Last week’s count of Confirmed New Cases of Covid-19 gave us new highs for both a single day and the week– and by no small measures. On Saturday, 1274 confirmed new cases were added to Kentucky’s total. The total for the week (Sunday to Saturday) was greater than 1000 new cases higher than the previous week–which was itself a record high. Monthly new cases continue to rise at a similar pace.
New Cases. The number of new confirmed cases of Covid-19 infection during the week ending September 26, 2020 reached a new high of 4930– presumably unique– individuals. The number of new cases reported to the public continues to vary dramatically day-to-day, but so far, September has given us more days with counts exceeding 800 than all of August (7 vs. 3). The 7- and 14-day rolling averages of new daily cases continue to rise, albeit a little more slowly than since June 1. This likely reflects the success of the degree of adherence to public health measures that Kentucky Citizens have been willing or able to muster. However, with recent 7-day averages ranging between 600 and 700 cases, the aggregate number of cases adds up meaningfully. A simplified plot of Total Cases on the first day of each month since March shows an unrelenting and relatively constant accumulation of cases in which new cases in non-urban counties and in younger people make up higher relative contributions.
As the week ending September 19 closed, hopes that the number of new Covid-19 cases might actually be decreasing were dashed by Saturday’s 978 new reported cases. The week’s total of 4691 unduplicated new cases was only slightly lower than the previous epidemic high of 4887 two weeks before. Occurring 2 weeks after Labor Day and the Kentucky Derby, it is all too easy to attribute the rising cases to the activities of that holiday period.
This had been a pivotal week for the Covid-19 epidemic in Kentucky, but the incomplete and delayed reporting for the days bracketing Labor Day leave us with insufficient information to predict with any confidence the direction Kentucky is going. Beginning with the simultaneous Memorial Day opening of our summer season and relaxing of public health restrictions which accelerated with the July openings of bars, stadiums, and further loosening of public health “recommendations;” Kentucky experienced a (predictable?) surge of cases and deaths that has not yet demonstrably turned the corner. Last week gave us both record or near record numbers of new cases, deaths, and even tests. Below is an abbreviated discussion of the results.
New cases plotted. The bar graph below plots the raw daily count of new cases. The long three-day hiatus in reporting generated corresponding high catch-up reporting days through yesterday. The highly variable daily counts were too much even for the 7-day and 14-day rolling averages to smooth out. It will take another week of data to draw meaningful conclusions about where we are going. The September opening of schools, colleges, and related additional sporting events presents us with additional new challenges, as does the relative explosions of new cases in some non-urban Kentucky counties.