It’s beaches, more than protests or ending lockdowns, driving up coronavirus cases in the U.S.

Kent Kroeger
7 min readJun 11, 2020

By Kent R. Kroeger (June 11, 2020)

The arch to the boardwalk of Ocean City, Maryland at North Division Street (Photo by User:Dough4872; Used under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.)

“More than a dozen states and Puerto Rico are recording their highest seven-day average of new cases since the pandemic began, hospitalizations in at least nine states have been on the rise since Memorial Day,” says The Washington Post. “In Texas, North and South Carolina, California, Oregon, Arkansas, Mississippi, Utah and Arizona, there are an increasing number of patients under supervised care since the holiday weekend because of covid-19 infections.”

“While the recent mass protests could exacerbate its spread, the incubation period of the (corona)virus means this latest rise in cases can more likely be traced to a loosening of lockdown restrictions around Memorial Day weekend late last month,” writes The Guardian’s Tim Walker.

Given the evidence — both in terms of new cases and hospitalizations — its an easy conclusion to draw.

Unfortunately, most news accounts of the recent rise of coronavirus cases in some (mostly southern) U.S. states misses the bigger story.

According to the following analysis of Johns Hopkins University Center for Systems Science and Engineering’s daily coronavirus data, the recent rise in coronavirus cases is connected more to the opening of warm, sunny beaches along America’s coastlines — particularly the Atlantic and Gulf Coast beaches where those states are also among the earliest to loosen lockdown restrictions (see Figure 1). But the increase is also evident in California where beaches were opened for the Memorial Day weekend, despite the state maintaining its general statewide lockdown.

Figure 1: New COVID-19 cases in U.S. Coastal States (7-day moving average)

Data source: Johns Hopkins University (CSSE); Graph by Kent R. Kroeger (

In terms of sheer numbers, California, Florida and Texas have experienced the largest increases in daily new COVID-19 cases since the Memorial Day weekend (May 23–25). As of June 9th, California’s 7-day moving average of new cases each day is around 2,750 — its highest levels ever.

Kent Kroeger

I am a survey and statistical consultant with over 30 -years experience measuring and analyzing public opinion (You can contact me at: