November 20, 2020 update on COVID-19 in Arizona
It has been about five months since I last wrote an update on the COVID-19 situation in Arizona. For those living here or considering moving here to be closer to Alcor, it’s time for a current look at the situation.
Between my June 10 and June 16 posts, COVID cases in Arizona went up from 29,852 to 39,097 to a total of 40,924 – what seemed like a rapid pace. At that time, Arizona was one of the top 5 states for new cases and new deaths, and the peak was still several weeks away. The 7-day moving average (7-DMA) had run up from 339 on May 27 to 1,356 on June 17. Daily cases reached its peak (so far) on June 29 at 5450. At that time, Arizona ranked #20 in cases per capita and #23 in deaths per capita. Our worst day so far saw 103 deaths on July 17. How does that compare to today and to the rest of the country? (NOTE: By “cases” I mean reported positive diagnostic tests. That someone has tested positive does not mean they are sick or feel sick.)
Just one month ago, the situation looked relatively encouraging. In that month, the number of new cases has accelerated hard, as it has in many states, and the number of new deaths has also been moving up, although more slowly. Today, Arizona has 291,696 cases with today’s increase of 4,471 being the largest in months. The 7-DMA is 3166. We are now well into the red zone with 43.5 daily new cases per 100,000 (25 is considered critical). After doing badly, Arizona has been falling in the ranks of cases per capita and is currently at #25 and is closing in on the average (mean) for the USA as a whole.
The 7-DMA for new deaths has risen from 10 one month ago to 24.3 today.
The positivity rate on diagnostic tests has risen from 5.4% (or 7%, depending on the source) to 12% (or 10.5%). The infection rate has been rising since it reached a low in August.
In the last month, the number of people hospitalized has risen from 947 to 2266. ICU headroom use has risen from 19% to 46% and is close to reaching the “medium” level according to Covidactnow.
But is Arizona doing better or worse than other states? Is it a place to come to or to stay away from? The states with the most Alcor members are California, Texas, Florida, and Arizona. In recent months, Arizona has been doing better than Texas and Florida, although both of those states have been doing better than average. California, so far, despite having the second-largest number of identified cases has been suffering from lower population-adjusted cases and deaths. Like many other states, however, the curves are rising quickly. Among these states, currently none looks likely to be much better or worse than the others.
These four states all look relatively good if you compare them to the country as whole and many specific states. COVID-19 growth appears to not only be resurgent but disproportionately affecting more rural areas. Maine and Vermont, so far, have fared quite well, whereas states such as North and South Dakota, Iowa, Wyoming, Nebraska, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Kansas are seeing high growth in daily cases and high infection rates.
How will COVID-19 play out in Arizona? I’m not going to guess. We have seen trends reverse themselves abruptly and dramatically. Cases in Arizona have been accelerating despite far more people wearing masks (compared to the spring and summer). The influx of “snowbirds” from states with much faster growth in cases could kick up our own numbers drastically. The coming vaccines – and better treatments than we had in the last peak – could hold down the growth in deaths.
At Alcor, we continue to take precautions. Some staff are working entirely from home; others in part. We are still not giving in-person tours, having replaced them with filmed “virtual tours”. Fortunately, we haven’t had a cryopreservation in months, so haven’t had to worry about airplane travel.
Stay safe. And contact Alcor’s Medical Response Director if you have any serious medical issue, COVID-related or otherwise.