This week, the CDC's looks-like-COVID activity map is almost all a dark, healthy green, but....

...the percentage of all U.S. deaths caused by COVID-19 is still over the epidemic threshold.

COVID-19, and illnesses that are probably COVID-19, are still killing many people in the United States, but the number of new cases showing up in doctors’ offices, urgent care clinics and hospital emergency rooms may have fallen to low levels throughout most of the country.

Public health specialists at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have published data supporting that assessment in their latest weekly COVID-19 report for the week ending May 30.

The CDC has based the report on reports submitted by Friday.

The CDC emphasizes that many of the figures in the report are incomplete, especially for the latest two weeks.

To get around testing problems, the CDC tracks data for confirmed cases of COVID-19 along with data for other illnesses that resemble COVID-19 and influenza.

The map the CDC uses to show the outbreak activity level “out in the community” uses colors ranging from deep green, for states with the lowest level of activity, up to maroon, for states with the highest level of activity.

Last week, the CDC had no data on the number of new cases cropping up “out in the community” in Idaho. Reports from Wisconsin suggested that the number of new cases was rising to a high level in Wisconsin.

This week, the only two states with activity above the lowest level are Idaho and Maryland.

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.

But CDC officials say in the new report that there are signs that severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), the virus that causes COVID-19, could still flare up in some communities.

Virus Warning Signs

One sign of how much SARS-CoV-2 is still out there is the percentage of patient specimens sent for SARS-CoV-2 testing that turn out to actually show signs of a SARS-CoV-2 infection.

The percentage of samples that tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 actually increased in the Southwest, in the South Central region, on the West Coast, and in the Pacific Northwest, officials say.

Another concern is that, in most regions, SARS-CoV-2 infection rates for the children tested either held steady or increased, officials say.

Fewer than 5% of the children tested for SARS-CoV-2 actually had SARS-CoV-2, but “other age groups have seen consistent declines in percent positivity in recent weeks,” officials say.

People who die from COVID-19 often take weeks, or months, to die.

That means that the number of people dying from COVID-19 now mainly reflects infections that occurred in April or May.

COVID-19 and illnesses that could have been COVID-19 accounted for about 8.4% of all deaths in the week ending May 30, according to the very earliest numbers for that week.

That’s down sharply, from a peak of about 28%, in April, but it’s still well above the 6.3% epidemic threshold for the week.

Because of the way states submit death data, and the way the CDC processes the data, that measure of epidemic severity may take about a week to firm up. It’s possible that the final numbers will show that, for the week ending May 30, COVID-19 and COVID look-alikes continued to be responsible for more than 10% of all deaths.

COVID-19 at the State Level

One concern about the accuracy of the data is that many state and local officials are eager to ease the lockdown rules imposed in an effort to slow the spread of SARS-CoV-2. Some critics of the reopening efforts have accused officials of manipulating outbreak numbers in an effort to hide the severity of the outbreak and accelerate the reopening process.

In Florida, for example, public health officials announced Friday that they had recorded 1,305 new cases of COVID-19 that day, bringing the total number to 61,488. In Florida, the ratio of new cases to total cases is about the same as the ratio of new deaths to total deaths. That might be a sign the outbreak is simmering at about the same rate as before.

California is continuing to record more than about 2,000 new cases per day.

Texas is recording more than 1,500 cases per day.

In the United States, about 6% of the people who have contracted confirmed cases of COVID-19 have died. If that ratio continues to hold,

The number of new cases being recorded per day in California, Florida and Texas this week could translate into about 300 extra deaths per day in those states two or three months per now.

The Insured Population

One question is how the CDC’s figures might relate to the death rate and the disability rate for people who have commercial life insurance, disability insurance and annuities.

Richard Bielen, the chief executive officer of Protective Life, talked about an analysis of his company’s early COVID-19 death claims Wednesday, at an S&P Global insurance conference

Bielen reported that the average age of the insured who died was 79, the average policy age was 24 years, the average death claim was under $150,000, and there were no signs that people had bought coverage because they knew they were at high risk of dying from COVID-19.

