Us News reports today that the current (third) surge of confirmed new coronavirus cases should have everyone seriously concerned. Should we begin to be more concerned with the third, sixth, or tenth surge of coronavirus infections over the next couple of years?
Surges of coronavirus infections will continue with people quarantined, and businesses closed. There is nothing to stop them. However, should we be concerned with new cases, hospitalizations, or daily deaths?
https://www.usnews.com/news/health-news/articles/2020-10-21/new-wave-of-covid-infections-taking-hold-in-america reports that the United States is reporting nearly 60,000 new cases of COVID-19. This is based on a seven-day rolling average. We are told that the United States had not seen new COVID-19 case numbers like that since the pandemic began.
https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/country/us/ is a website I use to research coronavirus infections for both states and countries. The highest seven-day new COVID-19 infection rate was nearly 70,000 in late July (the 25th).
On the 3rd of August 1167 daily deaths (seven-day rolling average) were reported along with the need for almost 11,250 ICU beds. Between the 3rd of August and the latest reporting date, the lowest confirmed new cases of COVID-19 were about 36,000 on September 13th (seven-day rolling average) and a daily death count of 753 (seven-day rolling average). Hospital ICU beds needed that day was nearly 8,000.
October 18th had a total of 61,000 confirmed new COVID-19 cases, also on a seven-day rolling average, with daily deaths at 758 (seven-day rolling average) and hospitalization needs for ICUs at 7,500.
The middle of September had reports of 36,000 daily new cases and 753 daily deaths. Compare that to this week with 60,000 daily new cases and only 758 daily deaths (all based on a seven-day rolling average). Why should this huge increase in new COVID-19 concern me? Yes, the new COVID-19 case numbers are up, but the death rate is not.
Worrisome levels of new COVID-19 cases are gripping many people in America. https://www.nytimes.com/live/2020/10/20/world/covid-19-coronavirus-update from the New York Times is particularly concerned that colder winter weather will cause a further skyrocketing of new coronavirus cases.
More people are being tested daily. Nearly 40% of Americans have been tested to date. More tests will pick up more new cases, especially those with mild to no symptoms. The United States is experiencing increased new COVID-19 cases, but not nearly the same daily death statistics that seized the nation at that time. Daily death statistics have dropped nearly everywhere in the United States since May 2020.
The Times reported that Colorado, Illinois, Kentucky, Michigan, Montana, New Mexico, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, Utah, Wisconsin, Wyoming, and New Jersey were seeing new COVID-19 cases doubled in the past month. Allow me to look at these states. All COVID-19 numbers are based on seven-day rolling averages.
https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/usa/colorado/ shows 1071 new COVID-19 cases and 5 daily deaths on October 20th and 504 new cases and 3 daily deaths 30 days earlier. 35 daily deaths were reported in May 2020.
https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/usa/illinois/ showed similar results. 3,811 new cases on October 20th with 38 daily deaths. 30 days earlier the new daily cases averaged 1,855 with 21 daily deaths. 120 deaths were reported daily in May 2020.
https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/usa/kentucky/ looks a little different than the two states above. 1,172 new COVID-19 cases were reported on October 20th with 11 daily deaths compared to 670 new COVID-19 cases and 8 daily deaths thirty days previously. The state had better controls in the early pandemic months and peaked at 9 daily deaths in May 2020.
https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/usa/michigan/ is typical of many states. The new cases of COVID-19 on October 20th was 1,876 with 18 daily deaths compared to 719 new cases and 8 daily deaths 30 days prior. The height of daily deaths was 151 reported in April 2020.
https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/usa/montana/ represents a state sheltered at the beginning of the pandemic with one daily death in April 2020. This week shows 640 new COVID-19 cases and 5 deaths compared to thirty days ago when 182 new COVID-19 cases and 3 daily deaths were reported.
https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/usa/new-mexico/ represents a bit of a different overall view of the pandemic at the state level. This week there were 597 new COVID-19 reported daily along with 3 new deaths compared to 117 new COVID-19 cases thirty days previously with 4 daily deaths. In May 2020, 11 daily deaths were seen.
https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/usa/new-mexico/ is another late-blooming state with coronavirus cases and deaths. On October 20th, North Dakota recorded 774 new COVID-19 cases with 8 daily deaths. This compares to September 30th with 340 new cases and 3 deaths. At the height of the pandemic in April and May, North Dakota was averaging one daily death to COVID-19.
https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/usa/ohio/ has statistics that are a bit different than the states already discussed. On October 20th, there were 2,000 new COVID-19 cases reported that day along with 9 deaths. September 20th showed 991 new cases with 28 deaths. In May 2020, 50 daily deaths were the norm. However, since the first of August, daily deaths have been trending downward.
https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/usa/south-dakota/ is another example of a state under control in the early pandemic months. Yesterday, there were 731 new COVID-19 cases with 6 deaths. Thirty days ago, there were 299 new cases with 2 deaths. The height of the early pandemic shows an average of 2 daily deaths.
https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/usa/utah/ shows 1,261 new COVID-19 cases yesterday with 4 deaths compared to 920 new cases and 1 death thirty days ago. There was no early daily death peak for coronavirus in May when the daily average was around 2 per day. Utah’s highest daily death statistics averaged 6 at the beginning of August.
https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/usa/wisconsin/ shows 3,287 new COVID-19 cases this week with 18 deaths while 30 days ago the number of new COVID-19 cases were 1,720 with 5 deaths. The history of COVID-19 deaths in Wisconsin has two peaks – one with 13 daily deaths in June and 12 deaths in April.
https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/usa/wyoming/ shows some uniqueness. 223 new COVID-19 cases on the 20th of October with 1 death and 75 new cases with 1 death thirty days ago. This daily death history for Wyoming shows more days with zero deaths than any of the other states mentioned previously. The long-term daily COVID-19 death average is one per day for the state.
https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/usa/new-jersey shows an interesting trend in deaths since May – almost all downhill. In April and May, there were some days when the high-death mark was 315 daily deaths. It has been plunging downward since May. 1,054 new COVID-19 cases reported yesterday with 7 deaths. Thirty days ago, there were 439 new cases and 5 deaths.
New COVID-19 cases are increasing. No surprise there! Death rates are low and remaining low. Hospitals, in general, are not taxed for ICU space. During the height of the pandemic in April and May, hospital beds were at a premium. Coronavirus patients are not staying in hospitals as long and ventilators are not being used as much.
Colleges with returning students showed a brief uptick in the number of cases, but many colleges reported no hospitalizations and no deaths. New York City opened schools and there is no surge in coronavirus statistics. One school district in New York City with 15,000 staff and students had 18 positive cases (mostly staff) and no deaths. As a precaution, 120 public schools in Brooklyn and Queens have closed because of the spike in new cases, but not because of increased hospitalizations nor daily deaths.
The third surge is one of many to come, but the number of new cases is not a true metric of the seriousness of the disease. Yes, more infected people will result in more deaths. Vaccines are not the panacea. They will help, but there are many unknowns before true success will be attained.
What is the real measurement of coronavirus fear for me? Spikes in daily deaths would get my attention quickly. Increased hospitalization loads would be second. The number of new COVID-19 cases is a nothing burger for me unless there is evidence that hospitals cannot handle the patients, or the numbers of daily deaths become too much to bear.
Keeping people quarantined will not stop the spread of the virus. Look at the real stats to figure out what is working. The decision points developed three or six months ago may not be accurate and reasonable to make decisions today.
Live Longer & Enjoy Life! – Red O’Laughlin – RedOLaughlin.com