This website is intended as a reference to track US regional trends in COVID-19 cases and deaths. This website does not curate the data, only reports what others are gathering. If you think there are problems with the data themselves, please route feedback to the appropriate source. If you have a question about the graphs or a suggested change in the representation of the data, then feel free to email me.
Before looking at the graphs, please read this one HUGE caution
By that, I mean that the data are not reality in the sense that most people want. They do not tell us the actual number of cases and deaths per day due to COVID-19. They are a super-dirty, extremely-noisy, very-wrong, best attempts at measuring cases. These data come from various sources, but primarily the Departments of Health for the relevant states. There inevitably are missed cases, lags in reporting, etc, etc. For example as of the day I am writing this, the Texas DSHS reports that there are 352 COVID-19 cases in Texas, while a local news organization is reporting 826 cases. The difference comes from how cases are reported, the timeliness of updates, and the sources the news organization are drawing rom. Let this serve as an example that for every data point on the graphs below, there is untold variability that the graphs do not capture. To be safe, for now assume the case numbers and deaths are wild underestimates. As the US improves its testing capabilities, I expect these numbers to be somewhat more reliable. That being said, it is also amazing we have this caliber of data at all, even if there is inevitable noise. The people aggregating these numbers are doing an incredible job and have played an important role in managing the crisis!
If the data are so dirty, then what good is this website?
The utility I hope you take from this report is in looking at trends and comparisons to other states or counties. Basically, at some point you want to see the number of new cases per day go down and not up in your state. These long term trends will help people gauge the relative situation in their state compared to states that are known to be doing well or poorly. The first thing lost in the panic of a pandemic is a sense of proportion, and I hope this report give people a clearer picture of what the relevant trends are over time in their region.
Recap - Wrong and Right Statements about these Data
Wrong: “This graph tells me there are X number of cases in my state!” (NO IT DOESN’T!)
Right: “This graph tells me there are X number of reported cases in my state.”
Wrong: “I’m concerned about this change from one day to the next day on this graph!” (TOO SHORT TO DRAW CONLCUSIONS!)
Right: “I’m concerned about this trend I see over several weeks.”
Wrong: “I can extend this line I see out a week or two into future!” (MORE DISTANT FUTURE PREDICTIONS QUICKLY BECOME UNRELIABLE!)
Right: “Perhaps this long term trend tells me something about the next few days.”
Wrong: “I am not an Epidemiologist, but I like number and, I mean, data are data. I’m going to use these graphs and post an explainer on Medium!” (PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE DON’T! (Unless you are indeed an infectious epidemiologist, then by all means go for it.))
Right: “These are interesting pieces of information that help me understand my relative context, but I am still going to listen to federal, state, and local advice about how to respond to COVID-19, and I am NOT going to write an explainer on Medium.”
Second to last disclaimer: I myself have some training in epidemiology but am not an epidemiologist. I make no attempt here to model or predict the course of the pandemic. This is purely a descriptive project from publically available data. I will give a few thoughts below of the highlights of what I see, but I leave it to the readers to draw their own conclusions. And of course, none of this is medical advice. For relevant questions about COVID-19 precautions, testing, and treatment, contact your state or local health department.
Last disclaimer: This website was last updated at 10:23 07-11-2020. I intend to update it daily. I also hope to continue to expand this website with more states and counties as time permits.
With that, I wish you happy and cautious data gazing!
Mark Zobeck MD, MPH