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Has your state peaked? Examining COVID-19 projections

  • Has your state peaked? Examining COVID-19 projections

    COVID-19 is like nothing we have ever seen, so it is crucial to design models to help learn where it is taking us.

    Armed with what they know and try to grasp, U.S. states are making decisions that profoundly affect people’s livelihoods and lives. Each decision on how and when to lock down, keep safe distances, or reopen shops, construction sites, schools, and beaches has enormous consequences.

    In some states, the coronavirus peaked early, and leaders are moving ahead with some hope that the worst has passed. In other states, the projected peak looms weeks, even months ahead, instilling fear that the worst is yet to come.

    Some governors have been measured and cautious, while others have seemed bolder about reopening the economy and throwing desperately needed lifelines to businesses and workers who have gone months without income or wages. Trying to find the balance between protecting lives and protecting livelihoods has been no easy task.

    To determine whether each state has reached the peak of its COVID-19 outbreak, Stacker consulted state-specific modeling done by data scientist Youyang Gu. Gu’s estimates are widely cited by researchers and journalists, including by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and his analysis takes into account epidemiological factors and state-by-state reopenings.

    For each state, Stacker pulled Gu’s estimate of the total deaths caused by COVID-19 in the state by Oct. 1, as well as the peak dates for new cases and deaths between March 1 and Oct. 1. In selecting the peak dates for new deaths, we selected dates based on the seven-day average, as individual day-by-day values may fluctuate based on individual state reporting methodologies. The predicted values are up to date as of June 18. This data is supplemented with the total numbers of cases and deaths in each state as of June 18, via the COVID Tracking Project.

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  • Alabama

    - Cumulative state COVID-19 statistics as of June 18: 28,206 cases, 810 deaths
    - Projected total deaths by Oct. 1: 1,867 (2.3 times current death toll)
    - Projected peak date for new deaths: July 4 to Aug. 7 (12 deaths per day)
    - Projected peak date for new cases: June 28 (1,731 cases per day)

    Alabama issued a statewide “stay at home” order on April 4 that was succeeded by a “safer at home” order on May 21 that allowed theaters and bowling alleys to reopen, athletic practices to resume, and schools, day care, and summer camps to open with limits such as social distancing and screening employees. “Safer at home” expires on July 3. Almost a third of all cases arose in the second half of May as regulations were loosened.

     

  • Alaska

    - Cumulative state COVID-19 statistics as of June 18: 708 cases, 12 deaths
    - Projected total deaths by Oct. 1: 15 (1.3 times current death toll)
    - Projected peak date for new deaths: Not statistically significant - Projected peak date for new cases: March 16 to March 17 (43 cases per day)

    COVID-19 has been spiking in recent weeks in Alaska, and the Kenai Peninsula is emerging as a hotspot, state officials say, according to Nathaniel Herz of Alaska’s Energy Desk. The 16,000-square-mile peninsula is a tourist and fishing center in the summer. The infections are concentrated around Homer, where a state ferry recently landed with an outbreak among its crew.

  • Arizona

    - Cumulative state COVID-19 statistics as of June 18: 43,443 cases, 1,271 deaths
    - Projected total deaths by Oct. 1: 4,668 (3.7 times current death toll)
    - Projected peak date for new deaths: July 25 to Aug. 14 (38 deaths per day)
    - Projected peak date for new cases: July 13 (5,405 cases per day)

    Arizona on June 7 reported more than 1,500 new cases in one day, its highest daily count yet. Arizona Public Health Associate Director Will Humble said people had returned to pre-pandemic behavior when the stay-at-home order expired on May 15. The state’s biggest hospital system, Banner Health, said it was concerned about the steady rise in COVID-19 cases, confirming that the number of patients on ventilators had quadrupled since May 15.

     

  • Arkansas

    - Cumulative state COVID-19 statistics as of June 18: 13,928 cases, 208 deaths
    - Projected total deaths by Oct. 1: 924 (4.4 times current death toll)
    - Projected peak date for new deaths: July 31 to Sept. 9 (8 deaths per day)
    - Projected peak date for new cases: July 26 (1,105 cases per day)

    The number of new coronavirus cases has been rising in Arkansas. A third of its cases have occurred in the past month, and its hospitalizations increased 88% from Memorial Day to early June. Officials say they are keeping a close eye on the hospitalization figure as a key indicator in the fight against the virus. Unlike in mid-March, however, the state’s hospitals are better prepared, officials say.

