The new weekly CDC 'flu-like illness' activity map suggests that the country still has COVI9-19 flames to put out. Here are 5 images that tell the story, based on CDC data...

1. The Map for the Week Ending March 28

In late March, the CDC colored many U.S. states red, meaning that those states had a very high rate of outpatient activity for COVID-19, flu, pneumonia and other COVID-19 look-alike illnesses.

2. The Map for the Week Ending May 9

By the end of the week before last, most states had cleared to the healthiest, dark green level, or at least to a light green, minimal activity level.

3. The New Map

This map, for the week ending May 16, shows that most states are a nice, healthy green... but not Idaho and Wisconsin.

4. COVID-19 and COVID-19-Look-Alike Deaths as a Percentage of All Deaths

This outbreak intensity indicator is lower than it was in April, but it's still well above the CDC's epidemic threshold.

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5. The More Death Numbers the CDC Gets, the Deadlier the COVID-19 Outbreak Looks

One key outbreak intensity indicator is the percentage of all deaths caused by COVID-19 and COVID-19 look-alikes. For one particular week in April, for example, this indicator is now 27%, up from 18.6% when it was first announced.

The number of patients showing up at U.S. doctors’ offices with illnesses that look like COVID-19 is falling, but the outbreak is still killing people at epidemic levels.

For the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one sign that a disease outbreak may be an epidemic is if the disease accounts for more than about 6% of all U.S. deaths in a given week.

Early U.S. death counts for the week ending May 16 show that COVID-19, and illnesses that often resemble COVID-19, caused about 13%  of the deaths reported to the CDC.

That outbreak mortality intensity indicator was over 6% in 21 states.

In recent days, some analysts have suggested that COVID-19 may be hitting harder in high-population states led by Democrats than in more spread out states led by Republicans, but five of the states that rank in the top 10 in terms of outbreak mortality intensity — Iowa, Mississippi, New Hampshire, Maryland and Massachusetts — have Republican governors.

Resources

  • The CDC’s weekly COVID-19 report is available here.
  • The CDC’s provisional COVID-19 mortality data table is available here.
  • An overview article about the weekly COVID-19 report for the previous week is available here.

A team at the National Center for Health Statistics, an arm of the CDC, has reported COVID-19 outbreak tracking data in the CDC’s latest COVIDView report.

The report was released Friday — May 22 — and covers deaths and other events that happened during the week ending May 16.

The COVIDView team bases the tables and charts in the report on data from state public health agencies and other public health agencies and programs. Some agencies send the CDC their numbers faster than others do.

For the week ending May 16, for example, the total number of deaths reported for that week as of May 22 was just 53% of the “expected number of deaths,” or the average number of deaths during the comparable weeks in 2017, 2018 and 2019.

The COVIDView team is also wrestling with weaknesses in COVID-19 diagnostic testing efforts.

The COVIDView reports are similar to the CDC’s weekly influenza tracking reports. To get around flu testing gaps, the CDC reports data on confirmed cases of COVID-19 alongside data on similar conditions, such as pneumonia, flu and flu-like illnesses. The CDC also reports total death counts, in addition data on deaths officially attributed to COVID-19, flu and pneumonia.

The COVIDView numbers for May 2 are the latest numbers that appear to be reasonably complete.

As of May 22, the CDC had received reports of 56,606 deaths for the week ending May 2.

  • The total number of deaths was 8% higher than the expected number.
  • 9,359 of the people who died had laboratory-confirmed cases of COVID-19.
  • A total of 12,244 of the people who died, or 22% of all of the people who died, had laboratory-confirmed cases of COVID-19 or COVID-19-like illnesses.

The CDC keeps updating its numbers as new data comes in, and some key indicators can change dramatically over the course of a month.

On April 24, for example, the CDC published its first version of the COVID-19 mortality intensity figure for the week ending April 18: The CDC reported that 18.6% of all people who died that week had died from COVID-19 or similar-looking conditions.

States that were slower to send in their data had higher COVID-19 mortality intensity than the early filers. The CDC has revised the indicator almost every week. In the latest report, the CDC  says 27% of all of the people died during the week ending April 18 died of COVID-19 or similarly conditions.

For the ending April 11, the COVIDView mortality intensity indicator has increased from 18.8%, in the April 17 report, to 26.4%, in the report that came out Friday.

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Deaths by State (Week ending May 2)

