Newly Identified COVID-19 Cases Are Falling in Sunbelt States Where They Spiked This Summer

The trend means we should see declining daily deaths in the coming weeks.


The summer surge in COVID-19 infections reported by several Sunbelt states, which has driven a nationwide rise in cases and deaths, seems to be subsiding. Recent data indicate that daily new cases, after rising dramatically in June and July, are either declining or leveling off in Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, and Texas.

According to Worldometer's tallies, which are based on numbers from state and local health departments, the seven-day average of newly reported infections in Arizona fell from a peak of nearly 3,700 on July 7 to less than 2,000 yesterday. Three other Sunbelt states also have seen substantial declines in their seven-day averages: from about 10,300 on July 25 to about 6,700 on August 5 in California*; from about 11,900 on July 17 to about 7,300 on August 5 in Florida; and from about 10,100 on July 15 to about 8,300 on August 5 in Texas. In Georgia, meanwhile, the seven-day average peaked around 3,700 on July 24 and has since fallen slightly to about 3,300 as of yesterday.

Consistent with those trends, independent data scientist Youyang Gu's model shows the COVID-19 reproductive number—the number of people infected by the average carrier—falling below one in Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, and Texas. A reproductive number of less than one indicates a waning epidemic.

Lockdown supporters might surmise that increased government restrictions on social and economic activity explain these positive trends. Florida and Texas, for example, ordered bars to close on June 26 after allowing them to reopen on June 3 and May 22, respectively. Texas Gov. Gregg Abbott also reduced the number of customers restaurants are allowed to serve from 75 percent to 50 percent of capacity. In California, Gov. Gavin Newsom closed bars, zoos, and museums on July 13, when he also banned indoor dining in restaurants.

It is certainly plausible that limiting the options for people to get together, especially indoors in close quarters, would reduce virus transmission. But it is difficult to disentangle the impact of government mandates from the impact of increased voluntary precautions, both of which can be expected in response to spikes in cases.

According to the current "best estimate" from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 40 percent of people infected by the COVID-19 virus do not develop symptoms. But among those who do, the CDC says, symptoms generally appear after about five days, although the lag can be as short as two days or as long as 14. Keeping in mind the typical delay between infection and symptoms that might motivate people to seek testing, the downward trends in California, Florida, and Texas, which began two to three weeks after the new rules were imposed, do not fit very well with the hypothesis that government restrictions are driving the decreases. And neither Arizona, where the seven-day average of daily new cases fell by 46 percent from July 7 to August 5, nor Georgia, where cases have declined slightly since late July, imposed new restrictions in response to rising infections.

What about face masks? Newsom imposed a statewide mandate in California on June 18, followed by Abbott in Texas on July 2. But Arizona, Florida, and Georgia have no such rules, although some local governments in those states require face masks in public places. And here, too, it is hard to tell how much impact government policy has, independent of voluntary steps taken by businesses and individuals.

If Californians and Texans are more inclined to wear masks now than they were in June and early July, is that because more businesses are requiring them, because the surge in cases made people more cautious, or because the governor made face coverings mandatory? The timing of the downward trends in California and Texas, which began more than a month after Newsom's mask mandate and two weeks after Abbott's, casts doubt on those orders' effectiveness.

The seven-day average of COVID-19 fatalities has continued to rise in all of these states, as you would expect based on the typical lag between laboratory confirmation and death—about two weeks, per the CDC. But by the same token, the recent declines in newly identified cases should mean fewer deaths in the coming weeks than we otherwise would have seen, which is (relatively) good news. Gu's projections show daily deaths declining in all five states during the next few months.

Daily new cases are also falling nationally, from a seven-day average of about 69,200 on July 25 to less than 60,000 on August 4, while the seven-day average of daily deaths may be leveling off. Gu, who has a good track record of predicting COVID-19 fatalities, is projecting that daily deaths in the United States will decline gradually during the next few months, from about 1,400 on August 4 to about 530 on November 1. He projects a total U.S. death toll of about 227,000 by then, up from about 157,000 yesterday.

