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  • Writer's pictureLeon Grice

Northeastern States - a closer look

As at 15 August we are highlighting that COVID-19 is again starting to spread in the Northeast even though, thankfully, daily new cases remain comparatively low. Here is an overview that shows that Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New Jersey and Delaware have high Reff numbers and inside those States are counties that are faring worse than their counterparts. We'll highlight what is happening in New Jersey and Massachusetts below. The key takeaway from our closer look is that it's time to act before new daily cases increase and grow exponentially.

But first, when reported new daily cases are comparatively low, a high Reff number does not mean an immediate deluge of new cases, but it does means the conditions are being created for exponential growth. Reff is the leading indicator, an early warning of where and how the disease is spreading. As a rough rule of thumb if a place has 100 new daily cases and Reff = 2.0 then expect a doubling of new cases in 10 to 14 days to 200 cases (all things being equal). It's worth pointing out that New York State went above Reff>1.0 about ten days ago and as at 15 August it remains marginally higher at Reff=1.05. How long Reff is above 1.0 is also an important indicator of infection spread.

New Jersey, as a State recorded Reff=1.43 on 15 August, and on the same day it reported 734 new daily cases. The six counties with the highest Reff on 15 August include Somerset (1.9), Cumberland (1.8), Passaic (1.8), Union (1.7), Hudson (1.7) and Bergen (1.5). Three weeks ago, New Jersey breached Reff=1.0 on 25 July. Steps to prevent a second wave of infections are needed in New Jersey now.

Massachusetts, as a State recorded Reff=1.35, and on the same day it reported 471 new daily cases. The six counties with the highest Reff on 15 August include Essex (1.8), Plymouth (1.7), Suffolk (1.5), Middlesex (1.5), Worcester (1.4) and Bristol (1.3). Massachusetts breached Reff=1.0 on 24 July. Steps to prevent a second of infections are needed in Massachusetts now. BTW The only New Hampshire county with an Reff>1.0 is Hillsborough which is adjacent to Massachusetts' Middlesex and Essex counties, the highest.

New York State has a gradually increasing Reff at 1.05 on 15 August, as does New York City with Reff=1.1. The State has a hotspots in Monroe County (1.85), home of Rochester City, Westchester (1.5), Onondaga (1.4) and Ulster (1.31). See Monroe County's trend in the graphs below. All screenshots from

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