by David Lieberman
Managing Partner, Portfolio Manager
• The US passes 2M cases but the daily case growth rate falls below 1%.
• Cases are climbing in about 20 states including CA, FL, TX, MA, NC, TN, SC, UT, WA, GA, AK, AZ, KY, NM. But this is largely not reflected in an increase in hospitalizations or deaths which broadly continue to fall.
o There is a lot of media talking about states with an increase in case counts, especially on the back of the protests and reduced social distancing. However while the case counts have increased we have not seen a significant increase yet in a lot of the hospitalization or death data.
• Testing continues to grow with over 500,000 tests in a day completed for the first time on June 5th.
• The positive rate among tests has resumed falling again after stalling; a strong positive indicator that cases may resume their decline. The 7 day average positive rate has fallen to 4.6% about 14% lower than a week ago.
• Despite case growth increasing in some states, deaths and hospitalization data does not yet support the idea that the economic opening or the protests will lead to any surge in cases, hospitalizations, or deaths.
US Forecast Summary
• The total case count forecast range in the US for August 1 is remains between 2.4 and 2.7M
• The projected number of deaths for August 1 has narrowed to between 135,000 and 170,000.
• The case fatality rate (CFR%) forecast has now decreased to 5.2% on the back of the CFR% decline globally likely due to increased testing.
• The number of Covid cases globally has continued to climb slowly again and has been averaging closer to 120,000 cases daily in the past week. Cases have been shifting from developed countries to poorer developing countries.
• While cases globally have been climbing mortality rates continue to fall sharply suggesting that a lot (perhaps all or more) of the growth has been from increased testing.
• Europe continues to improve while Asia and South America continue to worsen.
• Brazil has stopped providing updates on a lot of its data and only uploads case count information daily after 10 pm to “avoid the evening news.”
• The vast majority of countries now experiencing wide growth in cases are among the poorer global countries.
• Sweden had a sharp increase in cases over 2 days which is likely due to reclassification of cases. After the 2 days spike cases have resumed at their previous levels.
• Most developed countries which have reopened have done well with cases mostly continuing to fall. So far case growth in Austria, Czechia, Denmark, and Norway have remained low and have even continued to trend lower.
• No evidence of a second wave emerging in Europe or Asia at all.
• Iran has emerged as now experiencing a bit of a second wave. In the first wave they peaked at 3,000 cases per day and have now hit that number again after declining to 1,000 cases per day. But Iran’s data is known to be unreliable. Otherwise South Korea has been stumbling along with about 50 cases per day after driving cases to near zero. Cases in South Korea are, at the moment, climbing again, albeit from low levels.
• Most other countries continue to slowly improve except for those that are still experiencing increases in their first wave. It is those countries that are driving the overall count higher.
• It is increasingly likely that we can open the economy carefully with reduced concern about a major spike in cases. But ongoing cases are likely.
All states have reopened to varying degrees but there is limited evidence of any real increase in cases. Among the states whose cases are growing the most rapidly deaths do not reflect any increase yet. While this is a lagging indicator it’s also one of the pieces of data that is more certain to be accurate and can more accurately suggest whether cases are growing in a state. Texas, whose cases are growing as per the above graph, has still sustained declines in daily deaths.
The execution of the US lockdown has been much less effectively than most any other developed nation in reducing cases and our case counts remain much more elevated because of the prior poor execution.