*Update: A technical glitch may have made the decline in California's cases look larger than it actually is. The Sacramento Bee reports that the error, which probably began affecting case totals "around last Friday," led to "significant" undercounting, although exactly how significant is unclear. Citing California Health and Human Services Secretary Mark Ghaly, the Bee says "the one- and two-week figures are affected by the recent technical issue to an extent but remain more accurate depictions of COVID-19 activity than single-day totals."

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  1. Sun Belt states also have a later flu season than northern states… hmmm…

    1. Flu? What flu?
      The flu was never enough of a danger to shut down the entire economy.
      But somehow the Communist Chinese Virus was all the fascists needed.
      And we all rolled over.
      Welcome to the revolution; we lost.

      1. It was in 1919. Now we have vaccines. Also, the symptoms and death rate are different. So, not really like COVID at all.

        1. Tony continuing to prove how little he understands of science. Even the flu vaccine isn’t a true vaccine but a guess at this year’s prominent strain. They are wrong often.

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          2. So is that the kind of vaccine we have for covid?

            1. The point is that we’ve never been able to get rid of an influenza virus and we probably can’t get rid of this one either (coronavirus vaccines have been even less successful than flu ones). The reason 1918 was especially bad had nothing to do with vaccines not being available.

      2. Our resident pants-shitters are in the house, Crystal balls and all.

    2. When is flu season in Sun Belt – January or so?

      1. Where have you been chicken little? About a month since you predicted widespread death in the sun belt. Bodies everywhere. You must be so disappointed.

        But you misread my comment, as usual. I said it followed the same pattern, not the exact same temporal match.

        1. You still have no clue what’s going to happen this fall and winter.

          Yeah the AZ case load didn’t hit the medical capacity. Some of which I didn’t expect and learned a bit from the younger demographic (which obviously wasn’t the same as the April one) – but OTOH you didn’t provide one iota of local info how it was addressed that might have been useful. Shame really. You really do view it as purely politicized and that’s just pointless .I’ve lost all interest in Covid19 here in the US. Whatever will happen will happen when it happens. There is no possible learning that can happen now.

          1. There is no possible learning that can happen now.
            Well, maybe not by you anyway.

          2. Whatever will happen will happen when it happens.

            I think that is kind of what people should be learning. The virus doesn’t seem to care much what people do. It comes, it peaks and it tapers off.

            1. Precisely.
              This talk of it being “out of control” here or there is laughable. It’s a virus. It’s always out of control. Sometimes it does things people regard as positive, like kill less people, and they think they have it under control. It’s an illusion. Hong Kong had it “under control” after the initial burst of cases from China subsided, and for a while it looked like it was gone. Then, at the same time that we had the surge in cases in the US, they got a surge that was bigger than their original one. Under control? Hardly. It was just that people liked what it was doing on its own at the time, not really that any human being had controlled it.

              The places like NY and Italy that the talking heads keep saying have it under control have already taken the hit and let it run its course (as if they had any other option). The places that surged and are in decline now were largely spared by the first wave, and now it is running its course there.

              The most we can do as humans is delay the inevitable. That’s what Hong Kong did, to their later dismay. If we would give up this fantasy world idea that we can control something like this, we can let it run its course and be done with it. But no, we have to try to keep it going forever, and all the while they’re telling us if we do enough things to slow it down, we’ll get through it faster, because slowing down gets you to where you want to go quicker (that’s why you always get to work early when there are traffic jams!)

              it’s a good thing that masks don’t actually limit its spread of respiratory viruses like COVID, and probably actually accelerate the transmission a bit, though the rise in non-COVID respiratory infections they cause directly (which invariably will be recorded as COVID) are certainly not a good thing. At least the masks are not slowing our advance toward herd immunity. We’re not doing it with our civil rights intact like the Swedes, but we’re going to get there too, despite the best efforts of our governors, mayors, and county government officials.

