Yesterday, I took a look at how Missouri and twelve other states were faring by the numbers, particularly when their differing approaches to stay-at-home orders were factored in. But, as today marks two weeks since Missouri’s statewide stay-at-home order was lifted, I wanted to take a closer look at the Show-Me State, in particular.
Over the weekend, my colleague, Kira Davis, wrote an excellent piece regarding Georgia’s results in the three weeks post-re-opening (noting the disappointment many seem to feel that Georgia hasn’t outright melted down since the lockdown ended.) One would assume Missouri wouldn’t have melted down either, particularly since we started out with lower infection and death rates than Georgia.
Sure enough, we haven’t. Tracking Missouri’s numbers since the stay was lifted on May 4th, the total number of cases has risen from 8,434 to 11,057 (so, by roughly 2,600.) Aside from a relatively large jump (5%) between the 4th and the 5th, the daily increase of cases has hovered around the 1-2% mark. The total number of deaths attributed to COVID-19 has risen from 377 to 604 (an increase of 227). Testing has increased from 82,152 to 157,044 — almost double.
In terms of cases-per-million persons, Missouri’s have risen from 1,385 to 1,802, and deaths-per-million from 62 to 98. Tests-per-million have increased from 13,490 to 25,588. (And, on that note, I’ll add that local urgent care facilities and some testing facilities are now advertising they have both COVID-19 and antibody tests available, so that’s a plus. Hopefully, we’ll see those testing totals increase significantly in the coming weeks.)
Missouri, of course, doesn’t exist in a vacuum. It’s actually moved down relative to other states, in terms of total cases. While we were sitting at around 25th overall at the time the stay was lifted, we are now 28th (and 36th in cases-per-million.) We’re 22nd in total deaths and 26th in deaths-per-million.
One thing to bear in mind is that St. Louis City and County (where over half the confirmed cases and over 70% of the deaths are/have been) have kept their stay-at-home orders in place. They are just now “re-opening” (partially) today. And so, the numbers certainly bear continued watching. Will we see a sharp uptick in another week or two? Will Missouri, in fact, start melting down as a result of its citizens no longer being locked down? I have a sneaking suspicion the answer is no, else we’d expect its neighbor the east, Illinois, which had one of the earliest stay-at-home orders issued (March 21st) — and remains under that order indefinitely — to have improved its lot relative to the other states. Where does Illinois sit? Third in total cases, sixth in total deaths.
In short, two-weeks into being “re-opened”, Missouri is still standing and the sky hasn’t fallen. Doesn’t mean the virus isn’t serious and common-sense precautions shouldn’t be continued. What it does mean is that the stay-at-home orders have likely outlived their usefulness. (Assuming their true goal was “flattening the curve,” not economic suicide.)