Charted Territory

A data-driven blog that uses chart, maps, cartograms, and other visualizations to understand important societal issues.

Health

COVID-19: Has America Peaked but now Plateaued?

The headline: COVID-19 weekly case rates in the US seem to have peaked in the five weeks from April 11th to May 9th. The following four weeks have seen a decreasing-but-plateauing rate.

The chart:

  • Each of the 12 curves in the chart show the population-weighted weekly COVID-19 case rate for all the counties that had their peak rate in one of the last 12 weeks.
  • The color of each curve is relative to the total population of all the counties in each curve.
  • The number at the top of each of the 12 curves indicates the total population of all the counties in the curve. The decimal point for each number is aligned to the day each curved peaked.
  • The dashed line represents all the counties in the US that have had their peak rate in the week ending on June 6th.
  • For example, the darkest orange curve represents all the counties that peaked in the week ending April 11th (i.e., the seven days from 4/4/20 to 4/11/20). This block of counties had a worst weekly peak rate of 1420 cases per million, and this occurred on 4/9/20. The total population for all these counties is 59.4 million.
  • The counties that peaked in the last week, ending June 6th, are represented as a dashed line. Many of these counties have likely not peaked yet.

Key highlights:

  • The counties that peaked in the five weeks from April 11th to May 9th had a population-weighted average worst weekly rate of 1241 cases per million and an average weekly rate of 463 cases per million since March 1st. The counties in these five weeks have a total population of 157 million.
  • The next four weeks (May 16th to June 6th) had an average peak rate of 657 (just over half compared with the five previous weeks) and an average rate of 231 (almost exactly half). The counties in these four counties have a total population of 151 million.
  • The counties that peaked in the first three weeks—March 21st to April 4th—have a total population of 20 million, an average weekly peak rate of 584 cases per million, and an average weekly rate of 197 cases per million.
  • Counties with a population of 85.4 million people (dashed line) had their peak rate in the last week (seven days ending 6/6/20). Some of these counties will ultimately have their peak rate in the week ending 6/6/20, and many will peak in weeks to come. This group of counties currently have an average worst weekly rate of 598 cases per million and an average weekly rate of 198 cases per million. This represents more than one-quarter of the US’ population.
  • On June 6th, the weighted-average weekly COVID-19 rate in the US was 406 cases per million. Many of the individual 12 curves are plateauing around this range (300 to 500).

The data: COVID-19 data were collected from USAFacts (https://usafacts.org/visualizations/coronavirus-covid-19-spread-map/).Election data were collected and compiled by Charted Territory.

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