              If we should happen to receive a vaccine that is actually safe and at least somewhat effective during this time, all the better… but given how coronavirus vaccine development has been in the past, we have to act as if there will never be one until the moment that there is one. That’s why herd immunity the old fashioned way is the only true end to this. Anything else is just borrowing money to pay the credit card bills.

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    3. Georgia has been “open” for months. And by “open” I mean most businesses never shutdown nor restrict people. Georgians partied, did business, and got together. I dont wear a mask nor do many Georgians.

      We have people from all over the USA come to Georgia. I see vehicle tags from all over.

      Georgia has 4,000 while infected deaths as of today.

      The MSM are liars and this Kungflu hysteria is just another example.

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    Oh good, now the scientific literature is getting corrupted too; apparently the “evidence bar” for models that claim lockdowns work is not the same as for those claiming we are approaching herd immunity.

    1. And that’s being rather diplomatic about it. The actual quote explicitly states that the motivation for disclosing such information isn’t more or less sufficient data but concerns about public safety.

    2. That’s one of the most fucked up things happening here. Not only the press, but now apparently scientific journals have decided that their job isn’t to inform and provide the best information, but rather to propagandize for the official line. Disgusting.

  3. I spiked your mom this summer.

    1. I hope you wore a mask.

  4. >>Recent data indicate that daily new cases, after rising dramatically in June and July

    after being inflated and lied about in June and July.

  5. Due to typical American stupidity combined with typical Republican incompetence and evil, combined with totally unhelpful screeching about freedumb from you guys, we have the objectively worst response in the world. Restrictions go into place, cases go down, and we reopen again too early, and cases go up. This could and will go on indefinitely until we become willing to bite a bullet or two.

    “Maybe it was all voluntary!” Yeah we’ve seen the limits of that. It’s like charity for public services.
    If it were adequate, it would have proven adequate. You cannot seriously believe that human beings acting without guidance or full knowledge will collectively behave in the necessary way to fix the problem.

    Maybe you have to sacrifice your theories about how societies work in order to stop the carnage. It’s a small price to pay. Your theories were always shit anyway. Stop killing people with them.

    1. Only government knows what is best.

    2. So your proof is that in cases that flattened the curve… cases took longer to come about which was why we flattened the curve… so case counts didn’t spike… and now that’s a bad thing…

      Nope. Consistent.

      1. What are you even blabbering about? My proof that our approach isn’t working is all the dead people.

        1. Would that be our Deaths per Capita? Which is lower than Belgium, UK, Spain, Italy, and Sweden? Or our Deaths per Case (mortality rate) which is lower than UK, Italy, Belgium, Francy, Netherlands, Spain, Canada, Sweden, Ireland, Switzerland, Finland, Germany, Denmark, Greece, Poland, and Portugal?

          1. I find it most instructive to examine new daily cases, since the point is to figure out which approaches worked and which didn’t. Everyone stumbled at the beginning and there was a lot of death everywhere. We chose a course of action. Actually, Trump chose it for you. You don’t continue going along with it because the evidence suggests that or because you’re fulfilling some principle that’s worth sacrificing lives over. You’re doing it because Trump told you to.

            1. Strange, I thought the State Governors choose it for me. Because last I checked, Trump has zero power to impose anything at the state level. Or are you saying Trump can in fact order the states to open up?

              1. And, because I forgot…

                Comparing pure raw cases without accounting for Population is ludicrous. The US is not equivalent to New Zealand. Some scaling factor must be used to account for the vast differences between countries. Also, even if we were to look at just the raw numbers, your “us is an outlier claim” is still incorrect given Brazil and India.

            2. Cases are irrelevant. The only reason we even care about this virus at all is the deaths, and those are exaggerated. Deaths going way down, that’s the real story. The only story.

