Here's Where the States Fall on the COVID-19 Curve (Spoiler: All Are at or Beyond Their Peaks)

AP Photo/John Minchillo

In this March 24, 2020 photo, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo speaks during a news conference against a backdrop of medical supplies at the Jacob Javits Center that will house a temporary hospital in response to the COVID-19 outbreak in New York. Amid an unprecedented public health crisis, the nation’s governors are trying to get what they need from the federal government – and fast. But often that means navigating the disorienting politics of dealing with President Donald Trump. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

Nate Silver calculated the 7-day average of each state’s number of newly-reported cases of COVID-19 and, in the following Twitter thread, placed each one into a category that indicates where they fall on the COVID-19 curve. The number of new cases is a leading indicator.

Most models, such as the IHME, look at the number of new deaths per day by state. Deaths, as we’ve learned by now, are a lagging indicator. These figures can be viewed by clicking here. Click on the drop-down menu which says “United States of America,” for any state or country.

Silver found that all 50 states are either currently at their peak or beyond.

Fifteen states, including AR, AZ, CA, DE, IA, IL, IN, MN, MS, ND, NE, NH, OH, RI, VA plus D.C., are currently at their peaks. Silver notes that testing has been murky in California. (Increased testing volume is likely a factor in RI.)

Six states are technically beyond their peaks, but the peak has come within the past week so it’s hard to say it’s over yet. These include: CT, KS, KY, MA, NC, and SD. (Increased testing volume is likely a factor in CT and MA.)

Five more states have peaks that occurred a week or more ago but have fallen by less than 10% from the peak. These include: GA, MD, NM, NJ, and UT.  (Increased testing volume is likely a factor in UT.)

Silver points out that 26 states plus D.C. are still at or slightly beyond their peaks in reported cases.

Eight states have fallen by 10-25% from their peaks. Silver considers this to be “real progress.” These include: AL, CO, MI, NV, PA, TX, WV, and WI.

Eight states have fallen 25-50% from their peaks. These include: FL, ME, MO, NY, OK, OR, TN, and SC.

Finally, 8 states have already fallen more than 50% from their peaks. These include: AK, HI, ID, LA, MT, VT, WA, and WY.

He concludes by looking at some patterns. He notes that the hardest-hit states, NY, MI, and LA, are improving. “Weather may be a factor. Density may matter. Some states that never issued stay-at-home orders are having issues. But it’s weird & idiosyncratic data.”

A comparison to the IHME model (numbers of death projections have been reduced at least twice for this model), shows Silver’s curve to be slightly ahead of the IHME curve as it should be. Also in a state like Arkansas, for example, where only 19 deaths have been recorded, a jump from four deaths on one day and three the next day will appear as a major move on the graph.

Even the IHME charts show the U.S. as being on the right side of the peak. We’ve turned a corner. In some cases, we’re already starting to see the right side slope down at precisely the same rate it moved toward the peak earlier.

The reason for the quarantine was not to reduce the overall number of deaths. It was to slow down the length of time it took us to move along the curve. In this way, hospitals and health care personnel would not be overwhelmed.