California is experiencing a surge in coronavirus cases unlike it has seen during the pandemic.
But is the Golden State in the same, dire situation as Florida, Arizona and other states where the virus is spreading rapidly? Let’s take a look at the numbers.
Confirmed cases: New cases slowed slightly in California on Wednesday, as county health departments reported 6,874 positive tests, shy of daily records set Monday and Tuesday but higher than any day prior to that, in addition to 81 more fatalities. The state’s total case count is now 237,661 and the death toll has reached 6,165.
Texas and Arizona have set new case records each of the past two days, while Florida’s surge last week remains unmatched nationwide, though its numbers this week are slightly lower.
Over the past seven days, California is averaging 6,033 new cases per day, its highest point of the pandemic. That’s about the same as Texas, which has reported an average of 6,020 new cases, but Florida is reporting the most new cases per day this week: 6,251. Arizona has seen a meaningful increase in cases, but its daily average is still well shy of the previous three states: it has added 3,445 new cases per day this week.
No other state comes close to these four in the number of cases over the past week, but that doesn’t tell the whole story.
Per-capita: California is the most populous state in the country, home to some 40 million beachgoers, alpine skiers and everything in between. So it makes sense that only New York — the first epicenter of the virus in the U.S. — has reported more overall cases.
And yet, Texas — a state with 25% fewer people — is matching California in new cases and cases in Florida — with half the population — are spiking even higher.
Only two states in the country earned the “high risk” designation from Harvard’s Global Health Institute. They look at the number of new cases over the past seven days per 100,000 residents. By that metric, Arizona and Florida are suffering the worst current outbreaks, with 39.1 and 30.7 daily new cases per 100,000, respectively. California and Texas, with their higher populations, fare better with respective per-capita infection rates of 13.6 and 18.8 per 100,000. Both rank among the 14 states with the second-highest risk designation.
It’s also worth noting that different parts of each state can suffer more or less severe outbreaks. The Bay Area, for example, has staved off the worst of the virus. It is averaging about 7.25 new cases per-capita, even as outbreaks begin to surge in the region, compared to Los Angeles County, where 22.9 of every 100,000 residents per day tested positive over the past week.
According to the Harvard scientists, Imperial County is the only county in California that meets the high-risk designation of at least 25 cases per day per 100,000 residents for the past week. In Texas, there are 30 counties deemed “high risk.” In Florida, there are 29. And in Arizona, 10 counties meet that mark.
A number of other mostly southern states have test-positivity rates and per-capita infection rates higher than California’s.
New daily cases per 1,000 residents (past 7 days)
- Arizona – 39.1
- Florida – 30.7
- South Carolina – 24.7
- Louisiana – 21.0
- Mississippi – 20.5
- Nevada – 20.0
- Arkansas – 19.8
- Alabama – 19.6
- Texas – 18.8
- Georgia – 18.7
- Utah – 16.7
- California – 13.6
- Tennessee – 13.5
- North Carolina – 13.5
- Iowa – 12.2
- Idaho – 12.0
Percent positive (past 7 days)
- Arizona – 24%
- Florida – 16%
- Nevada – 14.9%
- Texas – 14.4%
- South Carolina – 14%
- Mississippi – 13.9%
- Georgia – 13.3%
- Idaho – 13%
- Alabama – 12.5%
- Utah – 10.2%
- Kansas – 9.4%
- Arkansas – 8.9%
- Tennessee – 8.1%
- Louisiana – 7.4%
- South Dakota – 6.9%
- Iowa – 6.9%
- North Carolina – 6.8%
- Wyoming – 6.6%
- California – 6.4%
Hospitalizations: Just as cases are spread disparately, so follow hospitalizations, meaning some hospitals are at or near capacity, while others have plenty of beds available. In the Bay Area, some hospitals have begun to accept patients transfers from counties like Imperial, causing their overall numbers to inflate.
In California, COVID-19 patients are taking up about 7% of the state’s total hospital beds — 5,047 on Wednesday — not counting the additional 50,000 or so surge beds that the state has at the ready. It currently has more than double the amount of ICU beds available (3,580) than are currently in use (1,613). But in Riverside and Los Angeles counties, their ICUs are nearly full.
The same disparity can be found in Texas, where hospitals in the Houston area are nearing or already at capacity. In nine counties encompassing the Houston metro area, hospitals were 83% full Wednesday with only 10 ICU beds available. In northeast Texas, 43% of its hospital beds are in use with 92 ICU beds available. Statewide, there were 13,000 hospital beds and 1,322 ICU beds available Wednesday.
In Arizona on Wednesday, 89% of ICU beds and 86% of all hospital beds were full. There, the number of patients hospitalized with COVID-19 had nearly doubled in the past two weeks, from 1,582 on June 16 to 2,876 on Tuesday, while its ICU patients were up 33% over the same period. In California, hospitalizations are up 64% in that time.
Until this week, Florida had not reported hospital data, despite health experts calling that one key metric to tracking progressing in containing the virus. As of Wednesday, there were 14,825 Floridians hospitalized with COVID-19 — nearly three times more than California. Texas also has more patients hospitalized than California, reporting 6,904 patients in hospital beds Wednesday.
Testing: None of Arizona, Florida or Texas is testing more people or at a higher per-capita rate than California. But the percent to come back positive in those states is considerably higher than in California, where 6% of its tests have been positive over the past week.
Arizona’s positivity-rate is an eye-popping 24%, easily the highest in the nation. It also has only reported one day of more than 20,000 total tests. Florida and Texas are testing more people, but still well short of California, which has conducted nearly 95,000 tests per day over the past week. In Florida, 16% of the average 44,570 tests per day are coming back positive, while Texas is performing 41,670 tests per day with 14.4% coming back positive.
California is testing 2.4 of every 1,000 residents each day, the ninth-highest per-capita rate in the country. In Florida, that number is 2.1 per 1,000; in Arizona: 2.0; and in Texas: 1.4 per 1,000 residents.
Deaths: California experienced its deadliest day in nearly a month on Tuesday but has yet to see a spike in mortality commensurate with the rise in cases. The same has been true for Texas, where the death toll crossed 2,500 with another 52 deaths reported Wednesday, and Florida, where 45 fatalities Wednesday rose the death toll to more than 3,500. Arizona, a state with a population smaller than the Bay Area (about 7.3 million), reported more deaths Wednesday than all of California, 88 to 81.
Source: Orange County Register