              Federally, we had a fantastic response to the virus. On a state level, it was pure crap from most states, particularly New York.

      2. Exactly. They are pretending flat curves will NEVER see a peak, which was always crazy. We expected a later, less-extreme peak — which is exactly what we see.

        1. America is the outlier here and there is no explanation for it other than our bad policies. What makes them bad? It’s not that they were too restrictive.

          1. “America is the outlier here and there is no explanation for it other than our bad policies.”

            We should have locked-down nothing at all. Period.

          2. Except for all the other southern countries that are also having outbreaks? The virus is going to go where it hasn’t been yet. Everybody understood this in March. 15 days to flatten the curve and spread out the inevitable infections.

          3. America is the outlier here

            The US ranks #10 in deaths per capita and somewhere in the 50s for mortality rate.

            1. And the states where the left is firmly in control are making us #10.

          4. That’s a load of shit. As Europe reopens, they see increases in cases as well.
            Only caring about numbers of infections is stupid. There is another side to this. Far more people have been harmed by the government response than the virus.

          5. It very much is that they were far, far too restrictive. No stay at home orders, no forced closures of businesses, no mask rules, no prohibitions of parties or social gatherings, no any of that. It’s not the government’s role. Any state, county, or city government that did any of the above did a terrible job, and none of the people who favored any of it are in any way fit for public service. They shirked their duty to protect the liberty of their constituents, and that is unforgivable.

    3. OK. I am buying this is the real Tony. This is full on drama queen.

      Now do: ‘Soylent green is people!’

      I will get some popcorn.

    4. consistently entertained by you.

    5. New fun game. Replace all capitalized nouns with “Tony”. It’s a lark

      1. I do not “tweet.”

    6. Someone needs a diaper change.

    7. This could and will go on indefinitely until we become willing to bite a bullet or two.

      Yes. And that bullet biting consists of accepting that people get sick and sometimes die and getting on with life.

      1. See, this is just it. I see all the complaining about Trump and not having a plan and not doing things the “right” way. Yet, no one actually explains what that right way is. No one explains what the plan should actually be.

        And when challenged, I hear, “just follow the science.” But what science? The science on this is changing all the time and the experts’ opinions along with it.

        We have reached a point of idiocy that is common with humans. When there is no solution or “right” answer, we freak out, we condemn, we demand others do “something,” and we pretend like there was a way to have solved it, but for some reason it was just never employed.

        But after damn near 6 months of this continued bitching and complaining, enough is enough. I think we need to accept “that people get sick and sometimes die and getting on with life.”

  6. “Gu, who has a good track record of predicting COVID-19 fatalities, is projecting that daily deaths in the United States will decline gradually during the next few months, from about 1,400 on August 4 to about 530 on November 1.”

    For the record, I’m predicting it falls below 300 before November 1st. I don’t believe this virus cares one wit about the lockdowns/masks. It runs a cyclical course, progressively causing less deaths each cycle. Let’s see if I get quoted as some great prognosticator after my prediction comes true.

    1. So his estimates are 200k dead that died with covid with a big overlap of high risk people who would have died due to something else…

      Given the 2.8 million that die every year….


      1. Given the 2.8 million that die every year….


        Or, based on my previous comment, start harvesting a highly renewable source of protein?

        1. White meat vs dark meat would become too controversial.

    2. Man, I hope you are right. If people have actually managed to extend the time of the pandemic significantly, that would really suck.

    3. And you’ve based that on all the clinical gazing you’ve done at your navel.

  7. I was promised we’d have over 100,000 new daily cases at some point. When did that happen?

    1. June 31

  8. The shutdowns were to “flatten the curve”. These idiot scientist could not foresee a spike when reopening economies? Where did they get their degrees, the back pages of Mad Magazine?

    1. Back pages of Mad Magazine? You give them too much credit.

  9. Well, who woulda thunk it? This virus behaves like all the other respiratory viruses ever. Infections go up, then they go down. Then the epidemic is over and it fades into the background. Yet people are determined not to have the last part happen for some reason I cannot fathom.

