Public Health

When Will Coronavirus Peak & End - Data From 50 U.S. States

Khang T. Vuong19 Oct 2020


In this article, we will use the data and findings from this research to answer two questions

  • (1) When will the Coronavirus outbreak peak in 50 states?
  • (2) How long will it last - or when will coronavirus end?

Before you read, here are some definitions of terms we will be using:

  • Peak: maximum hospital resource utilization and deaths associated with COVID-19.
  • Epidemic: an increase in the number of cases of a disease (in this case COVID-19) above what is normally expected in that population in that area.
  • Pandemic: an epidemic that has spread over several countries or continents, usually affecting a large group of people.
  • Self-quarantine: isolating one from other individuals for a period of time.


When Will Coronavirus COVID-19 Peak in 50 States?

The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) reported that the peak in daily deaths due to COVID-19 cases in the United States was on April 14th, 2020 and the peak in hospital resource use was April 19th, 2020. However, it is projected that resource use will increase again in the fall and winter. It is important to note that there is considerable variation in the peak dates by state. State Health Departments advise that all residents practice physical distancing and self-quarantine to slow down the spread of the virus.

The projected dates for mean peak hospital resource use by state are listed below. Dates will change weekly so be sure to check back for the most up-to-date information on your state. Some peak dates are estimated to occur in the winter and next spring, as the virus may be spread more easily once cities are reopened and social distancing protocols are relaxed. Most recent data from October 2nd, 2020:

StatePeak Hospital Resource Use Prediction
New Mexico12/27/2020
North Carolina1/1/2021
North Dakota10/19/2020
Rhode Island12/1/2020
South Dakota1/1/2021
West Virginia1/1/2021

States not listed have passed their peak dates. Some past peak dates include: 

  • Connecticut: April 20th, 2020
  • Louisiana: April 10th, 2020
  • Massachusetts: April 24th 2020\
  • New Jersey: April 15th, 2020
  • New York: April 12th, 2020

During the peak time, if you have non-life-threatening health needs, do not seek care at the emergency room - urgent care or virtual care may be better options. If you have a high deductible or no insurance, here is an article with more information about the cost of treatment and testing.


What Causes Infections to Peak? 2 Lessons From The 1918 Flu

On September 17, 1918, Philadelphia identified its first case of a fast-spreading Influenza strain. The city hosted a parade with 200,000 people and in one month, cases rose to over 20,000.

In contrast, NYC was quick to respond with mandatory quarantine and staggered business hours. As a result, NYC had the lowest death rate out of all East Coast states in 1919.

Lesson from the 1918 flu from Philadelphia and New York City

This curve can be compared to a "wave" of coronavirus cases. When more people get infected, the curve starts to go up. Depending on how quickly cases rise, you can have a very sharp curve or a "hill-like" curve.

According to McKinsey, individuals with coronavirus could spread the disease to two or more people. This has a network effect and causes a community spread. As more confirmed cases rise, the curve will "peak". At some point, the curve will start going down because people develop immunity or mass deaths - the virus will "run out" of people to infect.

The peak here refers to the date when the curves hit its highest point, correlates to the most confirmed cases of coronavirus within in a given state or city. Although it may seem like many states have surpassed their peaks in coronavirus cases, it is crucial that we continue to practice social distancing in order to prevent a second wave this fall.


Will There Be a Second Wave?

At this point, many health experts predict that there will be a second wave of coronavirus this winter. This second wave will largely be caused by the cold weather, children attending school, easing of social distancing requirements, and lack of mask-wearing. In addition, there may be additional strain on the health care systems due to flu season 2020-2021. Therefore, it is highly important that everyone continues to wear a mask,  practices social distancing, and gets a flu shot by the end of October 2020. See our article for locations you can get a free flu shot in New York City. 


How to Avoid a Bad Second Wave of COVID-19

The best ways to control the spread of coronavirus are to practice social distancing and wear a mask. According to many health officials and the Center for Disease Control (CDC) Director, Dr. Robert Redfield, the widespread use of cloth face coverings will play a crucial role in mitigating the spread of COVID-19 in the coming months.

If everyone wears a mask, the transmission of COVID-19 can be controlled and contained in just a couple of months. Check out our article Should I Wear a Mask? for more information on when to wear a mask, what type of mask to wear, and how to properly wear a mask to protect yourself and others.

Below is a projection for daily deaths in the United States created by This projection shows three scenarios:

  1. Projection (depicted in purple) shows the projected daily death rates if mask use continues at the current rates. In this scenario, there is a gradual easing of social distancing and it is assumed that strict mandates are re-imposed for 6 weeks if the daily death rate reaches 8 deaths per million people.
  2. Easing (depicted in red) shows the projected daily death rates if mask use continues at the current rates. In this scenario, there is a gradual easing of social distancing; however, it is assumed that strict mandates will not be re-imposed even if the death rate significantly increases.
  3. Masks (depicted in green) shows the projected daily death rates if mask use rises to 95% in the next 7 days. In this scenario, there is a gradual easing of social distancing and it is assumed that strict mandates are re-imposed for 6 weeks if the daily death rate reaches 8 deaths per million people.

Based on these projections, it is clear that the universal acceptance of wearing masks will significantly decrease the daily deaths and spread of COVID-19 this fall.

3 projections for COVID-19 daily deaths. Source:

Additionally, by January 2021 there will likely be a vaccine on the market for COVID-19. Once the vaccine becomes available and widely distributed, there will be an increase in immunity to the virus on a population scale. There are currently several vaccine candidates racing to get an effective COVID-19 vaccine to the market. 


How Long Will It Last? When Will Coronavirus End?

This is a complex question because as social distancing and self-quarantine become the new normal, many things we took for-granted pre-COVID-19 will change. Per the reopening guidelines, there were 3 phases in most states which could last up to 30 days each. Most states have already reopened most of society; however, that does not mean that COVID-19 is gone. 

Forecasting when the coronavirus outbreak will end is difficult. First, because "end" as a definition is not clearly defined. Here, we will use the scientific definition - when the daily death rate drops below 0.3 per million - as the indicator of the end of this pandemic in an individual state.

Although the development of a coronavirus vaccine will likely take until at least January 2021, states are using other measures to open up society again. Prediction programs estimate that the spread of COVID-19 on a global scale will be much lower by December 2020; however, with the implementation of social distancing, wearing masks, and antibody/PCR tests, the United States will begin functioning again before there is a vaccine. Read our article for more information on the reopening, of salons, gyms, and restaurants in the 50 states.


When Will the U.S. Reopen?

There are three phrases of reopening according to the CDC guidance. Each state has a different timeline for reopening that is planned in order to increase disease control and prevention. As of August, New York City has entered Phase 4 of reopening.

Even if your region has fully reopened, it is imperative to continue to practice social distancing and wear a mask to protect those around you from COVID-19. Read more about reopening guidelines.


Am I At Risk For COVID-19?

While we are facing a Coronavirus outbreak, not all coughs and fever are signs of COVID-19. With that being said, if you have symptoms, take drastic measures and treat it like you are positive and practice self-quarantine. For a comprehensive list of where to get tested for COVD-19 in New York City, see our article here.

Click here to take our FREE COVID assessment.


Healthcare Can Be Confusing, Here Are More Resources:



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