Data Show Fifth Consecutive Week of Decreasing National COVID-19 Positivity Rate

Positive COVID-19 cases in the United States totaled 731,000 this week, a sharp decline from the average of 1.3 million over the last 12 weeks.

New data continue to show that coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases are decreasing faster than testing levels, which investigators say is a positive sign. This week was the fifth consecutive week with a declining national positivity rate, after a high of 15.5% for the first week of 2021.

According to a report by Nephron Research, the weekly COVID-19 positivity rate has fallen to its lowest level since late October. Cases are down 57%, tests are down 19%, and the positivity rate is down 47% compared to 4 weeks ago. Still, however, the report noted that the United States has had the most cases of any country for the past 113 days, with second-place Brazil having just approximately 41% of the 7-day US average. The United States now has 25.2% of global COVID-19 cases versus just 4.5% of the global population.

Despite this statistic, the weekly cases in the United States totaled 731,000 this week, a sharp decline from the average of 1.3 million over the past 12 weeks. Global cases are approximately 108 million, with the United States, India, and Brazil comprising 44% of the global total.

In the United States, there were 21,704 deaths over the past 7 days, which is a slight decrease from 21,928 deaths in the previous week. Still, this is near record highs, according to the report. The peak in summer 2020 saw 8018 deaths over 1 week in July, and the peak in spring 2020 saw 14,810 deaths in 1 week in April.

Notably, however, the United States has administered the most vaccinations of any country, with 46.4 million individuals having received their first dose. According to the report, the United States ranks 5th on a per capita basis, with 14% of the population receiving their first shot. The 3 leaders are Israel (71.2%), Seychelles (48.9%), and the United Arab Emirates (48.5%).

When analyzing hot spots within the United States, the report said investigators are closely watching trends in Mississippi, Iowa, Idaho, Kansas, Alabama, and South Dakota. Those 7 states show the most concerning levels of percent positives, while Mississippi, Pennsylvania, Oregon, Colorado, and New Jersey have shown the greatest increases in percent positives over the past 2 weeks.

Over the past week, the percent of positive tests has been 28.5% in Mississippi, 26.1% in Iowa, 25.2% in Idaho, 24.2% in Kansas, 20.7% in Alabama, and 19.1% in South Dakota. In the rankings of states with the most percent positives, Mississippi has gone from 6th to 1st in the past 2 weeks, showing a concerning rate of growth. Similarly, Pennsylvania has gone from 22nd to 15th and New Jersey has gone from 23rd to 17th.

California, Texas, Florida, and New York have the most confirmed cases, with 3.37 million, 2.53 million, 1.77 million, and 1.5 million, respectively. For perspective, the investigators pointed out that the barrier of entry into the top 10 states is 791.1 thousand cases.

The investigators said testing has been essential to the national decline in the percent of positive cases. As testing has expanded, 48 states have demonstrated a 14-day decline, with Tennessee and Florida being the first 2 states to meet the CDC metric of 14 consecutive days of decline, although they no longer meet this bar.

California and New York have also achieved this goal, and 26 states achieved the less stringent measure of 10 of the last 14 days. Forty states have seen declines in the percent of positive cases in a majority of the past 14 days, although they may not be a consecutive 8 days.

REFERENCE

COVID-19 Tracker: February 12, 2021: Weekly Data Review. Nephron Research; February 12, 2021. https://nephronresearch.bluematrix.com/sellside/EmailDocViewer?encrypt=27dc90a5-e20c-4e08-8c1d-3b54fff9dd6a&mime=pdf&co=nephronresearch&id=dsteiber@specialtypharmacytimes.com&source=mail&distribution=library. Accessed February 12, 2021.