    1. Joe Biden needs to hide out until the election. If he goes on the campaign trail or goes into debates, the people will see he’s unfit to be president.

      At the VERY least he needs to pick a VP who will step into the role when he steps down.

    2. You know why, at least until November.

    3. It’s a very typical, garden variety respiratory virus. It’s very much like the others. It was always rather mystifying how the powers that be claimed it was a novel virus (it was) that they knew little about (they didn’t), but that they were damned sure it did not spread by aerosol, like all the other respiratory viruses do. Masks, of course, do not do a thing to stop aerosol viruses, which is why the initial advice from everybody from the WHO to the CDC to Fauci himself said that masks are of no use to regular people. We’d had enough experience studying respiratory viruses to know that.

      Then, of course, we got the cock and bull story about how Fauci personally made up the world’s long established medical opinion on the matter, from well before we knew about COVID, in order to alleviate the mask shortage caused by COVID, even though at that time he had advised us to use improvised masks made of whatever cloth we could find, and whatever cloth we could find was never in short supply, nor would our ability to get ahold of random bits of cloth ever have any bearing on what doctors and nurses could get ahold of.

      And people believed Fauci’s “I lied” story. Unbelievable, that.

  10. Fewer people at the mass protests now.
    Plus everyone the mostly peaceful protestors hang out with have been exposed by now.

  11. Interesting article.

    As soon as a patient has symptoms, they are treated with hydroxychloroquine tablets and/or favipiravir at home.

    Follow-up calls quickly spot if the symptoms worsen, and then they will be admitted to hospital.

    Once at the hospital, Dr Yiyit says the treatment is increased and combined with high-flow oxygen treatment, anti-coagulants, steroids, vitamins and more high-dose favipiravir or hydroxychloroquine.

    Most patients leave within days.

    Seems like the Turkey strategy involves trying to find patients early and then treating them with HCQ or that other one. If they catch it late they treat it like most other acute respiratory diseases. It’s complete bullshit that the HCQ route is being suppressed in the west.

  12. Holy crap it’s like the virus has a natural curve and we can’t actually stop it, only slow it down!

    Everybody understood this in March, until Joe Biden needed them to forget.

    1. Except for the fact that the entire rest of the civilized world has done exponentially better than the US. How can we possibly know what to do?! There are no other countries and thus no evidence about it, thus Trump is a genuous!

      1. “the entire rest of the civilized world has done exponentially better than the US”

        The US ranks #10 in deaths per capita and somewhere in the 50s for mortality rate. Deaths in Europe peaked at about 3800 per DAY and currently stand at over 180k.

        1. When you put all rich countries on a chart, all of them have flattened to near zero new cases with two exceptions: the US (way off-the-charts more) and Sweden.

          So the question is how much longer are we going to do it your way before you admit it was the wrong approach?


          2. Have you looked at Japan lately or are they not “Wealthy enough” for you?

            What was the wrong approach? Not flattening the curve like Europe? That was a great way to increase the herd immunity and have fewer cases later on.

            The US is not a Dictatorship. The President does not have supreme control. How long until you actual admit The President is not an all-powerful position? The Governors are the ones who have the power. How do you account for California being just as bad as Florida? What do you want to change and why hasn’t California done it? Why hasn’t New York managed to stamp it out entirely?

          3. Sweden has been near zero new cases for like a month….what the hell are you talking about?

          4. We need to wait another year at least to know. What happens this fall and winter will be important. If the countries that did “well” are lucky, their measures were ineffective enough that there won’t be another big spike. If they were effective, they will see much bigger problems than Sweden or the US.

