COVID-19 good news/bad news to start February

Being February 1st, it seemed to be a good time to see what is happening in terms of COVID-19 infection trends in the United States. 

The good news is that the number of new COVID-19 infections in the US has dropped significantly over the past two weeks. 

Overall new infections have fallen consecutively over the past 14 days. The only states that currently does not follow this trend are Oklahoma and Louisiana (see below). If one looks at the number of overall new COVID-19 cases, they are approximately 2/3 of what they were two weeks ago. 

New cases falling in shades of green and raising in orange (Johns Hopkins).

This uniform trend in new infections is probably related to a reduction from post-holiday related infections and may actually show the impact of early vaccination efforts especially in nursing homes. 

The numbers are even more impressive in some high impact states such as Florida and California when the infection counts have fallen even more dramatically. 

The Bad news is that new infections remain at near pandemic highs overall and in many states. 

Absolute numbers of new infections in the United States over the entire pandemic.

The absolute numbers of infections are still at over 150,000 per day. These numbers are is high as any time since early October when the fall surge hit. In addition, COVID-19 associated deaths remain over 3,000 today despite the drop in new infections. This suggest that deaths are trailing new infections or have become somewhat disconnected to the infection rate possibly because these are individuals who became ill before vaccines were available or were too sick to be immunized.  

We would hope that this infection rate continues to drop as more and more people are immunized and as springtime approaches in the United States. This should reduce the number of susceptible people and allow people to spend more time outdoors. Since the coronavirus seems to have its own mind and his done things that were unexpected (like the cluster outbreaks last summer) I think it’s still questionable where things go in the short term. 

Despite this, vaccination clearly is the way forward, and with increased availability of vaccines we would hope to see a continued, long term drop in new infections. That should eventually will be accompanied by a decrease in COVID-19 related deaths. 

Published by jbakerjrblog

Immunologist, former Army MD, former head of allergy and clinical immunology at University of Michigan, vaccine developer and opinionated guy.

2 thoughts on “COVID-19 good news/bad news to start February

  1. Thenk you for the update.
    What is your opinion about the speculation around the South African strain showing signs that it has the ability to reinfect people who have recovered from COVID19? Is this just a rumor/scare tactic?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Data are confusing. And not at all definitive. No clear data on increased mortality in Britain despite claims it is supported by data. Some evidence of increased infective to from tissue culture studies, but human data don’t exist yet. Need to watch closely though.

      Liked by 1 person

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