Weekly Overview

Week Ending Nov. 6: Cases, hospitalizations, and deaths are all down about 20% this week. Testing was similar to last week and test positivity decreased further. The 7-day test positivity by collection date is 3.5% for PCR tests and 2.0% for rapid antigen tests.
Cases (by date of onset) peaked the last week of August, and deaths (by date of death) peaked the following week, and we’ve seen steady declines across all metrics for the past 2 months.

Highlights from the Week

I’ve had several followers who use my web site ask how they could thank me for the work I’m doing, so I’ve set up a Virtual Food Drive benefiting the Atlanta Community Food Bank to help feed families in need during this difficult year. I already met my initial goal, so I doubled it. Thanks to everyone for your support. Click here to donate!

The visualization below shows multiple COVID metrics on the same graph, based on their weekly values as a percentage from the summer peak. Early in the summer, you can first see a peak in cases (by symptom onset) and ER visits with COVID-Like Illness, followed by a peak in hospital admits and current hospitalizations, and then a peak in deaths (by date of death). As you can see, these metrics have continued to follow similar paths. Everything dropped quickly in unison in January and February, even faster than it did in the summer, and is now slowing. Hopefully we can keep these numbers from increasing due to natural and vaccine immunity. (NOTE: I do not show cases or deaths for the previous two weeks as the data is still incomplete.)

Cases & Testing

My preference to focus on overall trends and indicators other than raw case counts, but many thresholds for risk levels are based on reported case numbers, so I’m adding some additional tracking and context around these numbers.

Harvard has risk levels based on daily average case rates, which is used by the CovidActNow.org web site. We are still in the red zone for total (confirmed plus antigen) cases, where the daily average of total cases exceeds 25 per 100K. The orange zone is for a daily average 10-25 cases per 100K, and the yellow zone is 1-10 daily cases per 100K. As of Friday, Nov. 5, Georgia is at 9.3 daily average total cases per 100K (down from 13.1 last week). This puts us in the yellow zone.

A different metric, used by the White House and CDC, defines the red zone as over 100 cases per 100K in a week or more (total weekly cases instead of daily average cases used by Harvard). I track our weekly cases per 100K metric daily on my Today in Georgia page, which is updated daily. As of Friday, Nov. 5, Georgia is at 65 weekly total cases per 100K (down from 82 last week) for confirmed and antigen cases combined. This puts the state in the orange category by this metric (Substantial transmission), along with Texas and the SE of the US. Most US states are currently in the red category.

In the graph below, I show confirmed (PCR) cases and testing. The percent of positive tests is shown in a second graph below. Free COVID tests are readily available all over the state for anyone who wants one.

If you want to see a table of the raw numbers with additional explanation of the numbers, I created a separate page for the chart of Weekly Testing and Cases.

Reported Cases vs. Actual

In the graph below, the blue bars represent the number of reported cases in a given week, and the orange squares represent the number of COVID cases where symptom onset or lab test occurred that week. All of the actual case total (in orange) are subject to change some over time. However, the majority of changes will occur in the final week of the graph, which is likely less than half of the final amount it will be, and the previous weeks should see smaller changes. In the fall/winter wave, test results were processed and reported fairly quickly, so the peak of cases by onset date and report date were both the week ending January 9th. In the current wave, it looks like cases by onset peaked the week ending August 28th, but cases by report date peaked the following week (week ending Sept. 4). Remember that the final week of this graph is still quite incomplete.

Reported Deaths vs. Actual

Georgia records deaths by actual date of death on their graph on the DPH web site, and I track this, so that I can report on how many of the reported deaths each week are recent deaths vs. older deaths. Deaths reported in a given week often did not occur in the past week, or even the previous week.

The following table shows when the confirmed deaths reported over the past week occurred. There was a net change of 305 confirmed deaths since last Friday.

MonthTotal DeathsChange
March ’20236
April ’201190-3
May ’20945-3
June ’20642+2
July ’201495-6
August ’202048
September ’201156+3
October ’20820+2
November ’20967
December ’211843+3
January ’213587+3
February ’211813
March ’21827+2
April ’21516+1
May ’21392+1
June ’21238
July ’21292-1
August ’212218+10
September ’212881+58
October ’21978+226
November ’217+7

You can see on the graph below that in the first half of 2021, we had a lot of weeks with a higher percentage of older deaths reported. This prevented the reported deaths from dropping quickly as we continued to audit and report deaths that occurred months ago. Now, as deaths have increased, we’re reporting a lot higher percentage of recent deaths.

You can see in the second graph below that initial death reporting in the first two weeks has been making up about half the total deaths for the week lately. During peaks, initial death reporting can be lower. Deaths peaked the week ending January 16th. Keep in mind that total deaths in Georgia are always highest in January and February, due to the normal pattern of respiratory viruses, so it’s not surprising to see an increase at this time, especially given the high case rate we saw throughout December. However, deaths by date of death dropped rapidly in February and March, and hit their lowest point of the pandemic in early July 2021.

There is often lower death reporting on Sundays and Mondays, and fluctuations from day to day, with higher days often on Tuesdays, so it remains important not to focus on the number of reported deaths in a single day. It does not reflect the number of actual deaths that actually occurred that day. Read more about how deaths are reported in Georgia.

In the graph below, the blue lines represent the number of reported deaths in a given week, and the orange squares represent the number of known COVID deaths that actually occurred that week. All of the actual death numbers (orange squares) are subject to change some over time. However, the largest changes typically occur within the final three weeks. Deaths for recent weeks, especially the latest week (which is still preliminary) will increase further over the next few weeks. It appears the week ending Sept. 4 may be the peak of deaths by date of death for this wave, with a slow decline through September.

Hospitalization Data

I have links on my Hospitalizations page to external dashboards showing more detailed hospitalization data by region. Keep in mind the numbers below only include the hospitalizations of those confirmed with COVID. A graph showing those combined numbers is available on my Hospitalizations page.

Links to Graphs