The new government COVID-19 tracking report shows that most states are now a nice, healthy green.
That means their doctors’ offices, urgent care clinics and emergency rooms are handling few patients with COVID-19, or anything that looks like COVID-19.
But many of the people who were getting sick a few weeks ago are still in the hospital, and some of those people are dying.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has put the numbers in the latest edition of its weekly COVIDView newsletter. The CDC includes many maps, tables and charts in the newsletter.
- The CDC’s weekly COVID-19 report is available here.
- The CDC’s provisional COVID-19 mortality data table is available here.
- An article about the previously weekly COVID-19 report is available here.
Because testing for a new viral disease is difficult, the CDC bases much of the newsletter on reports on all kinds of conditions that look like COVID-19, including influenza and pneumonia.
The map appears to show that number of new cases of COVID-19 and of COVID-19 look-alike illnesses is falling in most of the country, other than Minnesota, Wisconsin and Vermont.
Although COVID-19 and COVID-19 look-alike illnesses continue to cause a very high percentage of all U.S. deaths, the percentage is falling back closer to normal epidemic levels.
But a look at the weekly statistics for New York City shows why public health officials continue to see severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) — the virus that causes COVID-19 — as a formidable foe: In New York City, it caused the number of deaths per week to rise to almost three times the expected level for the week ending March 28, and almost seven times the expected level for the week ending April 11.
The CDC bases the “expected levels” on the average number of deaths for the comparable weeks in the year in 2017, 2018 and 2019.
The ratio of actual deaths to expected deaths seems to have started falling in New York City in the week ending April 18, but it was still over 300% for the week ending April 25, which is the most recent week for which the CDC has reasonably complete state-level data.
The extremely high number of deaths in an especially hard-hit area may explain some of the delays in life insurance claim filing that some life insurers have been talking about in their first-quarter earnings calls.
New York City is the only city with its own line in the CDC’s provisional mortality tables.
Massachusetts and New Jersey are the two states with the highest ratios of actual to expected deaths. In both states, the number of deaths per week is about twice as high as the expected level.
One common question about the data is what effect efforts to ease shelter-in-place restrictions might have on the number of new infections.
Another is question is how complete and accurate the numbers are, given the difficulties with testing, and the pressures jurisdictions may have to report positive rates that are higher and lower than they really are.
Executives at Voya Financial Inc.have said that they might be seeing a noticeable lag in the filing of COVID-19-related life insurance claims.
Deaths by Week
|Week Ending Date||COVID-19 Deaths||Pneumonia Deaths||Flu Deaths||Pneumonia, Flu, and COVID-19 Deaths||Total Deaths||Percent of Expected Deaths|
Deaths by State* (Week ending April 25)
|State||COVID Deaths||Pneumonia Deaths||Total Deaths||Percent of Expected Deaths|
|District of Columbia||20||25||107||84%|
|New York City||1,797||791||3,126||317%|
|* This table leaves out some rows that appear to contain especially incomplete data.|
Deaths by Week in New York City
|Week, Ending Date||COVID-19 Deaths||Pneumonia Deaths||Flu Deaths||Pneumonia, Influenza, and COVID-19 Deaths||Total Deaths||Percent of Expected Deaths|
|Marc h 7||0||92||*||100||1,111||101%|
— Read 7 Things the Senate Is Hearing About Covid-19, for Agents, on ThinkAdvisor.