Data for current COVID-19 hospitalizations in the United States—one of our most valuable metrics for understanding the pandemic and its effects—has become highly erratic in recent weeks. Here's what we've learned from watching the data closely, and from our initial analysis of the hospitalization data being published by the federal government.
The rise in new cases is slowing, but so is testing growth. Hospitalization data was highly erratic this week, but what we did see is alarming. Deaths are rising three weeks behind cases, which suggests a very difficult few weeks ahead for the United States.
The US is approaching half a million new cases of COVID-19 each week. States with major outbreaks including Arizona, California, Florida, and Texas all saw record high weekly hospitalizations and deaths. Meanwhile, worsening outbreaks in many other states threaten to increase the pandemic's death toll in the coming weeks.
Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, US states and territories have released more and more data. While there are still notable gaps in the data, the quality of the data offered by the states has improved dramatically.
The South continues to be the epicenter of surges in both cases and hospitalizations. In Arizona, Florida, South Carolina, and Texas, COVID-19 deaths have begun to climb following jumps in new cases. And for the first time since April, deaths are rising nationally.
We're up to 24 states publishing both confirmed and probable COVID-19 deaths, and we're adding those data points into our API. But states are also using two different ways of deciding which deaths to count as COVID-19 deaths.