COVID Weekly Report for Sept. 21: Encouraging declines in Washington; mixed bag worldwide

Each week we scour the internet to collect the latest information on the COVID battle from the global to the local levels.  Our aim is to provide you – our readers – with a one-stop-shop to gain a comprehensive overview of progress in fighting the pandemic at all levels.

The global spread of COVID-19 continued unabated this week, with 2.1 million new cases, up from 1.7 million last week (see our earlier reports for Sept. 14 and Sept. 9 for comparison). Deaths worldwide were also up, with 36,572 added compared to 31,426 last week. The United States continues to lead the world in sheer number of cases, now surpassing 6.5 million — ahead of India, Brazil and Russia in that order.

Note that total U.S. COVID-related deaths now stand just shy of the grim 200,000 milestone, gaining almost 5,500 since last week.

In our area, the Sept. 19 totals put Washington state and Snohomish County at 82,548 and 6,697 respectively, up from 79,826 (gain of 2,722) and 6,527 (gain of 170) a week ago (see overview maps below in the state and county sections).

Daily confirmed case counts, hospitalizations and deaths have all dropped since spiking in July. Despite this good news, officials continue to urge vigilance, avoiding gatherings, wearing masks and maintaining social distancing (for more information see our Sept. 20 update here).

The world and national situation:

The global overview map and chart from Johns Hopkins again shows the United States leading the world in overall numbers of cases, ahead of Brazil, India and Russia, the only other countries surpassing 1 million cases.


The most recent tabular display of the top 10 nations worldwide from the World Health Organization shows similar numbers, the discrepancies due to the updates being taken in different time zones (WHO is based in Europe, and due to time differences the numbers are approximately 10 hours earlier than Johns Hopkins, a testament to how quickly new cases are diagnosed and added to the count).

While the U.S. leads the world in overall case numbers, it rose from 11th to 10th place this week in per capita cases (expressed here as cases per one million population, ninth column from left).  Note that with the exceptions of Brazil and Mexico (pop. 213 million and 129 million, respectively) all countries in this table have much lower total populations than the U.S. (See the complete interactive table here.)

Taken by region, while the Americas continue to lead the world in the daily new case counts, this metric has remained relatively steady for the past six weeks, suggesting that viral activity is leveling off in this hemisphere. By contrast, daily new cases in Asia are on the rise, adding 700,000 last week. According to this report from NPR, cases are raging in India, putting that country on track to surpass the U.S. as the country most affected by COVID-19.

In worldwide COVID deaths per 100,000 population, the U.S. has risen from seventh to sixth place this week, increasing to 60.98 COVID deaths per 100K compared to 59.32 last week. (See mortality chart from Johns Hopkins University.)


The Washington state situation:

The most recent (Sept. 19) state overview from the Washington Department of Health (DOH) shows confirmed cases at 82,548 with 2,037 deaths, up from 79,826 and 1,991 respectively last week. In addition, 91,000 new tests were administered and tabulated, an increase of 20,000 since the last (Sept. 12) report.

And now for the good news — Washington state is entering the third month of steady decline in new cases from the mid-July peak.

As illustrated below, the Washington state daily new caseload chart from Johns Hopkins University tracks this continuing decline, with 597 cases added on Sept. 19 — down from the July 18 spike of 959 (see the interactive chart for Washington state on the Johns Hopkins website here).

While no single factor likely explains this reduction, heath department officials attribute it to the combined effects of wearing face coverings, limiting social gatherings, and maintaining physical distance in public. While the general decrease is encouraging, hotspots continue to persist in college towns, prisons, hospitals and some counties.

This drop in new cases is also reflected in a Sept. 17 case rate of 74.6 (cases per 100K population, two-week rolling average), a drop of almost nine from the previous week’s report of 83.8. While this still remains short of the Department of Health goal of 25, it is moving in the right direction.

The good news extends to Washington State’s daily COVID-related hospitalization and death counts, with both continuing their encouraging downward trends. Hospitalizations have now reached the historic lows of late May and early June, and preliminary recent data (grey bars) project this trend to continue. Deaths continue to plummet from the early August bump (note that the hospitalization chart from DOH reflects Sept. 19 data, while the mortality chart from Johns Hopkins includes data through Sept. 18).

The charts below represent the fourth week of test results reporting under the new DOH protocols. These figures now reflect total testing volumes rather than just the number of new individuals receiving a negative or positive test result for the first time (i.e., if an individual is tested more than once, each test is counted).

The Sept. 17 positivity rate is down to 2.8 percent from 3.3 the week before, still just short of the 2.0 percent DOH goal.

It is important to note that while overall statewide numbers are falling, significant variation persists among counties.  Chelan, Douglas, Yakima, Benton and Franklin counties have yet to move beyond modified Phase 1, while several others have moved to Phase 3. In our area, Island County continues as the lone county in the northwest quadrant of the state to qualify for Phase 3 reopening.

