Thresholds for Enabling a Re-Opening of the Economy

While we certainly pride ourselves on deep, free-standing thematic research here at Nephron, the last few months have given us the opportunity to add a “daily” to our roster.  Just like the pandemic AND the data, our COVID-19 Daily Tracker is constantly changing.  While its seldom dipped below 30 pages of data-packed charts and sorely-needed perspective, we’ve attempted to stay nimble and focus on what’s most important to investors and healthcare industry stakeholders.

Over the last two weeks we have shifted our focus to the four key thresholds for enabling reopening the economy and today we have introduced new state-level dashboards tracking key case growth and testing measures as well as indicators of potential rebounds.

Incorporating CDC guidance. We have refined our initial threshold measures based on White House, National Governors Assoc. and other public health organizations to reflect the CDC guidelines that circulated last week but were not approved for distribution by the administration (with adjustments to reflect our view of important threshold metrics).

Case growth thresholds: 39 states and DC have passed.  Examining the trajectory of case growth over the last 14-days, we find that 39 states and DC have demonstrated a sustained decline of which 26 have begun to loosen social distancing measures. However, the daily case growth and five-day trend suggest 6 states may be seeing a rebound and caution is warranted in another 24. We note that AR, SD, AL, ME, ND, NC and AZ have begun to open despite continuing to show an increase in case growth.

Testing thresholds: 44 states and D.C. have passed.   As testing has expanded (trailing 7- day average run rate of 2.25mn), 44 states and D.C. have demonstrated a 14-day decline in the trend in % positive, but no state has met the CDC draft guidance for 14 consecutive days and only five have achieved our less stringent measure of 10 of the last 14 days (27 have met 8 of 14 days). The % positive remains above 10% in open states IA, AZ, NE and PA, suggesting more testing is needed.

What next? We are watching the states that are evidencing potential signs of rebound closely, including both those that have already opened (TN, IA) are about to open soon (VA and LA) or appear to be opening of their own accord (MI)

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