A curve ball? As West Virginia reopens, statistics for last month show new cases increased 75 percent, deaths increased 278 percent

WV Press Report

CHARLESTON — In West Virginia — and across the nation — “the curve” has been replaced by “the percentage” as the key monitoring tool for the spread of the Coronavirus. 

In February, March and early April, residents were told to watch for the curve, which is influenced by the grow of new cases each day. It was said to be the best indicator that social distancing was working. 

However, in late April and May, the government began focusing on the percentage of new cases compared to the number of coronavirus tests being given in West Virginia each day. The percentage is influenced by the number of tests being given each day.

The two tools monitor different elements of coronavirus tracking and generate vastly different results. 

Graphics distributed by the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources show West Virginia has had a decline in the percentage but is throwing a “fastball”, not a “curve” with a continuing upward trend of cases. 

On April 19, West Virginia’s percentage of new cases compared to the number of tests given was at 4.91 percent. As of May 19, that percentage is 1.93 percent. That’s a marked decline. 

However, West Virginia had 863 cases on April 19 and has 1,509 on May 19. That is an increase of 646 cases, or a 75-percent increase. On April 19, the state had 18 deaths and a month later that number is 68. That’s an increase of 278 percent. 

The WVDHHR coronavirus dashboard graphics found on their website document both trends. The number of cases continues to climb while the percentage of cases compared to testing continues to decline. 

The two monitoring tools show dramatically different results using data from the same one-month period.