State COVID-19 Deaths Pneumonia Deaths Pneumonia, Influenza, or COVID-19 Deaths Total Deaths* Percent of Expected Deaths Percent of Deaths Caused by COVID-19 and Look-Alikes
Alabama 61 70 116 951 96% 12%
Alaska 0 NA NA 56 63% NA
Arizona 88 112 161 1,303 112% 12%
Arkansas 17 40 54 582 97% 9%
California 383 488 675 5,018 99% 13%
Colorado 155 113 195 932 126% 21%
Connecticut NA NA NA NA 0% NA
Delaware 57 25 64 169 105% 38%
District of Columbia 38 42 42 133 121% 32%
Florida 267 373 498 4,214 109% 12%
Georgia 165 146 221 1,411 87% 16%
Hawaii NA 18 19 215 100% 9%
Idaho NA 13 15 242 100% 6%
Illinois 578 440 723 2,656 130% 27%
Indiana 236 189 331 1,311 108% 25%
Iowa 56 36 82 578 99% 14%
Kansas 18 29 39 489 102% 8%
Kentucky 31 54 79 705 78% 11%
Louisiana 158 108 190 783 95% 24%
Maine NA 13 19 273 98% 7%
Maryland 361 192 428 1,386 143% 31%
Massachusetts 937 429 1,028 2,087 183% 49%
Michigan 419 294 519 2,220 124% 23%
Minnesota 137 88 189 952 117% 20%
Mississippi 85 71 118 641 113% 18%
Missouri 90 78 139 1,101 90% 13%
Montana NA NA 11 151 83% 7%
Nebraska 16 23 33 312 97% 11%
Nevada 40 59 71 476 97% 15%
New Hampshire 32 19 43 259 117% 17%
New Jersey 1,048 641 1,162 2,535 191% 46%
New Mexico 49 30 56 318 89% 18%
New York 877 547 1,036 2,788 150% 37%
New York City 1,237 583 1,318 2,301 240% 57%
North Carolina NA NA NA NA 1% NA
North Dakota NA NA 11 93 75% 12%
Ohio 205 169 293 2,129 95% 14%
Oklahoma 23 44 57 482 66% 12%
Oregon 13 20 29 536 82% 5%
Pennsylvania 784 395 919 3,226 132% 28%
Rhode Island 57 30 67 158 79% 42%
South Carolina 58 77 117 977 111% 12%
South Dakota 16 13 22 137 101% 16%
Tennessee 27 91 109 1,356 94% 8%
Texas 149 307 394 3,676 104% 11%
Utah 11 12 22 376 113% 6%
Vermont NA NA NA 114 105% NA
Virginia 221 151 282 1,521 122% 19%
Washington 50 68 93 952 104% 10%
West Virginia 13 14 22 151 59% 15%
Wisconsin 64 53 111 1,106 104% 10%
Wyoming 0 NA NA 59 117% NA
Puerto Rico 13 30 41 224 74% 18%
United States 9,359 6,839 12,244 56,606 108% 22%
* Total deaths is less than or equal to the sum of COVID-19 deaths and pneumonia deaths, because some people are classified as dying from both COVID-19 and pneumonia. About 50 people died in the week ending May 2 of confirmed cases of flu. ”NA” here means that a state failed to report death data for the week ending May 2, or that it reported 2 to 9 deaths of a particular type, and the CDC left that number out of the data in an effort to protect people’s privacy. 
Source: The CDC’s COVIDView newsletter.

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Deaths by Week in 3 Places

Idaho
COVID-19 Deaths Pneumonia Deaths Pneumonia, Influenza, or COVID-19 Deaths Total Deaths Percent of Expected Deaths Percent of Deaths Caused by COVID-19 and Look-Alikes
Feb. 1 0 11 12 249 88% 5%
Feb. 8 0 18 20 293 100% 7%
Feb. 15 0 11 12 279 90% 4%
Feb. 22 0 17 21 318 112% 7%
Feb. 29 0 17 20 289 98% 7%
Marc h 7 0 17 20 278 97% 7%
March 14 0 18 21 284 107% 7%
March 21 0 22 26 308 105% 8%
March 28 NA 14 20 332 120% 6%
April 4 NA 15 22 271 97% 8%
April 11 22 17 34 304 102% 11%
April 18 11 13 19 281 98% 7%
April 25 12 15 24 259 99% 9%
May 2 NA 13 15 242 100% 6%
May 9 NA NA 11 272 104% 4%
May 16 0 NA NA 103 51% NA
Wisconsin
COVID-19 Deaths Pneumonia Deaths Pneumonia, Influenza, or COVID-19 Deaths Total Deaths Percent of Expected Deaths Percent of Deaths Caused by COVID-19 and Look-Alikes
Feb. 1 0 64 67 1,175 95% 6%
Feb. 8 0 53 58 1,050 106% 6%
Feb. 15 0 75 87 1,123 97% 8%
Feb. 22 0 57 71 1,158 100% 6%
Feb. 29 0 54 70 1,134 116% 6%
March 7 0 62 77 1,112 107% 7%
March 14 0 56 88 1,103 104% 8%
March 21 NA 72 95 1,108 105% 9%
March 28 18 73 103 1,141 100% 9%
April 4 75 89 161 1,212 115% 13%
April 11 74 75 142 1,163 117% 12%
April 18 72 52 114 1,129 107% 10%
April 25 47 55 99 1,009 109% 10%
May 2 64 53 111 1,106 104% 10%
May 9 52 48 85 936 111% 9%
May 16 12 20 28 450 95% 6%
New York City
COVID-19 Deaths Pneumonia Deaths Pneumonia, Influenza, or COVID-19 Deaths Total Deaths Percent of Expected Deaths Percent of Deaths Caused by COVID-19 and Look-Alikes
Feb. 1 0 95 114 1,168 103% 10%
Feb. 8 0 95 113 1,170 98% 10%
Feb. 15 0 86 100 1,130 100% 9%
Feb. 22 0 75 84 1,092 97% 8%
Feb. 29 0 83 89 1,108 105% 8%
Marc h 7 0 92 100 1,112 99% 9%
March 14 NA 103 112 1,130 102% 10%
March 21 120 155 246 1,398 126% 18%
March 28 927 593 1,179 2,756 236% 43%
April 4 3,021 1,705 3,463 6,029 542% 57%
April 11 4,576 2,056 4,910 7,620 719% 64%
April 18 3,623 1,439 3,769 5,611 585% 67%
April 25 2,292 1,016 2,408 3,716 399% 65%
May 2 1,237 583 1,318 2,301 240% 57%
May 9 879 398 939 1,810 193% 52%
May 16 325 168 372 1,078 114% 35%

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