          5. Oh, it was certainly the wrong approach. We should have done what Sweden did.

        2. That just means the lockdowns and mask mandates are working! Heads chicken little wins, tails you lose!

      2. Tony
        August.6.2020 at 7:13 pm
        “Except for the fact that the entire rest of the civilized world has done exponentially better than the US…”

        You’ve been peddling this steaming pile of shit for at least a week, hoping it supports your desire for your mommy to tell you and everybody else what to do, but you have yet to offer any evidence at all that it’s true.
        And I’m quite sure you can’t; as a lefty ignoramus, you haven’t the least chance to show, by actual data, that your claim is correct. That is far beyond you mental capabilities, even during the rare times you’re sober.
        Fuck off and die, shitstain

      3. “…the entire rest of the civilized world has done exponentially better than the US…”

        Pretty sure you have not the least concept of what the term “exponentially” means.

        1. Damn you Sevo, beat me to it by 30 minutes. Doesn’t really matter, Tony and JFree are too busy changing their tighty-whiteys to notice.

      4. Not only do you obviously not know what “exponentially” means, but despite that, you still get it exactly backwards.

  13. Yep first place I go for scientific information is a journalist with undergrad degrees in economics and psychology. The two easiest softy degrees to get. Took one semester each as easy A too pad my GPA.


    Not worth reading. Quotes newspapers as source materiel.

    1. I’d be ecstatic if they actually had a degree in economics. I think they just get degrees in Journalism now a days.

    2. So you pick CNN? Why is that not surprising?

  14. Check the number of tests per day in these states. The number of cases in AZ is tracking the number of tests, which has been falling. (AZ has strict limitations on who can get a test. You have to virtually qualify for immediate hospital entry to get a test.) The number of deaths has a straight line relationship to cases seen 20 or so days before the date of death. But the correlation is weakening. Number of deaths per day is the only true measure of number of cases.

    1. You sure about that? Pretty certain you can get them on demand in Arizona.

  15. I had an interesting experience today: I’m on my annual two week camping trip with my daughter, and we were on a trail hike where we crossed paths with a mother and her (around) four year old son. The poor kid was so paralyzed with fear by the sight of us that he started shaking uncontrollably and was unable to pull up his stupid face mask, tears, the lot. His mother did that to him. I thought better than to inform her that a for year old is way more likely to die from the seasonal flu than the WuFlu. His mom is the poor kid’s biggest bully.

    1. People are indoctinating their kids. I see it in my son’s Boy Scout troop when certain kids play the role of “social distance/mask” enforcers. Imagine what it will be like if and when school districts attempt to resume school in-person. I keep thinking of the kid in 1984 who calls his father out as a thought criminal.

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  18. When summer ends those college students will not be on summer break partying and spreading Covid as shown by the average age of those that led to the increase. They will be back at home taking classes on computer. By the end of the fall semester there will be multiple treatments and likely a vaccine.

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  20. So this is a problem. The public can not be allowed to think that CV19 is no longer the most dangerous thing in their lifetime. The public has to be fearful that covid death is around every corner if they don’t do anything and everything the government tells them to. If we don’t get those death counts back up to increase the mortality rate people might get the idea they can refuse the vaccine that is being developed. There’s way too much money on the line from a globally mandated vaccine to let something like truth and or reality get in the way. At least California realizes this danger and had begun work on increasing their death counts.

    It may be necessary to get the media to do another marketing push to increase fear and panic .

  21. I doubt cases will fall. They won’t really start rising much until this fall but there are enough reasons to keep assembling in large enough groups this summer so that the ‘natural’ seasonal decline in mortality won’t happen. Just to give one example – at minimum roughly 250,000 bikers will be heading to Sturgis starting today. No social distancing or masks or anything like that. And in ten days they will all ride back home again.

    Will it be the same origin as the Sun Belt stuff in June or so. Of course not – but it’s the sort of spread that happens in an off-season when things are still in pandemic mode. Enough to fill up the hospitals (or at least get close) near everywhere. So that when the actual seasonal uptick in mortality happens, there will be no leeway or lag-time at all before SHTF.

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