Illness onset refers to the date when a patient with a confirmed case actually started getting sick. The metric can offer a better trend gauge than number of new cases due to reporting delay, but has its own shortcomings because most, but not all, known cases are reported.

Up until the last full week in April, the number of COVID illnesses starting on any given day peaked on April 6 with 174 people reported first having symptoms. Since then, the peak has moved toward the tail of the graph, meaning more recent, and jumped higher — in addition to clustering with other high points. As of the last weekend in April, for the first time, this chart shows most cases ever in the past few days, on April 20 at 214, and the two next highest points in the last two weeks as well — a departure from previous trends. Both single day reports and averaging the number of illnesses weekly show variability without a steady downward trend.

View all of our COVID-19 interactive charts here.

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Alex Rozier

Alex Rozier, a native of New York City, is Mississippi Today’s data reporter. He analyzes data and creates visuals that further inform our reporting. He also reports on the environment, transportation and Mississippi culture and is a member of the engagement team. Alex, whose work has appeared in the Boston Globe and Open Secrets, has a bachelor’s in journalism from Boston University.

Erica Hensley

Erica Hensley, a native of Atlanta, has been working as an investigative reporter focusing on public health for Mississippi Today since May 2018. She is a Knight Foundation fellow for our newsroom’s collaboration with local TV station WLBT and curates The Inform[H]er, our monthly women and girls’ newsletter. She is the 2019 recipient of the Doris O'Donnell Innovations in Investigative Journalism Fellowship. Erica received a bachelor’s in print journalism and political science from the University of Southern California Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism and a master’s in health and medical journalism from the University of Georgia Grady College for Journalism and Mass Communication.