Friday, October 16, 2020

The Third Coronavirus Surge Has Arrived

This week’s COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations make clear that the U.S. is once again sinking deeper into the pandemic.

Health-care workers transfer a patient out of the COVID-19 Unit at United Memorial Medical Center in Houston, Texas, during a summer explosion of coronavirus cases.MARK FELIX / AFP / Getty

The COVID Tracking Project

After a month of warning signs, this week’s data make it clear: The third surge of the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States is underway. Outbreaks have been worsening in many states for more than a month, and new COVID-19 cases jumped 18 percent this week, bringing the seven-day average to more than 51,000 cases a day. Though testing rose by 8 percent nationally, that’s not enough of an increase to explain the steep rise in cases. Meanwhile, COVID-19 hospitalizations, which had previously been creeping upward slowly, jumped more than 14 percent from a week earlier.

Since last Wednesday, states reported 4,796 COVID-19 deaths, an increase of about 3 percent over the previous week. Since the start of the pandemic we have typically seen reported deaths lag behind reported cases by three to four weeks, although reporting delays seem to have worsened in some states, including Florida and Texas.

Our analysis is based on the official data we compile from 50 U.S. states, the District of Columbia, and five U.S. territories. Other sources confirm that the country is in trouble as we head further into fall: The New York Times, which collects official data at the county level, warned this morning that the U.S. is heading toward a new peak in COVID-19 cases. On the federal level, this week’s White House Coronavirus Task Force report (which is still not made public except by certain states) puts 26 states in the red zone based on new cases per capita, and an additional 19 states and the District of Columbia in the orange zone. As of this week, no U.S. states are in the task force’s green zone.  Read more >>