It has become increasingly clear that there will not be a meaningful domestic or global economic recovery until an effective coronavirus vaccine regimen is in place. The intensified spread of the coronavirus in states outside of the U.S. major metropolitan areas that were hardest hit early on poses significant risk to growth in the second half of 2020.
It will likely be some time until in the South and Southwest are able to return to anywhere near January growth levels.
Using New York as the template, it will likely be some time until states in the South and Southwest are able to return to anywhere near January growth levels.
As the figure below shows, newly reported infections in New York peaked at 10,000 per day in April, and the state is still averaging 725 cases per day three months later. By comparison, the peak number of cases in both Florida and Texas have surpassed New York’s peak level in recent days, with Florida averaging nearly 12,000 cases per day.
Nationally, we registered more than 68,000 reported cases per day in the second week of July. That is twice the April peak of 32,000 cases per day recorded in the first wave of infections centered along major population centers in the Northeast, Chicago and the West Coast. We show this in the first figure below.
Infections somewhat subsided for two months as states adopted social distancing practices. That lasted until early summer, when people inside and outside major metropolitan areas began acting in contrast with guidelines put forward by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Infections have since climbed, with the majority of new infections occurring in the South and Southwest.
Given the current rate of infection, and unless states quickly respond to that spread by reinstating restrictions on social interaction, we expect the number of infections to approach and surpass 4 million cases in late July. We show this in the second figure below.
If there is one saving grace after months of despair, New York City has finally had a day without a death attributed to the coronavirus.
And though probably not an accurate measure of morbidity—because of the lag between infection and death and because of the lingering and the disturbing range of effects from infection—the ratio of deaths to new infections has been greatly reduced from 6% or 7% in April and May to only 1% in recent weeks.
There has been a remarkable decrease in the rate of deaths, which we attribute to the lower average age of current victims and to improved medical knowledge and better understanding of how to treat patients. As we show in the figure below, deaths attributed to COVID-19 infections that were averaging 2,200 per day in April reached as low 500 per day this month.
Unfortunately, we are now averaging 790 deaths per day. And then there are the heartbreaking reports of young children dying from the virus.
Of the six states with major metropolitan areas that were hit hardest in the initial outbreak of the virus (New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Illinois and California), only California and Pennsylvania are now reporting an increasing number of cases.
Infections in the non-metropolitan states are being reported at nearly 54,000 per day, while infections in the metropolitan states are 12,000 per day on average, as shown in the first figure below.
There are now 34 states with increasing rates of infection since the Memorial Day weekend, as listed in the table below.
For more information on how the coronavirus is affecting midsize businesses, please visit the RSM Coronavirus Resource Center.