Now that many US countries and states are reopening, authorities are on alert for possible outbreaks. However, according to a study by investment bank J.P. Morgan published yesterday, although some epidemiological models predict a strong rebound in infections due to increased mobility, the situation is different.
“Variation” (differences in susceptibility to infection) may play a role in transmission rates, and Although in general mobility may now increase, social distancing, mass gatherings and hygiene (in particular, as practiced by old and other at-risk populations) may be very different than in March. So instead of modeling what we think might happen, we are monitoring what is really happening now. ”, explains in his work Michael Cembalest, President of Market Strategy and Investment of J.P. Morgan Asset & Wealth Management.
The work explains that while New York and New Jersey were epicenters of infection at the start of the pandemic, spikes in infection rates are now occurring elsewhere. Thus, research determines that a state is “hot” or “epicenter” for two characteristics: the largest one-month increase in new daily infections for every million inhabitants, and states with persistent and increasing infection rates for every million persons.
The study says that “epicenter” states are experiencing an increase in infections, but so far have not seen increases in deaths or hospitalizations. “As a result, death rates in the hardest-hit states are falling rather than rising,” he says. And adds: “The increase in infections in the epicenter states is partly explained by more evidence.”
To analyze the state of the pandemic in the 24 largest states in the US -which represent 82% of the country’s GDP- JP Morgan measured the infection trends of 7 days per million people, current hospitalizations per million inhabitants and current hospital utilization rates.
The charts also include a dotted line to quickly view each state’s reopening date. “We based on the rates of utilization of hospital beds and Intensive Care Units and we used a threshold of 60% for our test of rate of utilization of hospital beds (HBU),” they explained.
“We also look at the impact of increased mobility beyond openings through data obtained by tracking Google’s smartphones, food sales, pharmacies, and traffic, among other variables.” In 16 of the 24 largest states, the contagion curve fell or remained stable. In the other 8 states, Florida, Ohio, Georgia, North Carolina, Tennessee, Arizona, Wisconsin, and Missouri, cases increased.
The 24 largest states in the US: reopening dates, infections and hospitalizations:
The tests have been the subject of controversy for several weeks in the United States due to President Donald Trump’s questions about an alleged excess, which would be behind the increase in infections. White House epidemiologist Anthony Fauci said Tuesday in a congressional hearing that Trump never asked him to stop testing for the coronavirus. “None of us have been told to slow down the testing,” he told a House of Representatives panel about efforts to mitigate the pandemic. “In fact, we will do more testing,” added Fauci. At his side, three other health authorities who advise the White House also answered “no” without hesitation when a legislator asked them if the president had asked them to stop testing.
Trump, who is seeking re-election in November, raised a wave of criticism last week when, at a campaign rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma said tests for Covid-19 are a “double-edged sword,” because the more they are do, more cases are found. “When you do the tests … you will find more people, you will find more cases,” Trump argued. “So I said to my people, ‘Slow down the testing.'”
Later, a White House official told the AFP agency that Trump was joking, which generated even more annoyance among the president’s critics. But on Tuesday, the president insisted that his comments were not a joke. “I’m not kidding,” Trump told reporters before highlighting the United States’ Covid-19 detection system as “the best” in the world, which he said has evaluated 25 million people. “With more evidence, we find more cases,” Trump said, even suggesting that high numbers are a political responsibility during an election year. “Having more cases sounds bad,” he said. “But really what it is is that we are finding cases.”
J.P. Morgan’s study:
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