Stuck in the Middle With MO - COVID and the Show-Me State

 

I’ll bet you’ve been on the edge of your seats, wondering where my updates on Missouri’s COVID stats have been. [sarc]  Well, folks, I’ve been a bit busy living out my own COVID drama. The daughter’s college roommate tested positive for COVID, which forced the daughter into quarantine — and, while the University is providing “quarantine housing” for students who’ve been exposed to the virus, we opted to have her come quarantine at home. (Was seeing too many stories of issues surrounding food service, and knew she wouldn’t fare well with two weeks of complete isolation.)

That, in turn, necessitated my quarantining, as well, as we don’t live in a large abode with separate wings. The daughter wound up having the bug, too, though thankfully, a mild case of it, from which she has since been cleared. I, lucky dog that I am, get to continue quarantining for 14 days after her clear date — so, basically, most of September. So far, yours truly hasn’t exhibited any symptoms, but I have 10 more days to go to be officially cleared. (Either I have it and have an extraordinarily mild case of it, or I somehow managed to escape it despite our close quarters — don’t think I wasn’t wiping everything down with Clorox wipes and washing my hands constantly! The third possibility is that I have it and it’s about to get ugly, but let’s hope not.)

Anyhoo, I’ve been adapting to life in quarantine (more locked down than I was back in March-April). I’ve learned how to order groceries online and I’ve become pretty adept at sending lists of asks to my sainted secretary as I attempt to keep up with a busy law practice from afar. (Let me tell you, putting together a response to a request for documents virtually is an adventure!) I’ll be honest — while I don’t want to be sick, I’m going to be pretty disappointed/frustrated if, after all of this, I don’t have the added benefit of some residual immunity to this little booger.

All of this, of course, is going on against the backdrop of a state that’s having a bit of a tussle with COVID — not nearly what New York faced early on, or Texas, Florida, and Arizona faced in the early-to-mid-summer. Not even what our neighbor to the east, Illinois, has faced throughout the pandemic. Still, our numbers haven’t been great of late. (Yes, yes, I know the data must be viewed with skepticism — throughout this, my focus has been on the overall trends and the states’ relative performance to one another.) So, where are we now?

Over the past three weeks (per Worldometers), Missouri has jumped up another spot in reported cases (from 21st to 20th), with a total number of reported cases as of this morning (September 17th) of 109,011 (Up by 28,222 since August 28th. Again, up until July, Missouri had been hovering fairly consistently around the 29th spot.) Missouri now has 17,762 cases per million persons (up from 13,163), which places it in 29th place (up four spots from three weeks ago; nine spots from six weeks ago.)

There have now been 1,878 deaths in Missouri attributed to COVID-19. That’s up from 1,610 on August 28th (so by 268) but Missouri has remained in 26th place in terms of total (reported) COVID-related deaths.  In terms of deaths per million, Missouri now sits at 306 (up from 262 three weeks ago) but has moved down two spots, to 32nd place.

Regarding testing, Missouri has now reported 1,236,051 tests administered, which leaves it in 23rd place in total tests. As for tests per million persons, Missouri has administered 201,396, which moves it up two spots to 43rd.

Hospitalizations have remained fairly steady since the end of August. The last reported data per the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services dashboard is 989 as of September 13th.

Again, then, the primary notable change relative to the other states is in reported cases and cases per million persons. On an arguably brighter note, we’ve decreased a bit in deaths per million, and moved up slightly in terms of tests per million. Here’s what our current chart looks like:

Overall, the blue line (daily % increase in cases) continues to outpace the gray line (daily % increase in tests). Again, though, both have generally remained above the brown/orange line (daily % increase in deaths). Further, though there hasn’t been a notable decline, we’re also not seeing a sharp rise. (And this despite the noted uptick across the state on college campuses.) Missouri’s rough case fatality rate (reported deaths divided by reported cases) has decreased from 2.0% to 1.7%. In comparison, the US rough mortality rate is at 3.0% and New York’s still dwarfs these at 6.9%. Illinois currently sits at 3.2%.

Missouri’s positivity rate (the yellow line — reported cases versus total tests) continues to steadily increase. It currently sits at 8.8%. (It was 8.0% three weeks ago.) That remains above the positivity rate for the U.S. as a whole — which has decreased to 7.2% — though still below that seen currently in Arizona, Florida, and Texas (13.1%, 13.5%, and 12.4% respectively).

An added note on that — recently, it was disclosed that the reported positivity rate for Boone County was significantly off between May and September, as their negative test results weren’t being transmitted properly to the DHSS. It is unclear whether and to what extent this has affected the state’s overall positivity rate — it certainly hasn’t decreased in the days since this was reported. But, again, this highlights why the data must be viewed with some skepticism. In my view, that doesn’t negate the value in tracking it overall and I will continue to do so and report on our progress.