The Corner

Coronavirus Update

Coronavirus Update: Cases Slowing as Economic News Worsens

A medical staff member rests leaning against a wall in an intensive care unit, where patients suffering from the coronavirus are treated, at the Santa Maria hospital in Lisbon, Portugal. April 9, 2020. = (Rafael Marchante/Reuters)

More than 430,000 cases of coronavirus have been confirmed in the U.S., with the death toll nearing 15,000. However, the growth rate in new cases continues to decline across states, and the CDC found that 90 percent of hospitalized patients had at least one preexisting condition.

As the medical news improves, the economic news grows more dire. 6.6 million people filed for unemployment benefits last week, bringing the total over the past three weeks to approximately 16 million. The Federal Reserve expanded lending programs to small business and municipalities this morning to combat the economic fallout.

Graph: Daniel Tenreiro
Data: COVID Tracking Project

Declining growth rates in new cases indicate that we’ve avoided the worst-case outcomes in the U.S. The table below shows the average daily growth rate in new cases over the past five days and the change in that growth rate from five days prior. The negative percentages in the right-hand column reflect decreases in the growth rate across all the hardest-hit states.

Table: Daniel Tenreiro
Data: COVID Tracking Project

Testing increased slightly yesterday, but is still below the high of 180,000. By some estimates, the U.S. will need to administer 2 million tests a day to roll back social-distancing measures. We’ll be watching testing data closely this week to see how quickly the U.S. can move to the “test-and-trace” strategy used by South Korea.

Graph: Daniel Tenreiro
Data: COVID Tracking Project

Across states, testing disparities persist, with Michigan and California dramatically lagging other states with large outbreaks.

Graph: Daniel Tenreiro
Data: COVID Tracking Project

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