I don’t have any special reason for posting this. Just curiosity. As you know, there are upsides and downsides to tracking COVID-19 cases. The upside is that they’re an early warning indicator. The downside is that their accuracy depends a lot on the level of testing.
The mirror image is true of tracking mortality rates. The upside is they’re very accurate. The downside is they trail cases by three or four weeks, so by the time you see an upswing you already have weeks of new cases working their way through the population.
Somewhere in between you have hospitalizations. They trail case counts, but only by a week or two, and they’re fairly accurate, though not as accurate as death tolls. So I thought I’d take a look.
Unfortunately, some of the states we might be most interested in, like Texas and California, apparently don’t report hospitalizations in a form acceptable to The COVID-19 Project. But I picked six states sort of at random and then added Texas based on data from their health agency. Here’s what they look like:
Oklahoma has seen a huge recent surge and Texas has nearly doubled its hospitalizations since June 1. None of the other states has seen an increase of more than 50 percent during that period. Now, 50 percent is nothing to sneeze at, but it’s not a massive spike. On the other hand, it’s also true that over the past week every single state has seen a noticeable increase in hospitalizations.
So this is a different look, but the conclusion is pretty much the same as always: it sure looks like COVID-19 is on the comeback, especially outside the Northeast and Midwest. Hang tight, and keep wearing those masks.
UPDATE: I’ve added Texas to the chart.