December 21, 2020

Lance Koonce
5 min readDec 21, 2020


NY Update. There’s a little bit of good news to share — the numbers in Westchester have stabilized a bit. We were shooting upwards there for about a month, and while our baseline is now higher than it was, the sharp trend upward seems to have stopped, at least for the moment.

The testing-positivity figure is now around 5.9% (30-day chart):

Similarly, the numbers of cases per 100,000 people has stabilized at around 62 (60-day chart):

For some perspective, here’s a chart showing the number of new daily cases on a 7-day rolling average since early March:

The number of deaths per day in Westchester now averages 6, as compared with less than one per day in late October:

But, again for perspective, here’s the same chart across the whole pandemic:

Another piece of good news is that while at 600 new cases per day on average we are more than two-thirds of the way to the peak back in April when we saw up to 900 new cases per day, at 6 fatalities per day we’re at one-tenth of the average daily fatalities we were seeing in April. That is likely due to a combination of (1) the surge in new cases being a lot more extensive than was actually tracked back in the spring due to a lack of testing; (2) much better treatment options and less strain on frontline medical workers; and (3) less spread in nursing homes, etc. Nationwide, as I’ll discuss below, we’re seeing between 1.2% and 1.5% fatality rates based on reported cases — I think we’re on the low end of that range in Westchester.

I don’t have current numbers for the Pelham: The county has stopped publishing its map temporarily while it tries to “get additional and more accurate information to share” that better aligns with the state-level data. Frankly, it’s not the best moment for this to be occurring. In the interim, here’s the state’s current report on cases in the Pelham schools to date:

Moving on, the bad news is at the state level — the numbers in New York State have not leveled off, but continue to tick upward. The testing-positivity number, on a 7-day rolling basis, is now catching up with Westchester and currently stands at 5.36%. Here’s a look at the last two weeks:

The number of new daily reported cases has now surpassed where the state was last spring (although again, there were probably far more unreported cases back then):

The number of fatalities in NYS have of course also been increasing as a result:

Although, once again, the number of fatalities per day is still at a much lower level than back in the spring, state-wide:

And again, we’re seeing fatality rates in the 1.2% range once you factor in the two-week lag between reported cases and actual deaths.

In terms of hospitalizations, we don’t have data for just Westchester County, but for the mid-Hudson region, here’s where things stand:

And here’s the chart for current hospitalizations state-wide:

For context, our region has one-third of its hospital beds still available for use, and it’s about the same state-wide:

Turning finally to the US as a whole, the testing-positive number seems to have leveled off, but at the fairly high level of 11%:

Of more concern is that case numbers in the US are now averaging about 210,000 new cases per day:

Even if that does not increase, with a 1.2% to 1.5% fatality rate among reported cases, this implies between 2500 and 3150 deaths per day as long as the number stays that high. And that’s what we’re seeing already:

The hospitalizations and ICU admittances across the US now dwarf the numbers we saw in the spring, as we’ve discussed previously:

115,000 people currently in the hospital with COVID, and some 22,000 in ICU. That is a lot of people.

And before we congratulate ourselves too much in NY, our statewide population of 19.45 million people is about 6% of the US population of 328 million, so with 6200 people in the hospital we account for 5.4% of the hospitalized cases in this country. Therefore we are doing a little better than the rest of the country, but 6200 is still a lot to have in the hospital with this disease at one time.

I’ll try to do a quick update at least later this week as we all take a break from jobs and school. Wishing everyone a happy and safe holiday season!