Covid-19 Hotspot Update: Why the Surge in the South?

Mish

Cases have been on the rise in Texas, Florida, Arizona, California, and Georgia.

Cases surges 25% last week. Arizona, Florida, and Texas set records. 

Surge is Not Related to Increased Testing

Worrisome Charts

It is no longer possible to ignore the southern surge. 

Here are some additional charts from Worldometers.

Florida Deaths and Projections

Florida Deaths and Projections 2020-06-23

Florida Hospital Usage and Projections 

Florida Hospital Usage and Projections  2020-06-23

Florida Social Distancing 

Florida Social Distancing 2020-06-23

California Deaths and Projections 

California Deaths and Projections 2020-06-23

California Hospital Usage and Projections

California Hospital Usage Projections 2020-06-23

California Social Distancing 

California Social Distancing 2020-06-23

Georgia Deaths and Projections 

Georgia Deaths and Projections 2020-06-23

Georgia Hospital Usage and Projections 

Georgia Hospital Usage and Projections 2020-06-23

Georgia Social Distancing 

Georgia Social Distancing 2020-06-23

Texas Deaths and Projections 

Texas Deaths and Projections 2020-06-23

Texas Hospital Usage and Projections

Texas Hospital Usage and Projections 2020-06-23

Texas Social Distancing 

Texas Social Distancing 2020-06-23

Arizona Deaths and Projections

Arizona Deaths and Projections 2020-06-23

Arizona Hospital Usage and Projections 

Arizona Hospital Usage and Projections 2020-06-23

Arizona Social Distancing 

Arizona Social Distancing 2020-06-23

Social Distancing Factors

  • Educational Facilities Closed
  • Gathering Restrictions
  • Stay-at-Home Orders
  • Business Closures

General Chart Notes

  • Resources are specific to Covid-19 Patients
  • Shaded areas are 95% confidence level 

Death and hospital projections are based on social distancing announcements and current rates.

Projections, Who Believes Them?

I suspect most will look at these projections and laugh. They will point to projections of deaths of a million or more.

But those million projections were based on no social distancing at a time when very little was known about the disease.

Patterns Don't Neatly Fit

Claim 1: States that practiced social distancing late and removed restrictions early are the hardest hit.

Reality 1: California does not fit the bill. It forced social distancing early on and still has strict social distancing but it is again hit hard.

Claim 2: Warm weather and going outside would put a quick end to Covid-19.

Reality 2: California, Georgia, Arizona, Florida, and Texas make a mockery of that prediction

Surge Explanation: What's Going On?

  1. Both claims are partially true but many dismiss both outright because the patterns vary.
  2. Social distancing is just one factor.
  3. People are tired of wearing masks and social distancing.
  4. States are opening up just as more people believe it was all overdone in the first place. 
  5. In contrast to March and April, it's now too hot in the South to stay outdoors. So think about more people indoors, just as social distancing is removed.

Huge Surge Ahead of Trump Campaign Visit

Arizona reports Record Single-Day Increase in Coronavirus Cases ahead of Trump’s visit.

For details, please see Trump's Campaign Visit to Arizona Church is Irresponsible at Best

There is a big risk to Trump's move but we will not know the impact for weeks.

Mish

Comments (183)
No. 1-41
IA Hawkeye in SoCal
IA Hawkeye in SoCal

Why are we reporting rising infections like it is unanticipated? We were told shutting down was an attempt to "flatten the curve". It wasn't sold as a method of preventing sickness indefinitely. Yet now that is the narrative, as if people can stay holed up and business closed forever. People have to leave isolation, earn a living, and live life. Wash your hands, use common sense, rest and let your immune system fight when you eventually get sick.

TimeToTest
TimeToTest

The whole plan was to flatten the curve. We did that and gave hospitals time to get ready.

The goal never was to stop the virus. How did the goal post move so far so fast?

ToInfinityandBeyond
ToInfinityandBeyond

According to our stable genius this virus would be gone by summer. Ho2s that working out? What’s the odds that our Federal government has used this breathing space to better prepare for the inevitable second wave?

Woodturner
Woodturner

The science is pretty clear on one aspect; High compliance with wearing masks is very effective at preventing the spread. Physical distancing also helps along with quarantining people with positive tests. It’s not rocket science. Japan has managed to have very low infection rate without closing their economy by doing these actions. I’m can’t tell if people are letting their passion for individual rights outweigh their common sense or if the number of just plain stupid people has gone up significantly. As my doctor once said, there’s no cure for stupid.

