By May 25, 2020, the total number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Maryland increased to 47,152 and the number of deaths climbed to 2,302. But by several metrics – including daily new confirmed cases, daily deaths and two-week population of new confirmed cases – the coronavirus outbreak in Maryland seems to have leveled off, for now.
With many parts of the state re-opening, reports of casual-to-non-existent compliance with social distancing at Maryland’s beachside vacation hubs, and expanded no-symptom-needed testing regimes coming online, it will be interesting to see how these trend-lines move over the next few weeks.
For instance, charted above, the daily population of people with cases confirmed in the preceding two-weeks has hovered between 12,400 and 13,400 since May 6, 2020.
Likewise, charted above, the number of daily new confirmed coronavirus cases has been slightly down since May 19, 2020, when a backlog of test results were added into state data. The broad takeaway: this metric has leveled off. As of May 25, 2020, the two-week rolling average number of daily new confirmed cases stood at 984. This number has hovered around 1,000 new confirmed cases per day since May 10, 2020.
Perhaps more tangibly, the number of daily new coronavirus deaths in Maryland has been persistently declining since reaching an apex in early May. Charted above, we see the daily number of coronavirus deaths, on a two-week rolling average, has declined to about 44 from a high of 54 last seen May 8, 2020.
In Prince George’s County, the number of daily new confirmed coronavirus cases has been trending down since May 19, 2020, when it reached a high of 248 new confirmed cases per day, as measured on a two-week rolling average. In general, this number has hovered in the lower 200s since May 6, 2020.
Likewise, measured on a two-week rolling average, the number of daily coronavirus deaths has declined in Prince George’s County from 13 as of May 8, 2020 to 10 as of May 25, 2020. The persistency of this decline strikes me as the most remarkable thing about it.
Eastern Shore outbreaks
Route 1 Reporter mapped Maryland ZIP codes, shaded by the per-capita population of confirmed coronavirus cases diagnosed in the previous 14 days. Maryland’s rural areas, particularly in some odd ZIP codes in the Eastern Shore, now claim some of the highest per-capita rates of recent coronavirus diagnosis in the state – though some peculiarities create some alarming numbers.
For instance, consider the tiny 21802 ZIP Code. It encompasses only the Holly Center, a state-run institution for people with severe developmental disabilities. You’ll have to zoom in quite far to see it on the map above. It had 2010 Census population of 90 people. In the past two weeks, 10 people claiming this ZIP code as their address have been diagnosed with the disease, leading to a remarkably-high rate of 110 cases per 1,000 residents, or a confirmed 11 percent transmission rate in the past two weeks. Workers at the hospital have complained of a lack of protective equipment as recently as May 14, 2020. Also notable: Holly Center’s numbers don’t appear to be listed on the state’s data for congregate living facilities as of May 25, 2020.
Another hotspot appears to be the small community of Cecilton, in Cecil County up in the northern Chesapeake Bay. Here, the 21913 ZIP Code, which covers central Cecilton – population 663 – has had 23 confirmed cases in the past two weeks, for a per-capita rate of 35 cases per 1,000 people.
Marydel continues to be hotspot on the border of Delaware, with a per-capita rate of 22 cases per 1,000 residents in the past two weeks.
Inside the Beltway, things appear to have cooled off. The 20783 ZIP Code encompassing Adelphi and Langley Park now has seen its two-week per-capita rate drop from nearly 30 cases per 1,000 residents earlier this month to 11 cases per 1,000 residents as of May 25, 2020.
Again, caveats: The numbers in these articles show only confirmed cases reported by the Maryland Department of Health. As such, disparities in access to health care and the assumption that undiagnosed and asymptomatic coronavirus carriers mean that case counts alone under-estimate the true extent of the coronavirus outbreak. Qualitative assertions about changes in the number of coronavirus cases and deaths rest upon the assumption that Maryland Department of Health’s coronavirus numbers are in any way correlated with the true extent of the outbreak.
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