to a new normal. Didn’t happen, so here we are. Let’s see how things are going.

  1. World — 25,484,767 cases, 850,535 deaths. Look at the trend line. The consistency is a bit frightening. Across the world, cases seem to have flattened out at 250k+ cases every day, with between 5k and 6k deaths. As some countries get a handle on things, the virus breaks out in another, continuing to infect, continuing to end people’s lives.

2. Countries per 100k — When you look at things on a per capita basis, the United States is 7th on tests per 100k people, testing 24% of the population, below the Russia and ahead of Australia. The US is 5th in Cases per 100k people at 1,821, with a 7.3% positive rate, just below Brazil and ahead of Israel. And finally, the US is 9th in Deaths per 100k people at 55.47, with a 3.04% mortality rate, just below Brazil and ahead of Mexico.

3. US — 6,040,361 cases, 183,721 deaths. We have tested over 78 million people. The case curve is coming down slowly, testing has plateaued, and mortality might just be ticking down. So there are signs of improvement, but look at where our case curve is now vs late May or early June. We are still so much higher than just three months ago, and even then, we were seeing 20,000 cases every day. This is so not over.

4. States per 10k — Just like with the country chart on (2), looking at states on a per capita basis also lets you see how each is doing vs the others. Texas is 40th on Testing, with 1,711 tests per 10k people. We are 11th in Cases per 10k at 221, with a 12.95% positive rate, behind New York and ahead of New Jersey. Texas is 19th in Deaths per 10k people at 4.45, with a 2.01% mortality rate, behind Indiana and ahead of Alabama. I know it makes it a bit of an eye chart, but all states are on the chart so you can see the scale of where Texas lands.

5. But the overall per 10k doesn’t really tell the story. What is happening now? Over the past 7 days, Texas is 2nd in new cases with 33,904, 1st in deaths with 1,037, and 12th among the states with an 11.66% positive test rate.

Two of the measures scientists have discussed as good measures of the virus being strongly under control are:

  • 7 day positive test rate below 5% (Texas is at 11.66%)
  • 7 day cases per 10k below 7.5 (Texas is at 11.69)

Those two measures could be used to signal the risk is low, and with proper precautions, schools could open, businesses could open further, etc. But, yeah, we know how that goes.

6. Texas — 642,721 cases, 12,908 deaths, and 4.9 million tests. Like the broader US trend, yes cases are coming down, but tests are coming down. Yes, cases are declining in many of the biggest counties in the state, but smaller rural counties are seeing cases either stay flat or head up slightly. People want this to be over, but it isn’t.

7. Looking at the last 7 days in Texas, you can see big case numbers, with 6 counties all seeing over 1,000 new cases, and 17 counties with double digit deaths. Understand the virus is all over the small counties too, which is evident when you look at the per capita numbers and consider the 5% positive test rate and 7.5 per 10k targets. You have to go down 183 counties to reach a 5% positive test rate, and 123 to get to a 7.5 per 10k on cases. To say you have a low risk of a breakout, you need to achieve BOTH of those targets, not just one. Texas still has such a long way to go.

I’ll keep updating things daily on the site, even if I don’t post here on the regular. I believe people need to see the numbers at all levels to really understand things. Hopefully a few of you out there find this useful. Please feel free to grab screenshots from here or the actual dashboards and share them anywhere you can.

Thanks for reading all the way to the bottom.

Stay in if you can. Stay safe. And by all means, WEAR A MASK!

Dashboard where I pull all of these screenshots from is here: bit.ly/uscovid19map

I chart Texas Politics at christackettnow.com and write about things that matter (to me at least) whenever the muse hits.