Discover more from De Civitate
Covid Weather Report for Minnesota: 13 July 2020
In Minnesota, covid is still in a valley, not a peak, but there are growing signs of a second wave. Fortunately, the new wave is coming much more slowly than the last one, and it may still dissipate before developing into much of anything. Minnesota is by no means in the dire straits that some Southern states are currently in, nor is it likely to find itself in the even-more-dire straits that some of the Northeastern states experienced in April and May.
Continue enjoying your summer safely, with an emphasis on outdoor activities and small gatherings -- but begin mentally preparing for a possible shift back toward a more restrictive outlook.
A mask mandate is probably coming from Gov. Walz, and that's probably good.
As last week, case counts continue to trend upward, but remain far below April/May peaks. This data lags by (in this case) six days.
As I state every week, my daily estimate of “actual new cases” is derived by taking the current 7-day average positivity rate, dividing it by 2% to yield a multiplication factor (minimum 1.0), and multiplying the officially reported non-LTC cases by that factor. This is crude enough that, when positivity is significantly above 2%, the precise numbers may be way off… but accurate enough for us to trust the trendline.
The trendline is currently heading up after several weeks of steep decline, and that is bumming me out. On the graph, it doesn't look like much, because the April/May peak was so much higher... but my estimate indicates that Minnesota's case count bottomed out three weeks ago, on June 21st, and that the number of cases jumped 50% between June 24th and July 1st. That's slower than the extremely fast spread we saw in late April... but, if we keep on this pace, we'll get back to May/April peaks in fairly short order. Hopefully we won't.
Here is the raw data I use to build this estimate:
I take great comfort from the fact that test positivity rates are still holding under 4%. The ideal is 2%, but 5% is the WHO's official guideline. That means, even though covid is spreading faster again in Minnesota, it's likely we're still catching the majority of our covid cases. States like Arizona, with positivity rate over 25%, are likely catching fewer than 1-in-20 of their actual cases -- which makes their high reported case loads all the more alarming.
Unfortunately, this is probably the last week we'll be able to say that. Preliminary data for July 7th-July 12th is not included in these charts, because it's preliminary... but I can already see that test positivity is going to be over 4% on at least two days next week. That means there will be a bigger gap between "officially reported" new cases and actual new cases.
Good news, though: hospitalizations are still flat, as they have been for nearly a month. Unfortunately, there are indications in the Southern states currently experiencing an outbreak that more cases is likely to lead to more hospitalizations, so we may see this number tick up in the next week or two -- but we haven't yet, and I'll take that win.
This data is current as of yesterday at 4 PM:
Deaths, happily, continue to trend downward. This still appears to be simply because we've had fewer cases. Now that cases are going back up, we should watch out for deaths ticking up in 2-3 weeks... but, hopefully, the uptick will be just as slow as the growth in cases.
All data is either directly from here or derived from data from here: Minnesota Department of Health: Situation Update for Covid-19 . I went into a little more detail on some of these data in my post Covid Isn't Killing Minnesotans Like It "Should" a few weeks ago.
Reminder: I break these out between long-term care (LTC) and non-LTC residents where possible. Furthermore, I focus on non-LTC because most of the people reading this are not LTC residents, and most of my advice is not applicable to them.