Its been nearly 3 weeks since Labor Day

We were all worried about surge after holiday

Has it happened?

Actually, yes

Data here pretty clear

First, here’s a graph of the number of new daily cases (y-axis) over past month

7-day moving averages

What does this mean?

Cases slowly declining as we entered September

Labor Day weekend 9/5-7

If holiday set off new’d expect to see cases rising 5 to 7 days later (around 9/12)

That’s exactly what we see in graph

So 2 weeks ago, we were at 34K/day

Today, at 44K/day

Up 30%

39 states have more cases today than just 2 weeks ago

31 states have higher % of tests returning positive

And 16 states have % test positive > 10%

That’s not great. Those 16 states are missing a lot of infections

But patterns vary across states. So let’s dive in

Lets start with 15 states with highest per capita new cases

ND #1 at 52 new cases /100K/d)

Others include SD, WI, UT, OK, IA, AR, MO, etc

But its not just small states

In fact, about 25% of America lives in these 15 states

How are things going here?

Not great

Across these 15 states:

1. New infections are up 67% in last two weeks. That a lot.

2. Their collective % of test positives is 11.6%

3. Their hospitalizations are starting to creep up

But there’s another problem – rest of the country is not doing so hot either

Across other 35 states:

Cases up about 11%

% of tests positive, hospitalizations flat

So, almost no one getting better but many getting worse

And, of course

Some states further easing restrictions (FL, IN, even NY)

Colleges, many businesses back, some seeing outbreaks

And with colder weather, outdoor activity, which is so much safer, will get harder

This is why @IHME_UW and others predicting a bad fall/winter

But I'm a bit more optimistic

We can avoid the @IHME_UW scenario of 400K dead by January

What makes me more optimistic?

A bunch of things.

More testing finally coming (pretty sure)

Some policymakers are being data driven, limiting indoor gatherings

And of course, as infections rise, folks will pull back on their own

Plus -- therapies keep getting better. This allows us lower deaths

Bottom line

We have a long way to go in this pandemic

Must focus on keeping infections, hospitalizations, and deaths low

Not in a good spot but we can control this

We can get through next 7-9 months until we hopefully have safe, effective vaccines widely available

Here's our charge

Avoid indoors when possible (push leaders to limit dining, bars)

When indoors are super important (schools), improve ventilation: open windows, air exchange. And wear a mask!

And democratize testing for everyone, not just well-connected.

We can do this

You can follow @ashishkjha.
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