Sechel
Sechel

It looks like these are forced errors. States opening up too soon , weak contact tracing and people refusing to follow the guidelines with encouragement on social media and from the white house. California was an early success but there was lack of follow-through

Europe spiked first but there people are listening and governments are acting more responsibly

Blurtman
Blurtman

Please also consider fatality trends. Near reversion to baseline in NJ and NY. This focus on cumulative cases is extremely misleading but agitates the sheeple.

Rusty Nail
Rusty Nail

There is a class of person who will not understand the threat until they or someone close to them dies.

valpal1
valpal1

Silly logic. The south is more friendly to business and are experiencing stronger economies. If more people are working in the south than in the north, then there will be more exposure. ALSO, more people are moving to the south. Far higher populations in those states mentioned than in NJ or RI or CT or even PA or MI. Even NY has a lower population. Better and cheaper health care in the south.
BTW - people in south are more free due to less restrictive governments too.
North: stay at home bc there's NO work (not WFH), with less people, and overbearing governments vs. South: higher employement (WFB and WFH), with more people, and freedom granting governments.
Take your pick.
I love the south.

Louis Winthorpe III
Louis Winthorpe III

@IA Hawkeye in SoCal

You forgot the second part, the reason why it was important to flatten the curve. It was to prevent hospital systems from being overwhelmed with covid cases.

Thus there is a narrow range between expected and allowable growth in infections as a cost of doing business, and growth that risks overwhelming the hospital systems. If you think that risk is over, you're wrong, and the lag times involved means you must respond quickly before exponential growth gets out of control.

Texas Medical Center in Houston, one of the biggest in the country, reports 90% base ICU capacity is being utilized. Projected growth could exceed capacity in 2 weeks. They have surge capacity, however, and Texas Children's Hospital is preparing to admit adults for both covid and non covid reasons.

We could open up all the activities that could be done while wearing masks and be relatively safe, if everyone would wear a mask. Unfortunately, some guy thought it was a good idea to convince his followers that masks weren't needed and that the virus was a hoax. I wonder who that was...

CautiousObserver
CautiousObserver

The government imposed lockdowns were supposedly to give health agencies and hospitals more time to implement better contact tracing and improved treatment capability to save lives. This was widely known, but for the insistence of President Trump and a few others that the virus was somehow going to disappear on its own. It was suggested before the lockdowns ended that US testing had expanded to the point where US contact tracing would be practical and outbreaks could be contained. We now have irrefutable evidence this was not correctly executed.

Also, many people do not believe wearing a mask is helpful because the government so strongly sabotaged their own credibility on that message. (To those who think President Trump is solely responsible for this, please recall that Fauci recently admitted the CDC initially lied to the public about masks to cover up a critical shortage that was interfering with health care workers obtaining PPE). I went to a supply house the other day and nobody working there was wearing a mask. I was laughed at for the mask I was wearing, even though in my state masks are "required" for all public areas.

Given all that, it would be a great surprise if US case numbers were not jumping higher. If nothing changes, they are going to continue much higher. The only saving grace we have is that most people can get through this on their own without medical intervention (but possibly they will have long-term adverse health consequences). Big Government in the US has let us down at all levels. Why anyone still puts their faith in it is beyond me. It needs to be pared down to something much smaller and much less expensive.

Russell J
Russell J

I read an article about a salon that had a mandatory mask policy and 1 of the stylist tested positive. Because the salon kept great records they were able to contact all the patrons, something like 164. None of the patrons got sick, not everyone was tested but the lesson is masks work.

If everyone wears a mask, does the social distancing and uses common sense this could easily be controlled.

Tony Bennett
Tony Bennett

"Surge Explanation: What's Going On?"

...

Possible mutation.

tokidoki
tokidoki

The President won't wear a mask.
The Vice President does the same.

And even the vaunted Fauci does not wear a mask when speaking to Congress.

That's all. We are rapidly heading to failed state status.

LawrenceBird
LawrenceBird

It is more important to focus on the hospitalizations than deaths (or even total positive tests). In at least some areas of AZ nearly 60% of those hospitalized are under 65. That they are less likely to die doesn't help with the original problem of overwhelming the medical system to the point where it is all covid all the time.

People also forget that those who are hospitalized and released can still have significant health issues weeks and months later. Only time will tell to what extent the damages are permanent.

MATHGAME
MATHGAME

One positive note is that I no longer seem to hear the COVIDiots on this site touting their "herd immunity" stupidity.

Sweden and its COVIDiot "champions" kept blathering about "herd immunity". But Sweden should have finally realized that it is a pipe dream, with just 7% of people in Stockholm having developed COVID antibodies by end of April, and more and more researchers realizing that antibodies don't seem to be effective for more than a few months.