     

  • California

    - Cumulative state COVID-19 statistics as of June 18: 161,099 cases, 5,290 deaths
    - Projected total deaths by Oct. 1: 16,453 (3.1 times current death toll)
    - Projected peak date for new deaths: Aug. 18 to Aug. 30 (128 deaths per day)
    - Projected peak date for new cases: Aug 2 (18,053 cases per day)

    California was seeing more than 2,000 new COVID-19 cases each day in early June, even as a number of counties across the state were loosening up their stay-at-home restrictions. Most of the new cases are appearing in Southern California.

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  • Colorado

    - Cumulative state COVID-19 statistics as of June 18: 29,673 cases, 1,631 deaths
    - Projected total deaths by Oct. 1: 1,631 (1.0 times current death toll)
    - Projected peak date for new deaths: April 24 (41 deaths per day)
    - Projected peak date for new cases: April 4 (3,503 cases per day)

    New numbers of coronavirus cases in Colorado are low, and hospitalizations are on the decline. However, Gov. Jared Polis said he is concerned over a possible rise in infections from the recent mass protests calling for racial justice. Rates of new cases have been increasing in neighboring Arizona and Utah.

  • Connecticut

    - Cumulative state COVID-19 statistics as of June 18: 45,440 cases, 4,226 deaths
    - Projected total deaths by Oct. 1: 4,219 (1.0 times current death toll)
    - Projected peak date for new deaths: April 26 (114 deaths per day)
    - Projected peak date for new cases: March 30 (11,530 cases per day)

    Connecticut peaked early, but the number of cases and deaths were still increasing in early June, although by less each day. The state was scheduled to go into Phase 2 of its reopening in mid-June, even though it had only conducted about 42,000 tests in the first week of the month. Gov. Ned Lamont had said he wanted the state to be conducting 100,000 tests a week.

     

  • Delaware

    - Cumulative state COVID-19 statistics as of June 18: 10,499 cases, 431 deaths
    - Projected total deaths by Oct. 1: 737 (1.7 times current death toll)
    - Projected peak date for new deaths: May 17 to May 19 (10 deaths per day)
    - Projected peak date for new cases: April 13 (983 cases per day)

    Delaware Gov. John Carney joined with the governors of New York, Connecticut, New Jersey, Rhode Island, and Pennsylvania to design a regional framework for lifting restrictions and reopening the economy. Some businesses resumed operations in early May, and more restrictions were lifted throughout the month. Delaware's presidential primary has been postponed twice and is set for July 7.

  • District of Columbia

    - Cumulative state COVID-19 statistics as of June 18: 9,903 cases, 527 deaths
    - Projected total deaths by Oct. 1: 766 (1.5 times current death toll)
    - Projected peak date for new deaths: April 26, April 30 (12 deaths per day)
    - Projected peak date for new cases: April 5 (1,269 cases per day)

    Following a long decline, COVID-19 deaths rose slightly in early June in the District, which is in its initial phase of reopening. Some 80% of the COVID-19 deaths in the District have been African American, although less than half of its population is Black.

  • Florida

    - Cumulative state COVID-19 statistics as of June 18: 85,926 cases, 3,154 deaths
    - Projected total deaths by Oct. 1: 8,257 (2.6 times current death toll)
    - Projected peak date for new deaths: Aug. 5 to Aug. 19 (57 deaths per day)
    - Projected peak date for new cases: July 20 (8,008 cases per day)

    Florida was one of the last states to implement stay-at-home orders, and the decision to keep its beaches open for spring break crowds in March drew heavy criticism. Recent rising numbers of cases–positive tests on June 6 were the highest since early April–have raised concern about new outbreaks as businesses reopen. Gov. Ron DeSantis said the higher numbers are due to increased testing, and that the state is averaging three times the tests it was conducting at the start of April.

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