A Look at COVID-19 Data

A Look at COVID-19 Data

Like many people, I have kept the data on the number of COVID-19 cases for each state and the county in which I live.

My focus has been on the number of new cases. My purpose was to evaluate whether the number of cases were decreasing or growing.

I ignore data from other countries as I have no way of knowing whether the data is accurate.

It’s obvious, however, that all the countries in Europe should be grouped together when comparisons are made with the United States, especially if only the total number of cases is the measure.

Most media outlets merely report the total number of cases, but the number of cases per hundred thousand people is probably a better measure.

For example, Texas is the sixth highest in terms of total number of cases, but among the lowest in terms of cases per 100,000 people.

Two quick comparisons as of June 2, 2020:

  • The state with the most cases is New York State, while the state with the fewest cases is Alaska.
  • The state with the highest number of cases per 100,000 people is New York State, but the state with the fewest per hundred thousand is Hawaii. 

The following tables list the top ten states, and the District of Columbia, for each category as of June 2, 2020. 

Table 1 shows the ten states having the highest number of cases.

Table 2 shows the ten states with the highest cases per 100,000 people.

Table 3 shows the ten states with the lowest infection rate.

No other state had fewer than 200 cases per 100,000.

I was also interested in which states were doing the best job in limiting new cases when the order was given to start reopening.

I admit this is somewhat arbitrary as I chose May 11 as the date reopening started.

This may be too short a period of time to make such an evaluation. Now it will be necessary to also consider the effects of rioting in addition to the opening of businesses.

Table 4 shows the ten states with the largest percentage increase in cases since May 11, as of June 2.

Individuals will have to make many judgments and decisions in the coming months.

On an individual basis the first question is: How should we conduct ourselves? 

That of course will depend on our age, but one data point I’m watching is the number of new cases in the county where I live.

Over the past 23 days there have been 11 new cases, or 0.5 new cases per day. Over the past two weeks there have been only 2 new cases.

It would appear as though my county is becoming fairly clean, if that is a good terminology. Or, perhaps it’s better to say that the reservoir of COVID-19 virus has become fairly small. It would indicate to me that the number of asymptomatic people who could spread the disease is small, and if they wear masks, my risk is low.

There is always the possibility of new people arriving in my county who are infected, so that will be a continuing problem.

  • Will people living in cities use transit buses and subways? How about Uber and the rental of vehicles? Will people feel comfortable riding in a vehicle someone else has ridden in?
  • How soon will people begin to fly again?
  • Will people buy more cars and commute more and take vacations using their personal vehicles? 
  • Will there be a large increase in the number of people working from home?

With those issues in mind, here’s good luck to everyone, and success in making good decisions.

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2 Replies to “A Look at COVID-19 Data”

    • Thanks. That’s one reason I haven’t tracked Deaths. Besides, it’s the number of current cases that’s probably a leading indicator for deaths. If the current cases are down, the future number of deaths should also be down, assuming the same age distribution.
      Any conclusions drawn from the data depend on the accuracy of the data. From a personal perspective, my interest is in whether it’s becoming safe for me to eat at restaurants and go to meetings etc. That’s why my focus was on the number of cases and the number per 100,000.
      I have also been watching the number of persons tested in Florida, and the daily increase has been fairly consistent. I have followed the testing since a dramatic increase in testing could be the reason for an increase in the number of cases.
      I use the data for the states to see whether the media reports are consistent with the data.