The number of new covid-19 infections confirmed in Maryland and in Prince George’s County declined over several days last week, according to a key metric tracked by Route 1 Reporter. Specifically, the number of new confirmed coronavirus infections in the past 14 days has declined from a statewide high of 13,260 on May 11, 2020 to 12,396 on May 17, 2020. Likewise in Prince George’s County, the number of coronavirus cases confirmed in the preceding 14 days fell from a high of 4,233 on May 10 to 3,718 on May 17.
While the trend is encouraging, the conclusion that the declining number is “a good thing” is based on a number of assumptions, including the assumption that the rate of new diagnoses correlates with the true spread of the disease in any way. It must be emphasized this data only reflects confirmed case counts, and not true infection rates. According to state and county health officials, disparities in access to health care, a persistent scarcity of testing, and infected individuals who don’t seek treatment or testing because their symptoms are light, mean that case counts alone greatly understate the true extent of the outbreak in Maryland.
Three’s a trend
Between May 14 and May 17, the number of daily new confirmed cases in Maryland dropped from a two-week rolling average of 1,012 to 953. It may just be a blip, but it’s worth noting. This is the first time since the pandemic began that the two-week rolling average of daily new cases has declined for three consecutive days.
Eastern shore hotspot gets hotter
The 21649 ZIP code now has Maryland’s worst outbreak of new cases, measured on a per-capita basis. Centered on the Delaware-Maryland border town of Templeville, this ZIP code, with a 2010 population fo 1,858 residents, has 69 total cases, 60 of which were confirmed in the 14 days before May 17, for a two-week per capita rate of 32 cases per 1,000 residents. A three percent confirmed case rate rivals exceeds the cumulative rate some of the worst-hit boroughs of New York City, such as the Bronx, which had about 29 cases per 1,000 residents as of May 17.
Meanwile, the 20783 ZIP code of Langley Park and Adelphi, Population roughly 44,500, has had the worst overall outbreak in Maryland. But it has seen its population of new cases decline over the past week. There, 1,401 cases have been confirmed since the outbreak began. But only 511 cases have been confirmed in the two weeks prior to May 17, or a two-week per-capita rate of 11 per 1,000 residents.
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