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Deaths by Week

United States
Week ending COVID-19 Deaths Pneumonia Deaths Influenza Deaths Pneumonia, Influenza, or COVID-19 Deaths Total Deaths Percent of Expected Deaths COVID-19 Deaths As a Percentage of Total Deaths Pneumonia, Influenza and COVID-19 Deaths As a Percentage of Total Death
2/1/2020 0 3,732 476 4,208 57,720 97% 6% 7%
2/8/2020 1 3,722 514 4,237 58,324 98% 6% 7%
2/15/2020 0 3,753 543 4,296 57,667 98% 7% 7%
2/22/2020 3 3,624 556 4,182 57,746 99% 6% 7%
2/29/2020 5 3,749 633 4,384 58,110 101% 6% 8%
3/7/2020 32 3,873 618 4,506 58,259 101% 7% 8%
3/14/2020 52 3,868 607 4,499 57,127 100% 7% 8%
3/21/2020 545 4,421 536 5,251 57,679 102% 8% 9%
3/28/2020 3,018 5,992 437 8,033 61,552 110% 10% 13%
4/4/2020 9,412 9,522 460 14,657 69,905 125% 14% 21%
4/11/2020 15,505 11,549 462 20,219 76,068 137% 15% 27%
4/18/2020 16,042 10,754 256 19,998 72,970 135% 15% 27%
4/25/2020 13,685 9,403 141 17,251 68,410 127% 14% 25%
5/2/2020 10,969 7,842 56 14,137 62,593 117% 13% 23%
5/9/2020 9,779 6,912 44 12,567 59,310 112% 12% 21%
5/16/2020 7,322 5,505 18 9,802 53,805 102% 10% 18%
5/23/2020 4,025 3,627 14 5,978 42,438 81% 9% 14%
5/30/2020 1,163 1,519 1 2,212 24,218 46% 6% 9%
Idaho
Week ending COVID-19 Deaths Pneumonia Deaths Influenza Deaths Pneumonia, Influenza, or COVID-19 Deaths Total Deaths Percent of Expected Deaths COVID-19 Deaths As a Percentage of Total Deaths Pneumonia, Influenza and COVID-19 Deaths As a Percentage of Total Death
2/1/2020 0 11 NA 12 249 96% 4% 5%
2/8/2020 0 18 NA 20 293 116% 6% 7%
2/15/2020 0 11 NA 12 279 98% 4% 4%
2/22/2020 0 17 NA 21 318 84% 5% 7%
2/29/2020 0 17 NA 20 289 88% 6% 7%
3/7/2020 0 17 NA 20 278 104% 6% 7%
3/14/2020 0 18 NA 21 284 89% 6% 7%
3/21/2020 0 22 NA 26 308 110% 7% 8%
3/28/2020 NA 14 NA 20 332 99% 4% 6%
4/4/2020 NA 15 NA 22 271 96% 6% 8%
4/11/2020 22 17 0 34 305 104% 6% 11%
4/18/2020 11 13 0 19 282 103% 5% 7%
4/25/2020 12 15 0 24 261 127% 6% 9%
5/2/2020 NA 13 0 15 251 94% 5% 6%
5/9/2020 NA NA NA 13 301 107% NA 4%
5/16/2020 NA 11 0 15 267 101% 4% 6%
5/23/2020 NA 10 0 15 224 100% 4% 7%
5/30/2020 NA NA 0 NA 160 96% NA NA
New York City
Week ending COVID-19 Deaths Pneumonia Deaths Influenza Deaths Pneumonia, Influenza, or COVID-19 Deaths Total Deaths Percent of Expected Deaths COVID-19 Deaths As a Percentage of Total Deaths Pneumonia, Influenza and COVID-19 Deaths As a Percentage of Total Death
2/1/2020 0 95 19 114 1,168 102% 8% 10%
2/8/2020 0 95 18 113 1,170 98% 8% 10%
2/15/2020 0 86 14 100 1,130 99% 8% 9%
2/22/2020 0 75 NA 84 1,092 101% 7% 8%
2/29/2020 0 83 NA 89 1,109 102% 7% 8%
3/7/2020 0 92 NA 100 1,112 101% 8% 9%
3/14/2020 NA 104 NA 113 1,133 104% 9% 10%
3/21/2020 122 155 14 248 1,400 134% 11% 18%
3/28/2020 954 597 47 1,201 2,769 269% 22% 43%
4/4/2020 3,073 1,708 211 3,498 6,049 587% 28% 58%
4/11/2020 4,690 2,081 326 4,992 7,691 721% 27% 65%
4/18/2020 3,700 1,476 172 3,840 5,686 559% 26% 68%
4/25/2020 2,377 1,056 78 2,477 3,798 385% 28% 65%
5/2/2020 1,343 634 NA 1,429 2,451 243% 26% 58%
5/9/2020 1,005 466 NA 1,076 2,016 205% 23% 53%
5/16/2020 589 296 0 654 1,542 150% 19% 42%
5/23/2020 368 181 NA 420 1,208 119% 15% 35%
5/30/2020 152 104 0 193 852 102% 12% 23%
Wisconsin
Week ending COVID-19 Deaths Pneumonia Deaths Influenza Deaths Pneumonia, Influenza, or COVID-19 Deaths Total Deaths Percent of Expected Deaths COVID-19 Deaths As a Percentage of Total Deaths Pneumonia, Influenza and COVID-19 Deaths As a Percentage of Total Death
2/8/2020 0 53 NA 58 1,051 NA 5% 6%
2/15/2020 0 75 12 87 1,123 NA 7% 8%
2/22/2020 0 57 14 71 1,158 NA 5% 6%
2/29/2020 0 54 16 70 1,135 NA 5% 6%
3/7/2020 0 62 16 78 1,114 NA 6% 7%
3/14/2020 0 56 32 88 1,102 NA 5% 8%
3/21/2020 NA 74 19 97 1,109 NA 7% 9%
3/28/2020 18 73 13 103 1,143 NA 6% 9%
4/4/2020 75 89 NA 161 1,214 NA 7% 13%
4/11/2020 76 75 NA 143 1,168 NA 6% 12%
4/18/2020 72 52 NA 114 1,138 NA 5% 10%
4/25/2020 47 55 0 99 1,020 NA 5% 10%
5/2/2020 66 56 0 116 1,140 NA 5% 10%
5/9/2020 55 50 NA 90 1,049 NA 5% 9%
5/16/2020 51 47 NA 89 956 NA 5% 9%
5/23/2020 43 42 0 73 864 NA 5% 8%
5/30/2020 11 19 0 28 526 NA 4% 5%

