Positive COVID-19 Percentages Declining in Top 3 States Where NY Times Reports Cases Increasing

Nurse Canan Emcan shows a test kit for coronavirus samples at the isolation ward of the Uniklinikum Essen university hospital in Essen, western Germany, on March 9, 2020. - The number of coronavirus cases in Germany has passed 1,000, official data from the Robert Koch Institute disease control centre showed. …

The percentage of positive COVID-19 tests is declining over the past two weeks in California, Texas, and Florida, the top three states where the New York Times said on Wednesday cases are increasing, based on a seven-day rolling average.

The Times reported:

More than 1,990,100 people in the United States have been infected with the coronavirus and at least 112,100 have died, according to a New York Times database. This map shows where the number of new cases is rising and where it is falling in the last 14 days.

Though the number of new deaths has been curving downward, the virus continues to circulate widely within the United States. As states move to partly reopen their economies, thousands of new cases are still being identified each day and true normalcy remains a distant vision. Every day, more beloved events are scrubbed from the calendar. There will be no Mountain Brewers Beer Fest in Idaho, no Paperfest in Wisconsin, no Dragon Boat Bash in Iowa.

These states have had recent growth in newly reported cases over the last 14 days, in part because some have recently ramped up their testing capacity. The White House released criteria for states to reopen based on a “downward trajectory” of cases over the last 14 days, though it did not define how to measure the trajectory. Scales are adjusted for each state to make the curve more readable.

According to the data covering the period between March 1 and June 9 compiled by the Times, 20 states (plus Puerto Rico) have seen an increase in COVID-19 cases over the past 14 days, five states (plus Guam) have “about the same” number of cases, while 25 states have seen a decrease.

Public health experts cited by NBC News on Wednesday claimed the increase in the number of COVID-19 cases reported over the past 14 days represents a “surge” in the virus:

“The surge numbers are real,” said Dr. Irwin Redlener, director of the Columbia University National Center for Disaster Preparedness, who is a public health analyst for NBC News and MSNBC.

He said more testing will inevitably capture more positive tests, “but to deny the fact that we’re having an ongoing pandemic with continued spread is contrary to all evidence that we have and everything that we know about the behavior of the virus.”

Dr. Vin Gupta, a pulmonologist and global health policy expert who is an NBC News and MSNBC contributor, said the surges are tied to people moving around more.

“The data that I’ve seen from Verizon and even Apple and Google suggest that people are moving a lot in states like California and Arizona and North Carolina, and those happen to be three of the six states where you’re seeing the biggest spike of cases,” he told NBC News.

The states cited by Dr. Gupta — California, Arizona, and North Carolina — are three of the top five states cited in the New York Times on Wednesday where the total number of COVID-19 cases are increasing over the past 14 days, based on a seven-day rolling average.

But a Breitbart News analysis of COVID-19 testing data over the past 15 days, as reported by the COVID Tracking Project, shows that the percentage of those who have taken the COVID-19 test since the beginning of the pandemic in California — the number-one ranked state for COVID-19 case increases over the past 14 days by the New York Times — who have tested positive has declined from 5.7 percent on May 26 to 5.4 percent on June 9, as Table 1 below illustrates.

Similarly, that percentage has dropped in Texas — the number-two ranked state for COVID-19 case increases over the past 14 days by the New York Times — from 6.9 percent on May 26 to 6.8 percent on June 9.

In North Carolina — the third state Dr. Gupta points to as a place where “people are moving a lot” and which he says is one of “the six states where you’re seeing the biggest spikes of cases” — the percentage has remained unchanged at 6.9 percent between May 26 and June 9.

Arizona has seen a slight increase in the percentage of those who have taken a COVID-19 test that was positive, increasing from 9.6 percent on May 26 to 9.7 percent on June 9.

Table 1
COVID-19 Cases and Testing
Top Five States Where NY Times Says Cases Are Increasing

Ranked by Total Number of Cases

May 26 to June 9

Tuesday May 26 Tuesday June 9
NYT Rank State Positive Total % Positive Positive Total % Positive
1 California 96,733 1,696,396 5.7% 133,489 2,486,245 5.4%
2 Texas 56,560 821,233 6.9% 77,523 1,147,355 6.8%
3 Florida 52,555 923,224 5.7% 66,000 1,258,305 5.2%
4 North Carolina 24,140 352,331 6.9% 37,160 535,711 6.9%
5 Arizona 16,783 173,948 9.6% 28,296 293,213 9.7%

Sources: The COVID Tracking Project and The New York Times

Throughout the entire United States, the percentage of those who have tested positive with COVID-19, among those who have taken the test, has declined from 11.2 percent on May 26 (1,672,492 positives out of 14,929,055 total tests) to 9.4 percent on June 9, (1,970,596 out of  21,048,183 total tests), according to the COVID Tracking Project.


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