Most contagious places in the US!

As of July 9th 2020.


Here is a truly shocking league table. It shows the estimate number of people who are contagious – expressed in per million terms. It’s calculated by looking at the number of people diagnosed over the last 2 weeks – and assumes a 2 week contagious period for those people. After the 2 weeks – they are assumed to be “coping” with COVID – but no longer contagious. For sure the data under-reports the contagious population as not everyone can get a test, or some may be waiting for test results, or some may be asymptomatic and not tested. Anyhow – here is the data.

Not suprisingly Arizona is the highest. If you were to come into contact with 1 million people – more than 6,000 of them would be confirmed to be tested positive. [Can we assume those tested positive are isolating? Probably not.] Lets put that into numbers we can relate to – it’s about 0.6% – or close to 1%. So 1 in every 100 people you meet in Arizona could be confirmed positive. Likely the number is much higher due to the under-reporting mentioned above.

Now – lets look at the worst 20 counties in America – expressed in the same terms. Unfortunately my home county makes the list!

StateCounty Contagious per million 
ArizonaYuma          11,133
TexasNueces          10,381
CaliforniaImperial          10,021
FloridaMiami-Dade            9,483
South CarolinaCharleston            9,329
LouisianaCalcasieu            8,155
TexasGalveston            7,754
ArizonaMaricopa            7,477
South CarolinaHorry            7,408
FloridaDuval            7,159
TexasMcLennan            7,069
ArizonaNavajo            7,059
TexasJefferson            6,742
GeorgiaWhitfield            6,623
TennesseeDavidson            6,575
FloridaBroward            6,033
FloridaHillsborough            5,875
LouisianaLafayette            5,855
GeorgiaBibb            5,628
GeorgiaLowndes            5,587

This does not bode well for school reopenings in these states. Already the mayor of Nashville (Davidson county) has said schools will not reopen in August for in person learning.

For the top states, and top counties – more hard measures need to be taken to reduce the spread.

Here’s another worrying datapoint – hospital capacity. Using the assumptions of NY (that 15% of current caseload requires hospitalization) – that would result in about 12,000 beds needed in Arizona just for COVID. From the data source I get on the web – that puts hospital capacity utilization at 91%. I.e. very limited capacity for additional cases. Add in the media reporting of limited testing capacity in Arizona and images of people queuing for testing in the early hours of the morning- and it’s possible to predict worse news on the horizon.

Hospital capacity is better in Florida. Florida has 4x the number of hospital beds as Arizona – and by my calculation is within 50% capacity utilization at this time.

A final comment – Arizona has 15x the level of contagious people – per million than New York. Isn’t that a sobering thought. The Arizona governor thinks limiting restaurants to 50% is his solution! Not by a long shot! There’s a future case study in here of how not to handle a pandemic.

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