As more and more states loosen their social distancing restrictions, governors and residents alike are hoping their states have seen the worst of the pandemic. Some states like New York and Washington that were early hotspots of COVID-19 may already be past their peaks in active infections. On the other hand, states that began experiencing high rates of infection later on may not peak until June.
24/7 Wall St. reviewed projections from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation to determine when COVID-19 is likely to peak in every state, both in terms of the total number of estimated active infections, and the total number of beds needed to treat COVID-19 patients.
There are many different ways to measure the impact of coronavirus, like deaths, confirmed infections, and beds needed to treat patients. Each metric tells part of the story of how the U.S. is being affected by the virus — though the picture is incomplete without adequate testing. Just 27.1 tests per 1,000 Americans have been performed, and Rhode Island is the only state in which more than 60 tests have been performed — placing the U.S. far behind other wealthy nations like Germany, Italy and Canada. IMHE provided their own estimation for the total number of Americans infected on a given date in each state, calculated using the “the known relationship between deaths and infections” and taking into account the testing rate.
The rate of infection can be difficult to predict because of the constantly changing social distancing measures implemented in each state. Some states are continuing to enforce stay at home orders through May and even June, while others have relaxed restrictions. This is every state’s rules for staying at home and social distancing.
States that pull back on social distancing measures risk an increased rate of infection, pushing their peak later. Mark Siedner is an associate professor of infectious diseases at Harvard University and clinician in the Division of Infectious Diseases at Massachusetts General Hospital. He told 24/7 Wall St. that “social distancing is the only intervention we have currently to stop the epidemic” without a vaccine or treatment for COVID-19. Several states that relaxed social distancing measures — or never implemented them at all — now have among the fastest growing rates of coronavirus cases per capita. These are the states where the virus is growing the fastest.