For the last two weeks (ending August 15) the national COVID metrics showed some modest improvement.
I have previously referred to this section as “New Cases”, but it has become increasingly apparent that there is a significant likelihood that some positive test results are being counted as multiple cases as patients are getting tested on multiple cases in an attempt to obtain a negative result so they can break quarantine or go back to work. I have not been able to find anything that quantifies this phenomenon; therefore, it is more accurate to describe the reports as positive test results as opposed to new cases. Also, I will repeat my previous caveat that the testing data is mess generally, and I believe it is the least reliable of the metrics we are tracking.
Over the last two weeks, the results of a little over 10 million cases were reported, down slightly from 11 million during the previous two-week period. There are widespread reports of a falling demand for testing. The number of positive results averaged about 52,000 per day, down significantly from the 64,500 from the previous two weeks. The positivity rate drifted down to 7.3% from 8.1%.
Fatalities have leveled out at just over 1,000 per day. The fatality data has also become increasingly complicated to interpret because some states, like Texas, have begun to report fatalities as of the actual date of death. COVID Tracking Project has a good blog post that details the effects of this change in methodology.
The most encouraging metric for the past two weeks was hospitalizations, dropping from 54,462 to 44,788. COVID-occupied ICU beds also dropped by a similar margin from 10,433 to 9,098. The ratio of hospitalizations to positive tests has also continued to decline.
With the number of positive cases, the positivity rate, and hospitalizations all on the decline, we should see fatalities to begin to decline as well. But, as we have seen over and over with this virus, it has a mind of its own.