There was no significant increase in Chinese coronavirus hospitalizations, fatalities, and the percentage rate of people testing positive for the disease in 21 states that eased lockdown restrictions on May 4 or earlier, including seven that did not implement a shutdown order at all, an ABC News investigation reportedly found this week.
Health analysts consider the number of hospitalizations, fatalities, and the positivity test rate, particularly the seven-day average given the swings in the figures reported daily, to be good proxies for the severity of COVID-19, the new coronavirus disease.
Eric Strauss from ABC News identified the 21 states as South Carolina, Montana, Georgia, Mississippi, South Dakota, Arkansas, Colorado, Indiana, Iowa, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Wyoming, Kansas, Florida, Indiana, Missouri, Ohio, and Nebraska.
On Thursday, he wrote on Twitter:
JUST IN: [ABC News] looked at 21 states that eased restrictions May 4 or earlier & found no major increase in hospitalizations, deaths or % of people testing positive in any of them. [SC, MT, GA, MS, SD, AR, CO, ID, IA, ND, OK, TN, TX, UT, WY, KS, FL, IN, MO, NE, OH] via [Arielle Mitropoulos].
About a handful of those states — Arkansas, Iowa, South Dakota, Utah, Oklahoma, Wyoming, Nebraska — did not implement a statewide stay-at-home order or any similar measure to stem the spread of the highly contagious and lethal COVID-19.
New Jersey is the only state that remains mostly shut down, except for limited re-openings for specific retail stores and construction industries, data compiled by the New York Times showed on Friday. The stay-at-home order in New Jersey, home the strictest statewide lockdown, is expected to expire June 5.
Delaware’s lockdown measure will not expire until Sunday, but the state has allowed more limited re-openings than New Jersey.
ABC News had yet to publish the results of its study as of Friday afternoon, but the alleged author, Mitropoulos, retweeted Strauss’s post about the investigation:
JUST IN: @ABC looked at 21 states that eased restrictions May 4 or earlier & found no major increase in hospitalizations, deaths or % of people testing positive in any of them. [SC, MT, GA, MS, SD, AR, CO, ID, IA, ND, OK, TN, TX, UT, WY, KS, FL, IN, MO, NE, OH] via @AMitrops
— Eric M. Strauss (@ericMstrauss) May 28, 2020
Breitbart News has determined that after a spike in cases reported each day soon after the state allowed non-essential businesses to reopen on May 1, Texas turned things around.
Over the past weeks, the Lone Star state has seen a steady decline in the seven-day average of new coronavirus cases, deaths, hospitalizations, and positivity test rates reported daily.
To justify decisions to allow non-essential businesses to reopen, U.S. state officials have been relying on a five or seven-day average number of cases, deaths, hospitalizations, and test positivity rates to account for daily swings in the raw figures.
Like several other state leaders, “Gov. Greg Abbott is looking at two specific metrics to justify his decision to restart the Texas economy — the positive test rate and hospitalization levels,” the Texas Tribune noted.
To make its determination that there was no COVID-19 spike in the 21 states that reopened early, ABC News likely relied on the seven or five-day average numbers given that the daily hospitalization and fatality figures, along with the rate of people testing positive, fluctuate day by day.
The overall number of cases and deaths continue to increase in the United States.
As of Friday afternoon, over 1.7 million U.S. residents had tested positive for COVID-19, and over 102,000 had succumbed to it, according to the Johns Hopkins University tracker.