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One Year of the Coronavirus Pandemic in the U.S.

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One year ago, the spread of SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus infections prompted New York to declare the first state of emergency in the U.S. as the coronavirus pandemic gained a foothold within the country.

One year later, after having infected over 7.8 million Americans and proving fatal for over 515,000 predominantly older Americans, we can confirm the coronavirus appears to be in full retreat across all U.S. states.

The dramatic declines that had just begun in our monthly previous update have continued, as the COVID-19 vaccines developed under the Trump administration’s Operation Warp Speed program are proving to be successful in protecting those who have been vaccinated. Combined with reduced social mixing following the end of 2020′s holiday season, the trajectories for the daily progression of COVID-19 infections, test positivity rate, and 7-day moving averages for newly confirmed cases and deaths are each showing signs of significant improvements.

Daily Progression of COVID-19 in the U.S., Daily Test Positive Rates, and Rolling 7-Day Averages for Newly Confirmed Cases and Deaths Attributed to COVID-19 in the U.S., 10 March 2020 - 7 March 2021

The better news is that the improved conditions at the national level are also confirmed at the state and territory level.

The Progression of COVID-19 at the State and Territory Level

The latest update to our signature skyline tower chart ranks the progression of positive COVID-19 cases in the U.S. by state or territory according to the reported percentage of cases within the state or territory’s population. The individual charts depict the number of positive cases, the number of recovered patients or those discharged from hospitals, the number of hospitalized patients and the number of deaths. Each of these charts is presented in the same scale with respect to the size of its population over the period from 10 March 2020 through 7 March 2021. This presentation makes it very easy to visually compare a given state’s or territory’s experience with others.

Progression of COVID-19 in the U.S. by State or Territory, 10 March 2020 - 7 March 2021

Among individual states, North Dakota and South Dakota rank at the top in the measure of the percentage of population who has tested positive for COVID-19, thanks largely to their comparatively small populations. Low population Rhode Island ranks third, having climbed up to that position during the late fall, winter surge in COVID-19 cases in the northeastern U.S.

The individual tower charts for individual states and territories are increasingly taking on the ‘bell’ shape that indicates substantial slowing in the incidence of new COVID-19 infections.

What About New York?

Throughout this series, we’ve often compared New York’s experience with the coronavirus pandemic to those of other states. New York’s COVID-19 story however has taken a dramatic turn in 2021, where we’ve launched a new blog to provide an ongoing general timeline of th developing story of Governor Cuomo’s nursing home scandals.

Since this week marks the anniversary of the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic in the U.S., we’ve focused on the major events of March 2020, when those scandals have their origins. We’ll bring the new blog’s timeline fully up-to-date over the next two weeks.

The COVID Tracking Project Stops Collecting Data

On a final note, the COVID Tracking Project, which supplied much of the data we’ve visualized and analyzed in this series, has posted its final update. With it closing up shop, this will be our last update to this series.

Previously on Political Calculations

We’ve regularly tracked the progression of the coronavirus pandemic within the United States since data for it began being tracked on 10 March 2020. Here are the previous entries in our series featuring the skyline tower charts we developed to visualize its rates of spread within the individual states and territories of the U.S., presented in reverse chronological order.


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