Missouri & COVID - an Update

AP Photo/Gerald Herbert
AP featured image
Vials with samples taken for the new coronavirus are counted before they are prepared for RNA testing at the molecular pathology lab at Tulane University School of Medicine in New Orleans, Thursday, April 2, 2020. The test is identical to the PCR test being used by the Centers for Disease Control to ease the testing crisis and stop the spread of COVID-19, which has hit the New Orleans area especially hard. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

It’s been a little over a month since I wrote my last update regarding Missouri and how the Show-Me State has been dealing with the dreaded Coronavirus. Time for an update.

Missouri was faring pretty well post-shutdown (most of the state “re-opened” May 4th), through early July. However, recently, we have started to see a bit of an uptick in daily new cases, though thankfully not in deaths. According to Worldometers, as of today (July 18th), Missouri remains ranked 29th (among the 50 states plus D.C.) in total number of reported cases, with 33,902. (The state has bounced between 28th and 29th for the last couple months.) Currently, Missouri has 5,524 cases per million persons, which puts it 41st in the rankings. (Same as it was in mid-June.)

There have been 1,159 deaths in Missouri attributed to COVID-19, which places it 24th in total deaths (down two spots from the last check.) Missouri’s deaths per million persons stand at 189, which puts it 29th (tied with Washington state). (Again, down two spots.)

In terms of testing, Missouri has now reported 590,161 tests, which puts it in 24th place (same as before). The state has 96,158 tests per million persons, which places it 43rd (improving by one spot from mid-June).


So, relative to the other states, Missouri has remained fairly consistent. This, despite recent headlines, such as: “Missouri COVID Cases Jump Again, as St. Louis Considers Pulling Back Reopening,” “Missouri Coronavirus Hospitalization Reaches 2-Month High, Daily Case Record Shattered,” and “COVID-19 Outbreak Claims Missouri State Fair“.)

As far as hospitalizations go, Missouri’s are back up. Per the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services dashboard, there were 956 COVID-related hospitalizations as of July 10th, which comes close to the peak (984 on May 5th), following a low on June 13th of 524. The most recent data, from July 12th, shows 875 hospitalizations. Hopefully, that number will continue to decline. The good news is, we remain well-below capacity per IHME projections.

Of course, as I was writing this, I got a notification for the latest headline from the Post Dispatch:

958 cases is a lot — a lot more than I’d like to see that number, certainly.

(Look, I get the skepticism and that some people are just completely over this thing. I am, too, in some respects. I suspect we all are. However, given that I have an 87-year-old mother who was just diagnosed with Stage 4 lung cancer and am getting ready to send my only child off to college, where “the plan” changes on a daily basis, I’m reserving the right to maintain a certain degree of concern — which is probably the main reason why I’ve been tracking this crud for several months now. So that I can keep an eye on the trends myself, and not just rely on the ZOMG headlines we’re regularly treated to.)


Of course, what we’re not seeing described as “record-shattering,” is the concomitant number of tests being cranked out. Like, for instance, the 13,191 tests performed between Wednesday and Thursday. That, near as I can tell, was a “single-day record”, too.

It’s important to recognize that testing alone doesn’t account for the increase in reported cases — if it did, the rate of increase in testing should track (or, ideally, exceed) the rate of increase in reported cases. (And yes, I’ve been tracking that, too — see chart below.) However, in Missouri, the rate of increase in reported cases has outpaced the rate of increase in testing, just by a hair.


Another measure of that is the positivity rate — i.e., the number of reported cases versus the number of tests. Over the past month, Missouri’s positivity rate has inched up slightly (from 5.3% to 5.7%) — in other words, 5.3 – 5.7%  of tests administered in Missouri are coming back positive. (By comparison, the US, overall, is hovering around the 8% mark and poor Florida and Texas are at 11.4% and 10.5% respectively. And Arizona is sitting at 14.3%!)

So, relative to other states, Missouri continues to do okay (as we currently define okay). I’d really like to see those numbers start trending back down, particularly as we start looking at what to do regarding sending kids back to school. We’ll keep you posted.




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