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Data: Comparing COVID-19 in Arizona to 2020 going into Christmas

Covid holidays data
Posted at 1:32 PM, Dec 18, 2021

PHOENIX — Last year, between Thanksgiving and Christmas, Arizona’s COVID-19 pandemic was spreading rapidly. So far this year the growth remains flat.

The seven-day average of newly-added COVID-19 cases in both 2020 and 2021 began the holiday season with nearly identical trendlines, with 3,964 and 3,931 respectively. Cases continued to climb in 2020, rising about 70% by Christmas Day. This year, COVID-19 cases have decreased by 22% in 2021 so far.

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Another way to look at COVID-19 growth is the velocity of the pandemic.

By Thanksgiving Day in 2020, cases had already accelerated to an 80% daily growth rate.

This year, acceleration was much slower, with an average daily growth rate of 20%. The most recent data shows that growth is currently flat, even decreasing by a little over 1%.

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This is good news for the state since the hospitals are already strained.

The self-reported COVID-19 hospital metrics are already reporting that they are more than 95% full. This same data point only ever reached around 92% full during the height of last winter’s surge.

The big variable in all of this is omicron.

So far, the largest COVID-19 genome sequencer in Arizona is only reporting 15 confirmed cases, although the number is likely much higher since Arizona does not sequence every COVID-19 test conducted.

The data suggests that the rate of growth is much faster than the delta variant. It is also too early to tell how it will eventually impact COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths. But what is clear is that hospitals are already at capacity.