Home / Health / Articles / New hotspots and four more things recent data says about the pandemic

COVID-19’s effect on health, economy, and transportation has evolved since the health crisis began earlier this year. High case counts have shifted from one part of the country to others. Meanwhile, other data shows how travel and the economy have picked up since spring, but has a way to go to full recovery.

Here are five ways that government data shows how COVID-19 is affecting the nation. (Read the June version here.)

Hotspots for COVID-19 cases shifted from the Northeast in spring to big counties in the South this summer.

In April, the US recorded an average 29,219 new known cases every day. Four states accounted for 49.4% of all cases – New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, and Illinois. Since June 1, these four states account for 6.1% of all cases.

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Since June 1, the US has had an average of 37,596 new cases per day, 28.7% higher than in April. Four different states — Florida, California, Texas, and Arizona — account for 48.2% of all new cases. In the first half of July, during which there was an average of 56,830 reported new cases, these four states accounted for 52.4% of the cases.

This shift is noticeable at the county level as well. Using seven-day averages for new cases as of July 15, 22 of the 30 counties with the most cases were in these four states.

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Los Angeles County in California, Maricopa County (where Phoenix is located) in Arizona and Miami-Dade County in Florida have all recorded 7-day averages of more than 2,000 cases. The previous high belongs to Cook County in Illinois, home of Chicago, which in early May recorded a daily average of 1,482 cases.

The locations of COVID-19 deaths have shifted as well.

Through May 31, there were at least 103,563 COVID-19 related deaths in the United States. Four states accounted for 51.9% of those deaths – New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, and Pennsylvania.

Between June 1 and July 15, there were 32,723 reported COVID-19 deaths. (This includes a single-day addition in New Jersey of 1,854 deaths categorized as “probable” coronavirus deaths.) The top four states – New Jersey, California, New York, and Florida – had 35.7% of the deaths.

There were 9,708 reported deaths in the first half of July with California, Texas, Florida, and Arizona with the most deaths. These states account for 42.4% of those deaths

Share of COVID-19 deaths by state

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As of July 15, about 42 out of 100,000 Americans died of COVID-19. (Another way to put: 1 out of every 2,404 people.)

People are returning to the airport, albeit very slowly.

Tracking the number of people flying, and where they are departing from, can help understand not only how the economy is changing but also where people are traveling from in the country.

Air travel hit record lows in April. On 10 separate days, fewer than 100,000 passengers cleared Transportation Security Administration (TSA) checkpoints at all commercial airports in the country.

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Air travel has increased somewhat, but is below where it was in March before the pandemic shutdown, let alone summer 2019.

Between July 10 to July 16, the TSA screened an average of 670,664 passengers every day, 74% lower than the 2.6 million average during the same week in 2019.

While data on specific airports is not as recent, it also shows that air travel has a long way to go to return to previous levels. Between June 21 and June 27, a daily average of 334,910 passengers went through security at the 30 largest airports. The same week in 2019, the daily average was 1,691,903.

TSA screenings June 21-27, 2020 compared to the same week in 2019

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Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport has had the most significant recovery of traffic, with about 36% of the passenger traffic the week of June 21 to June 27 compared with the year before. At the other end of the spectrum is New York City’s John F. Kennedy Airport with 8% of the passengers from the year before.

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May was the best month for new hires since the Great Recession, but that didn’t make up for the layoffs this spring.

One way to look at the job market is to look at the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ (BLS) Jobs Openings and Labor Turnover Survey data, which documents monthly changes in hiring, separations, and openings.

In March and April, 15.5 million more people left their jobs — mostly through layoffs — than were hired. In May, 2.3 million more people were hired than those who left their jobs, the best monthly result since the survey began in 2000.

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What’s unclear is how much hiring will continue. There were 5.4 million job openings in May, up from 4.9 million in April. Together, the two months represent the smallest number of openings since 2015.

There were fewer job openings in May than in the same month in 2019 in every industry, including 46% fewer jobs in three sectors: leisure and hospitality, real estate, transportation, and utilities. Two sectors with notably less decline are retail (10% fewer) and government (7% fewer).

Unemployment filings, which is a different measure of how the job market is performing, have slowed. Still, each of the last 17 weeks has had at least 1.3 million in new claims.

Job Openings in May 2019 and May 2020

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The federal government is spending more than ever.

In June, the federal government spent $1.1 trillion, beating its previous record of $980 billion in April.

The largest share of federal spending in June was in the Small Business Administration (SBA) which is administering the Paycheck Protection Program, enacted in March as a way for small businesses to borrow money and keep employees working during the pandemic. In June, the SBA accounted for $511 billion, or 46% of all federal spending.

The Department of Labor, which works with state agencies to provide unemployment benefits including the $600 per week increase implemented in the spring, spent $116.7 billion or 11% of spending.

Federal spending by selected departments and agencies

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While spending is up, revenue for the federal government is down. In June, the federal government brought in $241 billion, down 29% from the June before. It has taken in less money every month since April, though this is partially due to changing the deadline for income tax returns from April 15 to July 15.

Keep track of COVID-19’s effect on the nation with this daily COVID-19 case tracker and the COVID-19 Recovery Hub.

Various state and local agencies
Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS)
Bureau of Fiscal Service