State demographic patterns continue unchanged, with the Sept. 19 report following the familiar pattern of most infections among younger people, and most hospitalizations and deaths in older populations. Note that more than half the COVID-related deaths occur among those 80 years old and more.


The Snohomish County situation:

The county numbers overview as of Sept. 19 shows total confirmed cases at 6,697, and deaths at 210. Total tests now stand at 129,771, up more than 7,000 from last week’s report.

The Sept. 19 county daily new case count reflects the steep decline statewide, but is expected to continue declining to the all-time low levels of June as more recent data (grey bars) are processed and verified.

Trends in critical county measures over time (total cases, recovered cases, and active cases) are shown below (note that these numbers are through Sept. 12).

Cumulative case counts for the county continue to level out, another indicator that the spread of the virus is slowing in our area. These numbers are also through Sept. 12, and come from the most recent weekly report from the Snohomish Health District, and do not include more recent and as yet unverified data.

Reflecting this trend, as of Sept. 12 the case rate (cases per 100K population, two-week rolling average) stands at 43.5, down from 48.8 the previous week, continuing the decline begun in mid-July and closing in on the DOH goal of 25.

Hospitalizations and deaths at the county level continue to show little change from last week, reflecting the statewide trends noted in the demographic bar charts above (see tables below).

Testing activity at the county level continues at a relatively high level. The testing activity chart and table below reflect and compare overall counts with numbers of positive results through Sept. 19 and Sept. 12 respectively.  Note that the positivity rate continues to decline, an encouraging trend.

The local situation in our home cities:

Note: These data are taken from the COVID-19 Weekly Update report from the Snohomish Health District, which summarizes verified data as of the end of the previous week, in this case Sept. 12.

Critical metrics (total cases, recovered cases, deaths, and active cases) for our home cities are shown in the charts below.  The good news is that active case numbers have been generally declining over the past four weeks, an encouraging sign that our local communities are taking the necessary measures to stay safe. Note that death and active case figures are not available for Mountlake Terrace for 6/6, 6/13 and 6/20.

The local numbers summary, data as of 9/12:

Some more recent, but as yet unverified, current data are available on the Health District’s COVID Case Count page.

The data, tables and charts in today’s report come from the following sources:

— By Larry Vogel

16 Replies to “COVID Weekly Report for Sept. 21: Encouraging declines in Washington; mixed bag worldwide”

  1. Three things….

    the state dashboard is going to be revised down once again Wednesday as they found yet another error in their data.

    there are regions in India that as few as 22% of deaths (of all kinds not just Covid) are recorded by the government. Brazil and Russia don’t have accurate counts of their deaths in general as well.

    for anyone that doesn’t like wearing masks be thankful you are not a public figure, Pete Carroll and the Seahawks got fined a combined $350,000 by the NFL for his not wearing a mask at Sunday’s game.


  2. Well most Snohomish county and the rest of the state testing sites were closed so true numbers at this time are not being reflected.


  3. The WHO and CCP are very cozy. What now in retrospect seems to be a comical-level over-reaction and mischaracterization of the virus was also reason for glowing praise of the CCP’s pandemic response by the WHO. Videos of people dying in Chinese streets were flooding the internet. Unknown Chinese whistleblowers claiming an R0 of 3.8? Remember that?

    Is this coronavirus mostly propaganda? Before this is immediately discounted, I would like those of us old enough to remember the Nayirah testimony, which was how the world convinced itself to invade Iraq. This is before social media.

    Iriaqi soldiers were supposedly yanking babies out of incubators. The propaganda doesn’t always have to be believable or verifiable. The issue, sometimes, is what is referred to as “Pot-Committed” (like in poker). When Amnesty International falls for Nayirah, or when the WHO falls for the CCP, they often have too much invested in the misinformation being true and will maintain the propaganda’s objectives even though the cards aren’t that believable. Back when I had a security clearance I was shown “intelligence” on mobile chemical weapon factories which later turned out to be mobile strip clubs used Uday and Qusay Hussein. We needed it to be true or we’d feel stupid for believing the tragedy of the incubators. Is Fauci just another Coen Powell? There was supposed to be people collapsing in the streets [like in China]. There was supposed to be 2.2 million deaths. No? Okay, lets count the co-morbidities too and see what we get. 200,000? That’s a sufficiently big number. I can’t raise but, I’ll check until the river (November 3rd). Yellow Cake.


  4. Tell all that to the families of the 12 folks who died in the Edmonds care facility. Tell that to those in the Kirkland care facility. I think it was Boston where we just lost 76 vets? Who is protecting these folks?

    From what we know now, we could have done a better job of managing reopening the economy. But also from what we know now we have not protected our older folks as well as we could have. Are some of you folks just wanting all us old timers to get sick and die so you won’t have to pay as much social security? Or do you just want us to die so you can buy by house?

    Yes we could have and should do some things better, but when we do some thing wrong we should hold folks accountable.


