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US Covid numbers moving in 2 directions

March 29, 2021 pm31 12:04 pm

New infections rates have dropped under 10 cases per 100,000 population (less than 1% of 1%) in a dozen states from Alabama to Oregon. That’s getting pretty low.

But in New York and New Jersey and some neighbors the number has stayed above 25, and is holding steady or rising. New Jersey, at 49 cases per 100,000 and rising, and New York, at 50 lead the country.

When I wrote that something was wrong with New York’s numbers back in December, it seemed strange. Almost no one else was noticing. The major media were oblivious, or worse (New York Times) saw the data and ignored it because it did not fit their narrative. But the shape of the curve in New York did not match the shape in the rest of country. Same wave, different impact. There must have been different facts on the ground.

Today we know that the British variant and a homegrown New York variant are big parts of the answer. I suspect that local travel patterns (lots of drivable vacation spots. Lots of second “country” homes) are also a part of the answer. And staying with class – I wonder if the service economy is just different here, with massive demand from safe/at-home office professionals for service work (delivery workers, retail workers, food delivery workers, food service workers). But the variants are the clearest part of the answer.

And all the media now knows about it. I heard about it today on NPR, and read about it in the Post. And they are questioning reopening at this moment. Fauci is warning that some states are reopening too quickly, that this is a dangerous moment.

And New York and New Jersey’s numbers are rising during a huge vaccination campaign. What would we be facing if the vaccine rollout had been slower? Were we inches from disaster? Thankfully we will never know.

And at the same time, a swath of the West, Southwest, and South is watching numbers drop well below September numbers.


  • huge spike in October/November in South Dakota and neighboring states.
  • 3rd wave begins in lead up to Thanksgiving. Post Thanksgiving surge, followed by a dip (except NY) and then another, higher surge post-Christmas and New Years.
  • 3rd wave recedes in February, but with numbers left at elevated November levels (higher in NY). NY and NJ actually plateau and stop falling.
  • Now, numbers continue to recede in most of the country – but begin to rise again in NY, NJ and their neighbors.

Look at the maps from today, mid-March, start of March, mid-Februrary, start of Februrary, mid-January, and New Years (I am showing low rates, below 10 new cases per 100,000, in green)

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Maryellen Ambrosio permalink
    March 29, 2021 pm31 3:40 pm 3:40 pm

    So what do you think of our mayor saying 25,000 students have opted into in person learning effective April 2021? Where are these numbers coming from. It reminds me of August when the mayor said 2/3 of our student population opted in for hybrid learning. All propaganda in 2021 AMERICA UGH! mea

    Sent from my iPhone


    • March 29, 2021 pm31 3:45 pm 3:45 pm

      25,000 sounds like a lot – but it is 2.5% of our population.

      And he didn’t mention the high school students who switched to remote when he announced that high schools would be “reopening.” I don’t have the citywide numbers, but I heard there were students in many high schools, maybe even almost every high school, who switched to remote just now. And, oh, oh, oh – I know the number in my school. It is 2.5%.

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