Testing continues to fall, especially in the South, one of the areas where the country needs it the most. Cases, too, are falling, which remains hard to interpret, given the testing decline—but fewer people are now in the hospital with COVID-19 than last week. This is the second week in a row that hospitalizations seem to have dropped, which suggests that infections may be declining independently of testing reductions.
Hospitalization Data Reported by the HHS vs. the States: Jumps, Drops, and Other Unexplained Phenomena
In mid-July the federal government began requiring hospitals to report COVID-19 data to the HHS rather than to the CDC. We compared current hospitalization data reported by the federal government and state health departments since the switch, and found contradictions that suggest the federal data continue to be unreliable, while the state datasets face their own challenges.
This week’s data marks a return to ambiguities we last saw in April and May. For the first time, we saw week-over-week testing numbers fall—and this decline makes drops in new COVID-19 case numbers difficult to interpret. Deaths continued their steady rise. And new complications like technical glitches and school reopenings threaten to cloud the picture even further.
States across the US use two primary methods for announcing COVID-19 deaths: date of death (reported) and date of death (actual). To analyze how the pandemic is trending across the country, understanding the relationship between these two data points is crucial. Here's what we've learned from investigating both methods in three of our largest hotspots: Arizona, Florida, and Texas.
Florida’s Per-Capita COVID-19 Cases Just Surpassed New York’s, but Are the Two Outbreaks Comparable? Yes and No.
Florida has reported over 461,000 total COVID-19 cases, surpassing New York for the highest per-capita caseload in the United States—but a simple comparison doesn’t represent the critical differences in the data we have for the two outbreaks.
Cases Declining, Deaths Rising, Hospital Data Remains a Question Mark: This Week in COVID-19 Data, July 30
This week’s data brings the first good news in several weeks: new cases of COVID-19 are declining nationally, thanks to substantial declines in reported cases by states with major outbreaks. Deaths, which lag cases, continue to rise. And hospital data is still unreliable for the second week in a row.