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US Southern States COVID19 Cases – Let’s Give Credit Where Due

The number of new COVID 19 cases has been falling in the Northeast, but the South is not having the same experience. The number of new cases per day in each Southern state has been rangebound for the past month.

And that’s assuming that the numbers haven’t been manipulated. We know that in Georgia’s case at least, they have been. And there are suspicions about Florida as well, as the State now engages in a smear campaign against the fired employee who built its much praised COVID19 database and dashboard.

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The charts below show the total number of cases normalized by population on a cases per 100,000 basis.

To avoid crimping the scale of the chart below for the bulk of the states, I have plotted Louisiana separately.

Texas (blue line) started slow but has been accelerating. It has caught up with South Carolina. The two lines are now at the same point on the graph.

Charts Source: https://datausa.io/coronavirusCOVID19 Cases US Southern States

Louisiana had a huge early surge due to Mardi Gras. Since reaching 450 cases per 100,000 its growth rate has been similar to Mississippi’s. Seen another way, Mississippi’s case growth has mirrored Louisiana’s post Mardi Gras surge. 

I wondered why Mississippi has caught up with Louisiana’s case growth rate. The answer may lie in the fact that Missippians have gone back to shopping and recreational activities more than Lousianans have.

Florida is middle of the pack in terms of total cases per capital. I wondered why it has done better than some states. The answer, again, appears to be that Floridians stayed home. Retail, restaurant, and recreation facilities were allowed to reopen at reduced capacities on May 4 in all but Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach Counties. They reopened May 18. Google mobility reports show Floridians going to retail stores or recreation sites remained down 33% from normal levels as of May 20.

The next biggest difference is Louisiana, which is down only 26%, then Texas, down 23%. The remaining southern states are down less than that, with Mississippi down only 8%.

Florida has the highest percentage of retirees and elderly people of any state in the US. As the highest risk group, it’s understandable that they are staying home more.

Governor DeSantis takes credit for Florida’s better than expected performance in the numbers of COVID19 cases and deaths. Perhaps he should give the credit to Florida’s elderly, decrepit, cautious citizens living on death’s door, like me. We know how to respect a good pandemic when we see one.

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Lee Adler

I’ve been publishing The Wall Street Examiner and its predecessor since October 2000. I also publish LiquidityTrader.com, and was lead analyst for Sure Money Investor, of blessed memory. I developed David Stockman's Contra Corner for Mr. Stockman. I’ve had a wide variety of finance related jobs since 1972, including a stint on Wall Street in both sales, analytical, and trading capacities. Prior to starting the Wall Street Examiner I was a commercial real estate appraiser in Florida for 15 years. I was considered an expert in the analysis of failed properties that ended up in the hands of bank REO divisions, the FDIC, and the RTC. Remember those guys? I also worked in the residential mortgage and real estate businesses in parts of the 1970s and 80s. I have been charting stocks and markets and doing analytical work since I was a teenager. I'm not some Ivory Tower academic, Wall Street guy. My perspective comes from having my boots on the ground and in the trenches, as a real estate broker, mortgage broker, trader, account rep, and analyst. I've watched most of the games these Wall Street wiseguys play from right up close. I know the drill from my 55 years of paying attention. And I'm happy to share that experience with you, right here. 

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