And yet the idiotic Swedish government demanding that ALL children, regardless of any health issues for them or family members, MUST return to school or face possible "last resort" removal from their family by social services. Are the Swedish COVIDidiots still trying to achieve their pipe dram of "herd immunity"?!

Or is Sweden just doing its "best" to overtake Italy in the COVID deaths per capita sweepstakes. GOOOOOOO SWEDEN! It's a long way to go to overtake Belgium for the TOP SPOT among countries with more than 100K population but Sweden seems pretty determined ....

DBG8489
DBG8489

I see you claim that it has nothing to do with testing because (I assume) that Nate Silver also says that deaths are on the rise. However, in Georgia at least, we are watching a downward trend in deaths as shown by the chart on the AJC Coronavirus Dashboard:

There is a slight uptick recently due to no one reporting anything on the weekend, but the overall trend itself appears flat - even during the lockdown.

Furthermore as a resident who lives and works in the Atlanta suburbs, I can tell you that in the past 10 days or so, I've seen numerous "drive through" testing centers where there were none before, and each has long lines of cars waiting to be tested. In fact, yesterday I was at Best Buy and the center in that parking lot probably had 50 to 75 cars in line. They are even using cones, signs, and people to create a virtual "rope line" queue to enable more cars to fit in the smaller area.

I assume these are the "instant" or "five minute" or whatever tests, which means they get the results on the spot. It also means the results can be reported on a near-daily basis. This increased testing is naturally going to result in more positive test results.

I have no idea what the accuracy rating of the tests are, but if they are as bad as some say, how many of the new "positive tests" - which is what is meant when the term "reported cases" is used - are in fact false positives?

If we are going to call a place a "hotspot" it would seem to me that a better judge of that would be something other than "new cases" which really means "new positive tests".

Curious-Cat
Curious-Cat

I haven't seen any mention of the alleged serious continuing health issues that are reported to have occurred in some young people who have recovered. I have no idea how many of those reports are real.

It would be useful if statistics on these were published to give the public some idea of the frequency and severity of long range effects. So a twenty-something who thinks he can get it and get over it will think twice about the risk of a life with permanent lung damage.

(But sadly that possibility doesn't seem to keep people from using combustible tobacco.)

Casual_Observer
Casual_Observer

Of course cases will rise. People are out more and also there is more availability of tests. Wear a mask and take your vitamins. Eventually everyone will get covid-19 either by vaccine of some sort or naturally. The problem is there is now data showing the antibodies only stay in your system for 3-4 months. This is going to be more like the flu without a vaccine for awhile. Normal life may not resume unless we get a scientific miracle - a vaccine for a cold virus.

pvguy
pvguy

As for the kids, in Washington State, the under 40 group is 43% of the cases, and 1% of the deaths. The kids are not at risk. Send them to school.

The over 80 group is 7% of the cases, and 51% of the deaths. There is where to concentrate isolation efforts, although whether someone in their 80s wants to live out the rest of their life in isolation is an open question.

Also odd in WA, Blacks are 4% of the population, and 3% of the deaths, so they are not over-represented as reported elsewhere.

Sechel
Sechel

NY , NJ & Ct will now require out of state visitors to quarantine for two weeks if they come from an out of state hot spot

Carl_R
Carl_R

The data missing from those graphs is mask usage. Who cares about mobility? Driving around won't give you Covid. What matters is the amount of time people spend in close contact with other people without masks.

Jack and Joan
Jack and Joan

How come they never report hospitalizations. That is the key metric. An overwhelming number of deaths come from that group. In most cases the sick person goes home and goes to bed.

aprnext
aprnext

Ans to Mish Query: Water

njbr
njbr

One answer is--air conditioning.

Outdoor transmission is more difficult than indoor.

And while people in FL, TX, AZ, CA talk a big "outdoorsy" game, they head indoors to the AC when it is hot out. Whereas us pasty-faced northerners head outdoors when the cold goes away.

Another answer is--higher poverty rates and greater sharing rates of housing, poor education, poorer health, less access to heath-care, greater belief in the "wisdom" of churches and politicians.

CA2020
CA2020

Mish on reality #1 I live and work in California. Last Friday evening when I left work drove by a popular fairly new brewery just down the street from my job. Entire parking lot full, and overflow parking on the street. There might have been a few less cars than a Friday evening pre-pandemic. In other words that brewery was full of people, eating, drinking, no masks. California perception is social distancing, reality not so much....

njbr
njbr

Florida--number of tests down, percent of positive tests up

tokidoki
tokidoki

Don't forget the church. Perhaps I have the wrong impression but aren't people in the south more religious?

Rbm
Rbm

Im watching hospital numbers along with icu for my county in ca. Just 1 rt now think its been 2 total. Test numbers seem to going up. Im about to go take one to be able to go to work. .

