Has the pandemic in the southern states peaked?

I don’t want to jinx it by noting that the trend in new cases in the three southern hot spot states has stopped rising, but it’s stopped rising. Via the Rona Viz site, here are Texas…


…and Florida:

Here’s another way to visualize it per a Twitter pal:

In each instance, the falling case numbers don’t appear to be due to fewer tests being performed. For all three states (TX, AZ, FL), the positivity rate is down slightly from where it was a few weeks ago, not up. Hospitalizations are a little different: They’re declining in Arizona per Rona Viz and flat in Texas but increasing in Florida — although even there, the daily rate of how many new hospitalizations there are may be slowing down.

There’s other evidence that things might be heading the right way. It’s been ages since we looked at the Kinsa “health weather map,” which compiles data from all over the country based on temperature readings by Kinsa smart thermometers, but check out the trends lately in Texas and Florida:

Blue represents counties where the rate of fevers is trending downwards while yellow reflects areas where it’s stable. (Orange is where it’s increasing, evidence of a potential hot spot forming.) In both TX and FL, fevers are trending in the right direction. Here’s what the data looks like in Texas’s hardest-hit spot, Harris County (i.e. Houston):

You see the transmission rate spike circa June, which is when the outbreak was taking off locally, but now it’s in steep decline and below 1.0. That’s what we want to see, although there’s a long way to go before any of these states have a positivity rate like, say, New York does right now. We may also get an impromptu experiment locally on whether masks or social distancing are more important as a containment measure once news that cases are leveling off gets around. Some people are destined to throw caution to the wind and resume socializing at signs of progress, risking new infections — but Texas has been under a mask mandate for several weeks, which will presumably continue indefinitely. What happens when the downward pressure on new infections from universal masking meets the upward pressure from people relaxing their rules about staying away from one another?

As your exit quotation, here’s some brazen revisionist history from Kellyanne Conway at the White House today, signaling that Trump’s prepared to throw Ron DeSantis, Doug Ducey, and Greg Abbott under the bus for their states’ coronavirus misfortunes. Hot-spot states should have followed the federal guidelines and reopened more cautiously, Conway sniffs, never mind that Trump had zero use for those guidelines in his own haste to reopen in April and did everything he could to encourage Republican governors to get businesses back open ASAP. The entire reason the GOP convention was moved from Charlotte to Jacksonville is that Trump thought DeSantis and local officials would let him completely ignore social-distancing rules and have the big party he wanted to have.