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Deaths by State (Week ending May 16)

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 34 44 67 725 93% 9%
Alaska 0 0 0 41 125% NA
Arizona 31 66 79 904 110% 9%
Arkansas NA 27 34 461 101% 7%
California 253 364 473 4,273 99% 11%
Colorado 59 38 79 690 101% 11%
Connecticut NA NA NA NA 83% NA
Delaware 22 10 24 115 114% 21%
District of Columbia NA 12 13 90 104% 14%
Florida 136 252 322 3,702 108% 9%
Georgia 43 53 76 956 117% 8%
Hawaii 0 NA 10 193 100% 5%
Idaho NA 10 15 224 100% 7%
Illinois 274 244 369 1,932 140% 19%
Indiana 118 96 177 1,092 114% 16%
Iowa 69 41 87 466 111% 19%
Kansas NA 20 22 421 88% 5%
Kentucky 18 42 48 503 98% 10%
Louisiana 43 32 50 492 97% 10%
Maine NA 15 20 255 114% 8%
Maryland 195 131 252 1,020 94% 25%
Massachusetts 403 201 460 1,332 102% 35%
Michigan 137 137 209 1,606 99% 13%
Minnesota 132 68 165 826 104% 20%
Mississippi 55 59 89 539 98% 17%
Missouri 34 55 76 804 102% 9%
Montana 0 NA NA 93 86% NA
Nebraska 21 21 33 219 104% 15%
Nevada 20 27 36 385 107% 9%
New Hampshire 32 16 37 256 109% 14%
New Jersey 275 174 327 1,388 206% 24%
New Mexico 11 16 22 233 102% 9%
New York 394 295 515 2,086 132% 25%
New York City 368 181 420 1,208 119% 35%
North Carolina 0 0 0 0 102% NA
North Dakota 0 NA NA 64 101% NA
Ohio 96 84 133 1,504 99% 9%
Oklahoma NA 27 30 443 89% 7%
Oregon NA NA 12 392 99% 3%
Pennsylvania 395 253 500 2,524 70% 20%
Rhode Island 11 NA 14 45 95% 31%
South Carolina 45 51 80 911 107% 9%
South Dakota NA NA 10 73 93% 14%
Tennessee 15 73 83 1,158 106% 7%
Texas 50 177 205 2,526 109% 8%
Utah NA 16 21 322 101% 7%
Vermont 0 NA NA 89 106% NA
Virginia 125 73 158 1,176 126% 13%
Washington NA 31 32 722 108% 4%
West Virginia NA NA NA 21 38% NA
Wisconsin 43 42 73 864 87% 8%
Wyoming NA NA NA 73 83% NA
Puerto Rico NA 23 25 199 35% 13%
United States 4,025 3,627 5,978 42,438 81% 14%

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