Unexpectedly Intriguing!
21 April 2021

Not much has changed over the last two weeks with respect to COVID trends in Arizona. Which is very good news.

That's because of what didn't happen after Arizona's economy fully reopened, which we mark from the lifting of capacity limits on businesses such as bars, restaurants, gyms, and others that would be considered prime territory for spreading coronavirus infections. What didn't happen is significant, because instead of developing a rising trend for COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, ICU bed usage, and deaths as it did after its first reopening attempt following its first wave of COVID-19, Arizona has instead experienced steady, relatively flat levels for all these measures. What had looked like the potential stalling of a previous trend of improvement is really demonstrating the benefits of the widespread deployment of Operation Warp Speed's vaccines in Arizona. The protections offered by the vaccines are enabling the gains of improvement to be sustained. Even as the kind of activities that would have previously resulted in the reversal of a positive trend for coronavirus infections have expanded.

That's evident in the latest updates to the four charts tracking the trends for each of these measures based on Arizona's high quality data for the numbers of new cases by test sample collection date, hospitalizations by date of admission, deaths by date as recorded on death certificates, and ICU bed usage.

Arizona Positive COVID-19 Test Results by Date of Sample Collection, 1 January 2020 - 19 April 2021
Arizona New COVID-19 Hospitalizations by Date of Admission, 1 January 2020 - 19 April 2021
Arizona New COVID-19 Deaths by Date of Death Certificate, 1 January 2020 - 19 April 2021
Arizona COVID-19 ICU Bed Usage, 10 April 2020 - 19 April 2021

Since our last update, the trend for cases has continued moving sideways, with the trends for both hospitalizations and ICU bed usage now following suit. It will take a little more time to see if the dataset for deaths attributed to COVID-19 will follow the same pattern, but the early indicators are that it will.

The next time we look at Arizona's high quality COVID-19 data, we'll be looking to confirm the answer to a very different question.

Previously on Political Calculations

Here is our previous coverage of Arizona's experience with the coronavirus pandemic, presented in reverse chronological order.


We've continued following Arizona's experience during the coronavirus pandemic because the state's Department of Health Services makes detailed, high quality time series data available, which makes it easy to apply the back calculation method to identify the timing and events that caused changes in the state's COVID-19 trends. This section links that that resource and many of the others we've found useful throughout the coronavirus pandemic.

Arizona Department of Health Services. COVID-19 Data Dashboard: Vaccine Administration. [Online Database]. Accessed 20 April 2021.

Stephen A. Lauer, Kyra H. Grantz, Qifang Bi, Forrest K. Jones, Qulu Zheng, Hannah R. Meredith, Andrew S. Azman, Nicholas G. Reich, Justin Lessler. The Incubation Period of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) From Publicly Reported Confirmed Cases: Estimation and Application. Annals of Internal Medicine, 5 May 2020. https://doi.org/10.7326/M20-0504.

U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. COVID-19 Pandemic Planning Scenarios. [PDF Document]. Updated 10 September 2020.

More or Less: Behind the Stats. Ethnic minority deaths, climate change and lockdown. Interview with Kit Yates discussing back calculation. BBC Radio 4. [Podcast: 8:18 to 14:07]. 29 April 2020.

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