Colorado might duck a post-Thanksgiving surge, still doing worse than U.S. in certain ways


CDC COVID-19 map, 12.11

DENVER (KDVR) — Colorado might be dodging the dreaded post-Thanksgiving surge, but that may have as much to do with its poor pre-Thanksgiving performance as anything else. Colorado’s case rates might be going down, but they remain above the national average.

Some of the state’s numbers have been improving in the past weeks while the nation’s continue to climb.

In a Dec. 10 press conference, state epidemiologist Dr. Rachel Herlihy was cautiously optimistic that the state may be avoiding a post-holiday uptick in cases, though there remains another week when those infections could surface.

Along with declining daily cases, the numbers of hospitalized patients and daily hospital admissions have gone down. The percentage of ICU beds in use has been stable for two weeks, and there are fewer hospitals predicting shortages of staff, beds or equipment than in weeks before.

Still, champagne can wait until the New Year.

Colorado’s cases are indeed trending downward while the rest of the country’s trend up, but this merely edges the state back down toward the national average. Colorado has spent the last few months far above the average and remains there even now.

At its highest, Colorado’s 7-day case average was 40% higher than the United States.

It testifies to Colorado’s massive autumn surge that it remains higher: Colorado’s 7-day case average has gone down 20% since then and the U.S. average has shot up 20% and Colorado’s average is still higher than the nation’s.

If trends continue at the same clip, Colorado could get its 7-day new case average below the U.S. in a matter of days.

The state’s case rates have even touched another statistic above the national average.

For most of the pandemic, Colorado was safer than the nation at large. A smaller percentage of its citizens got COVID-19 than the U.S. as a whole.

That changed in December. Colorado’s fall wave put its cumulative infection rate above the national average for the first time since the pandemic began. This means that even as Colorado case numbers are falling, they were so high to begin with that they propel the state case rate beyond the nation.

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