We have been struggling with this issue in this very place for a few weeks now. NBC offers three theories in the clips below, none of which are very convincing.
One: Maybe the states with fewer cases are just doing less testing. In essence, they want you to believe that the decline over the south is a mirage, that COVID may be as bad there as in the northeast, but that no one has anything to know about it because they are not testing enough people to find out. It is true that southern states by and large have done less testing than the northern ones, but Louisiana ranks 15th out of 50 states in tests per capita. Inhabitant, and it has been seen that cases fall for several months. Even in states with limited testing, the degree of positivity should give us an idea of whether cases are rising or falling. And in Texas, California and Arizona, to take just three examples, the degree of positivity is far away from its winter peak.
However, the acid test is admissions. If there is a real increase in cases in the population, it should eventually translate into an increase in admissions. It has in Michigan, the most affected state in the union. But in Texas, hospital admissions are still falling nearly a month after the mesh mandate and capacity limits for companies were lifted. It̵
Two: Perhaps there is more natural immunity in states that have adopted fewer restrictions, making it more difficult for the virus to spread at this late stage of the pandemic relative to the ease with which it spreads in pro-lockdown states. The logic behind this theory is appealing: states that have been open have made it easier for them to live more with their residents, and more socializing should mean that the virus has circulated more widely and infected a larger portion of the population. I did it yesterday that Michigan is in the top 10 among US states in COVID cases per. Inhabitant, suggesting that relatively few people had been infected until recently. This meant that there was less natural immunity, which in turn meant that there was now more ignition for a wave. In Texas, where restrictions have been lighter, this may not be the case.
But there are wrinkles in this theory. Texas and California may have had more cases per. Population than Michigan, but they have had far fewer than New York and New Jersey, both of which have seen cases increase recently (though not as Michigan has done). If you would rather compare deaths per Per capita as a measure of how many infections a particular state has seen, note that New Jersey, New York, and Massachusetts are the top three among U.S. states, while Texas ranks 24th and California ranks 31. Michigan ranks 21st. – higher than either of the latter two states. Deaths are not a perfect comparison of apples to apples between states, as some (New York and New Jersey) had their deaths “frontloaded” at the start of the pandemic, as the hospital’s treatment of COVID was primitive, while others saw more admissions later, as doctors could better save people. But despite their pro-lockdown positions, it’s hard to look at what the Northeast has been through and get away thinking that there should be less natural immunity there than in the South.
Three: Maybe college kids go from north down south for spring breaks, get infected there and bring the virus home. Uh, okay – but college students in the south also go on spring break. Would they not spread the virus in their own hometowns after returning home and sow outbreaks in the south as well? And wouldn’t business owners serving spring customers get infected and then spread the virus in their own communities? I do not know why there would be a difference between epidemics in lockdown versus anti-lockdown states because of young people traveling more.
I stick to my half-assed pet theory to explain why the lockdown states perform worse than the anti-lockdown: Weather. California has, after all, been a tough pro-lockdown state, but their cases have been in free fall since late January. Yesterday, they registered only 2,402 cases across the country, placing them ninth out of 50 states despite having the largest population by far. And California’s worst period was over the winter, when it endured a violent eruption despite still having many restrictions in place. I think warming weather, driving more people outdoors, is the easiest explanation for the geographical variation in cases right now. To the extent that easing restrictions encourages people to get out more, they may be helpful in downsizing cases, but weather is likely to play a larger role.
Some states with stricter rules are now seeing increases in COVID-19 cases, while many others who rushed to reopen are experiencing significant drops. The numbers have experts scratching their heads. @SamBrockNBC has the details. pic.twitter.com/2uTTgb3dxG
– TODAY (@TODAYshow) April 8, 2021