The following US states and territories have seen the weekly rate of new COVID-19 cases fall and the number of active cases decline:
These are therefore the places with the least difficult challenge in starting to return to normal.
Some states have seen new case rates decline and then start growing again in a second wave. These include:
This shows that the pattern of infection is not simple and can take unexpected turns. In Wyoming the number of active cases doubled overnight after a health worker went to two weekend parties following known contact with the virus and being tested. The test took several days and the health worker was confirmed positive early the following week.
Growth in new cases per week is seen in the following:
North Dakota +14.1% per day
South Dakota +11.3% per day
Wyoming +10.1% per day
Nebraska +6.1% per day
Rhode Island +5.6% per day
Iowa +4.9% per day
Maine +4.9% per day
Minnesota +4.6% per day
Massachusetts +2.9% per day
Delaware +2.5% per day
New Hampshire +2.5% per day
Mississippi + 2.2% per day
North Carolina +1.4% per day
Illinois +1.3% per day
Arkansas +1.2% per day
Maryland +1.1% per day
Colorado +1.0% per day
Connecticut +0.8% per day
New Mexico +0.6% per day
Kansas +0.1% per day
States not mentioned in the list above have a falling rate of average cases per week. This is the first milestone to be achieved in the long trek back to normality. Arizona is at -0.2% so it has achieved this first milestone with a peak of 1,420 cases per week and a current mortality rate of 3.8%
The highest reported mortality rates are in:
New York 7.3%
Puerto Rico 5.4%
These are probably higher percentages than are seen in reality, being based on confirmed cases and recorded deaths. It is likely that total cases may be as much as ten times the confirmed number or more. The number of deaths is also likely to be higher than reported, since many deaths in care homes or outside the healthcare system are likely to be missed. However the under counting of deaths is nowhere near as large as the under counting of cases.
The USA has just over 40% of the active COVID-19 cases in the world. For the other 60%, there are now 33 countries which have seen weekly new cases fall from a peak and also the number of active cases start to decline. This is the second big milestone.
Among the larger countries to achieve this second milestone are:
Focus is now shifting to the countries with the fastest rate of new cases. This includes the following countries with very large populations that are in the early stages of their waves of infection:
Singapore used to be quoted as a success story for containing the virus but is now suffering a second wave much larger than the first and new infections are growing very fast - up 19% per day.
China is starting to get back to normal, relaxing some of its stringent restrictions, but perhaps not surprisingly, its rate of new infections has risen sharply from a very low level over the past week - up 13% per day.
There are three key questions about this pandemic which will determine the success or failure of any move back to normality.
Does infection by COVID-19 confer any immunity from repeat infection?
And if it does, how strong is that immunity, total or partial?
And how long lasting is that immunity, weeks, months, years, a lifetime?
Despite all the efforts of medical researchers round the world, the answer to all those questions is - we do not know.
Without an answer to all 3 questions it is impossible to forecast the future economic trajectory with any confidence. Please bear that in mind when reading any of our commentary about the housing market.