ColoradoAccountant
ColoradoAccountant

Will Covid-19 save the Social Security Fund?

Jojo
Jojo

Shakespeare wrote that "brevity is the soul of wit". This article tells you everything you need to known in ONLY 2 charts (CV19 positive rate and CV19 currently hospitalized) at the very beginning. Longer isn't necessarily better as it only serves to obfuscate the subject matter..

Why Facts Don’t Matter to People
Barry Brownstein
– June 24, 2020

Jojo
Jojo

Everyone likes charts, yes? Here's a bunch on the mortality of CV19 to ponder.

Studies on Covid-19 lethality
Published: May 12, 2020; Last updated: June 21, 2020

Webej
Webej

I see nothing resembling an answer to the question raised:

Why the surge in the South?

TeleAllende
TeleAllende

Here is a graph of hospitalizations.

TeleAllende
TeleAllende

TeleAllende
TeleAllende

The above graph from CDC (annotated by me)

shows weekly hospitalizations, but it is not clear to me whether these are "current this week" or "new this week" hospitalizations.
For example - people who who were hospitalized the week before the current week and are still in the hospital - are they included or excluded from the graph? I think they are excluded, and the graph shows "new" hospitalizations.

TeleAllende
TeleAllende

Here is an example calculation based on week of 06/13/2020:

Hospitalization rates per 100k of different age groups. 2020/06/13 week: [0.7+0.2+2.4+4.1+6.2] = 13.6 people hospitalized per 100k. Total COVID-NET network is 32 million. Therefore total new weekly hospitalizations within the COVID-NET network of 32 million (10% of US population) is: = 32 million * 13.6 / 100k = 4352 people per 32 million covered by COVID-NET data. Should we multiply this by 10 to cover the full 100% United States population? = 43000 ?

TeleAllende
TeleAllende

Any dumbass (or liar) who claims that we only have 1500 hospitalizations per week should look at the death rate. Our weekly death rate is likely above that.

TeleAllende
TeleAllende

United States hit 2million Covid 19 cases on Jun 10th, 2020.
Today it is 2020/06/24 (2 weeks or 14 days later) and we're at 2380000
An increase of 380k cases in 2 weeks, or 190k per week.
Of these 190k new cases per week ~ 40k per week are new hospitalizations or 20%.
20% hospitalization rate is very similar to Chinese and European data.
You want to talk about hospitalizations? There it is!

MATHGAME
MATHGAME

Better start looking for information on the D614G mutation of SARS-COV-2.

Casual_Observer
Casual_Observer

I have a theory as to why things are surging in the south and southern California. This is where the weather is now hotter and people are "out" but going in and out and lot because its too hot outside. This causes them to sweat more on their palms and hands and in general. Sweat likely leads to surfaces being transmissible for longer. I also suspect humidity as a bigger factor in general. Arizona is dry but I think there people are staying indoors in places like restaurants and other places. Anyone who has been to Arizona in June can tell you you are constantly sweating all day and trying to get indoors when you do go out. Hand sanitizer dries out your hands so you should be putting it on all the time if you are going out unless you can wash your hands every time you touch common areas like restaurant doors. Take your vitamins, especially B and D. Being in the heat while helpful to getting vitamin D can also make you profusely sweat in the south and this is exactly what allows the virus to be transmissible. Keep your hands dry.

BaronAsh
BaronAsh

We need precise data on the nr of people coming in from Mexico for medical care. Mexico is peaking and some dual citizens are coming back - highly symptomatic - which is why many border-region hospitals have filled up.

  1. Need more precise data on this.
  2. Chances are this is a temporary phenomenon as Mexico is now peaking and within a month or so their numbers will be way down, their best hospitals in Mexico City will no longer be over-taxed, so few wealthy Mexicans will be border-hopping to get the healthcare.
  3. Also, the virulence is going down generally, so hopefully that starts to happen in Mexico too like it has done nearly everywhere else.

About hot weather: it's scientifically proven that the virus only lasts 30 seconds or so in hot, humid weather. But the worst thing about hot weather is that sunbelt people spend long periods of time in air-conditioned enclosed spaces, and many filters aren't changed frequently enough and/or aren't HEPA quality anyway. If you are outside when it's hot, probably you are very safe. But if you are in a crowded, air-conditioned bar, probably not so good.

Lastly, given that hospitals get an extra $30,000 or whatever for treating covid patients, many people now coming in for delayed treatment, if they test positive are immediately added to covid numbers even though they may not be suffering all that much from it. There is an incentive in the system to inflate the numbers, put it that way.

But really: they should analyse how many people are coming across the border right now with symptoms during Mexico's peak time.


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