US Social Restrictions and Easing

Right click to expand a graph.

This graph is using the usual case/slope data as in recent posts. There is a prior version of this, but it used a table of state data of restrictions and easing them that was a good starting point, but I felt it would be better to tighten up that data and use a consistent source. I decided to use information gathered by USA Today and a little further digging when the information was insufficient or seemed to be an error.

The green and orange shaded bars on the case counts are the dates three weeks after social changes had been implemented. That has been my ongoing assessment of when we begin to see changes in data related to implementation. They are also similar to a heat map, the lighter ones representing one state, the darkest five, for a given day. The two dates outlined in yellow had more than five states represented that day.

I expect that the steep descent in the case slope trend (the red line) we saw nationally between April 10th and April 23rd will soon be marked by a similar upward curve within about a week, the only question is how steep and for how long.

There are two other things that can be seen in the graph. First, on June 11, I had predicted a bigger tooth in the saw pattern of the slope line due to Memorial Day. There is an arrow pointing to the part of the graph where the three week delay shows in the data.

The other thing I had been thinking about was what was behind this sawtooth pattern. I reached a reasonable conclusion that would fit around the social distancing measures that had been enacted. Early on as the virus first started getting its grip on the US, it was likely spread much more on the weekends, when bars, restaurants, malls, and churches brought more people close together indoors. That set the cycle in motion and are even apparent in the blue dots on the graph in the big curve in March and April. Now that it has started, I expect it to become more pronounced as we enter another stretch of exponential growth.

On a final predictive outcome note, I have been saying since April that we would see an increase in cases in June. I found something I wrote on May 18th that said June 15th would be the date when we would start seeing an increase in cases around the country. Oddly enough, that’s the exact date where the red trend line crosses zero.

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