Editor's Note: This is a complimentary research note published by Director of Research Daryl Jones on April 28th. CLICK HERE to get daily COVID-19 analysis and alerts from our research team and access our related webcasts.
“Time, time, time, see what’s become of me.
While I looked around for my possibilities,
I was so hard to please.”
- The Bangles, “Hazy Shade of Winter”
- The U.S. saw a spike in new cases over the weekend, which was largely driven by more testing (a positive!). Then yesterday we saw the lowest new case number since late March at just over 23,000. Total cases in the U.S. now sit at 1,016,692, so roughly 1 in every 300 Americans has tested positive for COVID-19.
- The global case count followed a similar pattern and hit an April low of 69,233 yesterday. Currently, just over 3,000,000 people globally have tested positive.
- In Europe the earliest hit countries – Spain, Italy, France, and Germany – continue to see steady improvement and are collectively posting new daily case counts that are on par with mid-March. The U.K. has yet to see a meaningful step down and Russia is still seeing case counts grow day-over-day.
- Globally, we continue to see high daily growth rates across the emerging markets, while Japan and Singapore are seeing moderation.
- We will likely be sending this note out about 2x a week
We have long noted that the U.S. positive test rate remained at a very high level. With the advent of more testing, this positive test rate has started to come down and while there was a commensurate increase in new cases (testing more does that by default) that too has moderated.
As of the most recent data from covidtracking.com, the U.S. has performed 5,628,374 tests, 985,064 positives (17.5% positive test rate), and 50,587 deaths (5.1% morbidity rate on positive tests.
Over the trailing 6 days the number of tests in the U.S. has increased 58% versus the prior 6-day period.
We are starting to crush the curve with testing in the U.S. The best example of that is probably New York State where tests have gone up a lot and positive tests rates have come down meaningfully. The chart below from the state website looks at the past week. NY positive tests are now in the 20 – 25% range, well below their peaks at 40%+
Currently only the following states have a R0 (transmission rate) above 1:
- Nebraska, Wyoming, North Dakota, Indiana, Kansas, Minnesota, Delaware and Iowa
- New York is 0.82 and Michigan leads the country at 0.69
Obviously in the coming weeks tracking the change of caseloads in states that have started opening will provided the best preview of whether we are truly past the initial onslaught of COVID-19
- Shutdown orders expiring on April 30 – Idaho, Nevada, Arizona, Texas, Florida, and Alabama
- Partial re-opening occurred – Montana, Colorado, Minnesota, Tennessee, South Carolina, Mississippi, and Oklahoma
The chart below of Spain is perhaps the best proxy for Western Europe. The Italians underwent a very stringent lockdown, and were hard hit in certain regions, but they have seen a steady decline in caseloads every week. Daily deaths are following a similar path and hitting new lows.
The Italians are approaching the easing of the lockdown at a moderate pace. Small groups will be able to gather on from May 4th onwards, parks, factories and building sites will reopen, but schools will not open until the Fall.
Eastern Europe is on a totally different trajectory as emphasized in the chart below from Russia. While the rate of growth is slowing, Russia, and many Eastern European countries, continue to hit new daily highs in cases.
Even as certain countries lift shutdown orders in Europe, it seems likely that travel between countries remains muted likely until the end of Q2.
The daily new case chart globally parallels the U.S, which it should as the U.S. is 1/3 of global cases, and it appears to be on a new lower stage of daily new cases.
We are also, albeit slowly, getting to the place where new recoveries globally are larger than new cases globally. As the messy chart below shows, the gap between the two data sets has been steadily narrowing.
The caveat to any analysis of global cases must be that many of the highest growing areas globally have the worst reporting and worst testing capabilities, so we really don’t have a strong view of whether the global numbers are “improving”.
Brazil is a great case study of this. Currently, Brazil has 66,501 positive cases and is growing 5 – 7% per day. It also has 4,543 deaths despite more than 1/3 of Brazilian cases coming in the last week. Brazil also has one of the lowest testing ratios of any modern nation. Needless to say, the Brazilian numbers are undoubtedly much higher than is actually reported.
- Interesting article on the challenges facing Brazil