    1. Darrol, we likely disagree on the causality of those deaths.

      Are there more or less obituaries in the paper this year verse last year? I’m just guessing, but I am betting that more people are dying of delayed healthcare (not seeing their doctor like they normally would) than are dying from coronavirus. What is the balance that needs to be struck between preventing people from dying and preventing people from living? I don’t think you know, and I don’t think it is as urgent for older people. Christmas can be a bad time of year for parents.

      Answering your questions directly. I’m 40. My last social security statement had a FAQ that said I wouldn’t get any SSI at all unless contributions were increased and retirement age was increased. Your generation designed a system that lasted exactly one generation. You can have it. We’re not dumb enough to count on it. Older folks should be thanking us, and we’re not going to ask to be thanked. We’ll just keep paying because we’re adults.

      As for your house, if you hang onto your house right now, during this seller’s market, then that is on you. If real-estate craters and the housing equity isn’t enough for you to retire on, then that is on you. Enjoy the taxes.
      You bought your house cheap, then the velvet rope was put up and people my age just have to work harder than you for the same house. I’m not bringing this inequity up, and only saying it because I’m being asked about it.

      Who is protecting these folks? We should sequester seniors every year if the flu is what we are afraid of.


  5. Now I am going to die of fear! A generation is typically defined as 30 years, so the designers were 3 generations back. Congress should have fixed SS long ago by changing the system to move toward a 401k style system. Your kids are going to school on the property taxes I am paying on my big house. Thank for paying my SS and I am happy to pay for future kids school buildings. No thanks necessary. I worked hard on the last bond issue and am working hard to find a way to build better schools, better computers for kids, and all that. I have not had a kid in school for 35 years. The average building lasts 50 year so my taxes have paid for many building I did not use.

    I need a dental exam and my eyes tested. I did have my colonoscopy before CV, but soon I need one of those digital exams.

    Matt, I know you have a kind heart, you even bought my coffee once, I was trying to find a few coins in my pocket and you put it on some sort of card!

    What I would hope old and young would both agree to do is pay for more black top on our roads. Not going to happen, we always want the other guy to pay.

    You are not in my will so you do not get my house.

    If I see you on the street I will ask you to humor me and put on your mask. I am hoping you will so you would not be the cause of the spike in my blood pressure.


    1. We send kids to private school. There is some public money, but we also pay property tax, and we also have to work hours at the school. If there is a free lunch for me, I’ve never seen it. I was born too free to wear a mask, and I don’t think they are effective. It’s an individual choice. Condoms are fairly effective, but both the man and women don’t need to wear one. It’ a gross analogy and I’m not trying to be gross, but it is appropriate and I’ll be the woman in this scenario just to make this less awkward.


  6. Matt, I trust your analysis on a number of things mostly because you think thing through from a number of angles and often give us all things to think about. I also will rely on others for information and analysis that help me make my decisions for my life.

    You are my go to guy on how airplanes fly. Dr. Fauci is my go to guy on how CV can spread. You are free to do what you want but I will follow the judgement of Dr. Facui in the link below.

    Please keep us on our toes on issues. It is good for all of us to think about issues from all points of view. The next time I see you on the street I will show you what I have learned during this whole thing. I will have my mask on and I will show you how I have learned to be a ventriloquist. You will not be able to see my lips move!


    1. I didn’t elect Dr. Fauci. What is his accountability? There is definitely a rediscovered appreciation for experts from anointed, authoritarian classes who have little-to-no accountability. Dr. Fauci still promotes false opinions about Hydroxychloroquine which has cost people lives. MP’s in Australia are crafting legislative means to hold anointed experts and pseudo scientists criminally liable over HCQ, and I hope they have some success in that.


      1. Gibberish. The doctors and scientists work on behalf of the people we elected. Wear a mask, respect 6′ spacing in social and public spaces. If concepts like teamwork and love thy neighbor eludes you that is fine, stay home.


        1. You dont have the right or ability to tell people to stay home. You’re not a doctor or a cop. We see the same pseudo consensus in science all the time. Mixing science and state is worse than mixing church and state. All the experts believed in the food pyramid, for example. This is the same type of fake non-science. Theyve been wrong on masks three times now. Walnut Street Coffee was packed the other day, full of people not wearing masks. None of us really believe this.

          If this is all so factually, then Jay Inslee would pass a law instead of using emergency powers he doesnt have. PA superior courts and even higher courts in appeal, ruled the limits on social gathering unconstitutional. Winter is coming.


  7. Since when can Jay Inslee pass laws? (He can only recommend laws and try to veto laws he doesn’t like).

    Legislature passes laws ; Governor executes laws (you know, Chief Executive) , and Courts determine Constitutioality of laws.

    People only obey laws if they agree with them or they are afraid of getting caught and punished for not obeying them. Civil society depends on us all being civil toward each other and trying to make things work as well as possible. That essential civility seems to be breaking down in America.


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