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Geogrande.com analysis

U. S. surges past China in new virus cases

Geogrande.com / Published March 24, 2020

BEND, OREGON USA - On March 23, 2020, the number of new COVID-19 cases reported each day in the U. S. surpassed the largest number of new cases that was reported in China on a single day (see accompanying graph). The U. S. count of new cases on March 23 was 8,459, compared to China’s peak of approximately 7,744 new cases reached on February 5.

COVID-19 Graph - Daily New Cases

The March 23rd date is estimated from the accompanying graph, prepared by staff of the news website Geogrande.com. The actual date the U. S. surpassed China may be a few days on either side of March 23 due to imprecision in China’s new case numbers reported for February 1 through 11. The imprecision results from China having added to a single day (February 12) 13,322 cases that were reclassifications of cases diagnosed on previous days.

To eliminate an abrupt one-day spike in the graph on February 12, the 13,322 Chinese reclassified cases were transferred from February 12 to the days January 24 through February 11.The number of reclassified cases transferred to each day was made in proportion to the unadjusted number of new cases.

Since reaching its peak in new cases on day 13 (February 5), the daily count of new cases in China has sharply declined to less than 200 new cases reported each day in early March. The sharp decline has been attributed to strict virus control measures imposed in China beginning on January 223. Control measures have included stay at home orders, testing, and social distancing.

Only time will tell if the virus control effort in the U. S. will be as successful as China’s strict control program. The U. S. began significant control measures around March 16 (day 5 of the U. S. outbreak in this analysis), with stay at home orders issued in at least 21 states by March 23 (day 12) — but with no peak in new cases yet in sight.