After a slow start, the US has made good progress in the last couple of months against the COVID-19 pandemic. Confirmed case counts per day have declined to 20,000 after peaking near 35,000 in early April (brown squares against the left axis in the figure below).
Over the same time period, the number of tests conducted per day increased from 100,000 to near 500,000 now (brown squares against the left axis in the figure below). The percent of tests that yielded positive results has declined from 24% to below 5% over the same time period (blue diamonds plotted against the right axis in the figure below). At this rate, the country as a whole may finally control the virus by August.
However, the country needs to remain vigilant as the virus can and has the ability to re-emerge in many hotspots. Much of the national progress over the last two months has been due to the ability of the governors to control the global epicenter that emerged in March in metro-NYC. The daily case count after removing those from New York and New Jersey shows that for the rest of the country the infection has not peaked but just plateaued – thus still a dangerous mix of smoldering fires and emerging hotspots (see figure below where the smoothed line is the 7-day rolling average).
For the 3 largest states in the US: California, Texas, and Florida that account for near 25% of the US population the virus is increasing with R-values greater than 1. Actually according to one modeler, CMMID, R, reproduction number, for the US as a whole, has now re-emerged above 1 after all the states reopened to some extent in May. Some of this increase in daily case count was expected due to increased testing revealing more of the mildly symptomatic and asymptomatic cases, and it has positively improved the US case fatality rate from above 6% to below 6% (see the first figure above where the blue diamonds are plotted against the right axis scaled to 6% of the case count). It is nevertheless, concerning that the infection is still growing in large parts of the US with the US reopening more every day. Recent massive demonstrations against racial injustice are sure to exacerbate the pandemic. All demonstrators should get tested and testing and contact tracing capacity must increase further in the US to give us a chance to contain the pandemic.