80,000 Americans Will Die of Coronavirus in Three Weeks, Really?

Predictions are not reality.

21 days divided into 80,000 means that 3,810 people will succumb to the virus every day until the 23rd of January. Is that realistic? Probably not! Is it hyping a scare tactic based on a single point of data? Most likely.

Death Forecasts

https://www.newsmax.com/health/headline/coronavirus-death/2020/12/31/id/1003809/ Yes, records are being accumulated as 2020 ended. The article linked above stated that 3,740 Americans died in a single day at the end of 2020. Based on that single point of data, their prediction is that 20,000 people will die every week for the next three weeks. Why not tell the world that 100,000 people will die in four weeks? It is the same extrapolation.

CDC Forecast

https://www.cnn.com/2020/12/31/health/us-coronavirus-thursday/index.html
Twenty million people were to receive the COVID-19 vaccine by the end of December 2020. A fraction of over twelve million was recorded to have received the vaccine. The rollout is not going according to schedule. Christmas and New Year’s holiday vacations with family and friends are expected to tip the scales in favor of more new cases of COVID-19, a higher need for hospitalizations, maxed out ICU rooms, and more deaths.

Could we start 2021 with a more negative outlook? The vaccine panacea is now pushed to summer because it takes millions more people to be vaccinated until the minimum herd immunity is achieved. Even then, the powers that be will not issue a return to normalcy. Wait and see! Power is hard to give up.

The Numbers

https://twitter.com/COVID19Tracking/status/1344803255344271360 Yes, there are more cases, more hospitalizations, and more deaths. Testing is tapering off as are new cases and daily deaths. I would guess the holidays have something to do with fewer people being tested. Hospitalizations are increasing; however, the daily deaths are not. It is probably due to the 10-14-day lag time from hospitalization to a confirmed death.

We still do not know whether the death is attributed directly to coronavirus or someone had the SARS-CoV-2 virus and died of another disease. Regardless, based on the seven-day rolling average the daily death rate is 1.3% or 98.7% of the people survived. The statistics did not break down demographics, but in most cases, the significant numbers of deaths are in the group of people over 60 years of age.

On the last day of December, there were 1.7 million people tested with a seven-day average for that week equaling 1.6 million. Similarly, on the last day of the month, there were 221K new cases of COVID-19 with a seven-day rolling average of 181K. Hospitalizations were at 125K across the United States at the end of December with 121.6K representing the seven-day average. Daily deaths attributed to COVID-19 were 3,255 on the 31st of December and the subsequent seven-day average was 2,325, almost a thousand less.

Each state has its problems. Some states are having issues with ICU availability and other states are not. California has been in the news this past week with their hospitals and ICU availability stretched thin. I live in the Houston area and did a quick look at the local hospitals to see how Texans are faring at the beginning of 2021.

Texas Stats

https://www.tmc.edu/coronavirus-updates/weekly-average-of-daily-new-covid-19-positive-cases/ The weekly average of new cases is falling and has trended downward for the last four weeks. The average new cases of COVID-19 are equal to the numbers set in July. The last three weeks of December have shown a slight increase in daily numbers of hospitalizations from just under 200 per day to just under 300 per day on the seven-day average.

Nearly one-third of the 1,330 ICU Phase I beds have confirmed cases of COVID-19. Nearly a thousand more patients without COVID-19 are in ICU rooms in Houston hospitals and procedures for non-coronavirus are ops normal.

I went to the hospital for a routine outpatient procedure before Christmas and I was assured by the hospital that the COVID-19 section was securely quarantined from the rest of the hospital to ensure no cross-contamination of the virus with arriving patients. I have been collecting data on Los Angeles for a potential article. The coronavirus hospitalizations are not as easily available as in the Houston area.

Conclusion

Lies, damn lies, and statistics are alive and well in national news. Yes, there are significant increases in many of the statistics relating to COVID-19. Making future predictions based on today’s highest numbers can come back and haunt you. No, it will not because no one is held accountable for wrong numbers.

The daily deaths for a single day equaled 3,740. It implies that this level will continue for weeks to come. In reality, the weekly average was 2,325 which means in three weeks we could expect, reasonably expect just under 49,000 deaths during that time if that trend were stable. This is still a terrible number!

Is it possible that the seven-day average could exceed 4,000 in the next week or two? It is not out of the realm of possibility. Is it realistic? Probably not. Will hospitals continue to be flooded with new COVID-19 patients. Absolutely, for a while.

When will the national vaccination program turn the trend downward on new COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, and daily deaths? One would hope within three months. When the most vulnerable are being protected and given additional protections with vaccinations, then I would expect to see daily deaths dramatically decrease because that is the demographic most likely to see continued high mortality rates.

There are many logistics problems with getting the more vulnerable, the front-line health care workers, and other high-risk people (law enforcement, military, firefighters, etc.) vaccinated quickly. There is always a learning curve. People make mistakes and underestimate what it takes to undertake a task this large. I am certain that by the end of January things will be near normal. Surges at the front end are to be expected.

More vaccines are on the way. In three months, the supply and demand should be reaching equality. Personal protection will still be required for weeks or months after this summer to ensure that the next winter’s ‘surge’ of coronavirus is not significant. When most of the elderly are protected, it is possible that coronavirus mortality could be equal to seasonal influenza – over 99% of people survive it each year.

Live Longer & Enjoy Life! – Red O’Laughlin – RedOLaughlin.com

 

 


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