The Fourth Surge – What’s up with Michigan?

Zoom plot.

The Fourth Surge may or may not be upon us (more on that below). But it is certainly clear that new COVID-19 case numbers are growing unchecked in a few states. In the plot above, all the arrows pointing up and right – the top-right quadrant – represent states with increasing new cases numbers in both March and April 2021. Biggest by far: Michigan. The 10 April new cases per 100,000 rate of 73.6 is nearly four times the national rate of 20.5 new cases per 100,000 population. You can see it in the plot: the Michigan arrow is almost four times as long as the National arrow. New case rates in Michigan have been growing by two to four additional new cases each day since the start of March. That is from less that 15 new cases per 100,000 each day to nearly 75 new cases per day in just 40 days.

All of the states on the right side list saw an April increase in the number of new cases per 100,000 population. Which means the states on the left side all saw a decrease in April – good news! The states in the lower left quadrant saw decreases in new cases over both March and April. That may be why all their arrows are so short :).

About that Fourth Surge. At the national level, the numbers of new cases in April have erased all the improvements in March, which is why the National arrow in the plot above points down and to the right. But it’s not necessarily a trend yet – new case numbers have hovered around the 20 new cases per 100,000 population before. Clear in the plot below, however, is that the number new cases per 100,000 population just leapfrogged over the somewhat stable orbit in early March. It remains to be seen if this is a trend (that is, a surge) or part of a much bigger orbit around the average March case load numbers. See my web site for more details.

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