I wandered through various websites looking for a topic to write about today, and I noticed a positive headline about the pandemic virus. CDC: US COVID Cases, Hospitalizations Down 15 Percent from Last Week https://www.newsmax.com/health-news/covid-hospitalization-cases-down/2021/10/01/id/1038743/
I thought that was good news. The trend is going downward. The very next article I find has the headline – US COVID Cases Falling, but Hospitals Brace for Next Wave https://www.newsmax.com/finance/streettalk/virus-outbreak/2021/10/01/id/1038789/
There is always a ‘but’ when it comes to reporting good news about the pandemic. At least, that is what I have observed closely over the past year-plus. Why? I am confident that it is the hallmark of ‘if it bleeds, it leads’ mindset of reporting agencies.
I believe Americans have endured negative news on so many fronts that a few positive headlines and stories might be needed. Unless there are other reasons!
Hospitalizations for COVID-19
https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/covid-data/covidview/index.html. The first link above tells us that hospitalizations are down 15%. That is excellent news. The last week of September reported just over 8,300 new cases (seven-day average) admitted to hospitals across America. The seven-day average for the prior week was nearly 9,800.
Statistically, the trend line is downward for new COVID-19 hospitalizations at about the same rate we experienced in February 2021. Pandemic deaths were around 2,000 a week a short while ago, and the latest seven-day average is reported at just under 1,500.
The Next Wave?
https://www.smh.com/blog/flu-season-2021-2022-what-you-need-to-know. I remember a year ago when the health gurus told us that a Twindemic was approaching – rapidly. Seasonal influenza and coronavirus were going to team up and cut a wide swath across the United States in the winter of 2020-21. It did not happen. The last eight weeks of 2020 and the first sixteen weeks of 2021 showed the lowest outpatient illness rate in the past decade.
Will a Twindemic hit in the 2021-22 winter season? The experts are telling us that we should prepare for it. Stand by; it is coming! https://www.cdc.gov/flu/season/faq-flu-season-2020-2021.htm
The 2020-21 seasonal influenza season almost did not happen. Very high levels of testing accompanied almost record-setting flu shots being given to the populace. Over 800,000 respiratory specimens were tested for the influenza virus between September 2020 and May 2021 with a 0.2% positive rate.
A few years ago (2017-18), over 60,000 people died from seasonal influenza, yet, by March of 2021, less than 500 people died from seasonal influenza during the winter of 2020-21. https://www.prevention.com/health/a34671428/how-many-people-die-from-flu/
Is the Twindemic real or not? No one knows. It is estimated that flu season always happens over the winter months, and flu viruses thrive in colder weather and have a higher incidence of people collecting together indoors. Seasonal influenza affects adults over 65 and children younger than two years of age more than any other demographic.
COVID Demographic Stats
https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/covid-data/investigations-discovery/hospitalization-death-by-age.html. Using the 18–29-year-old demographic as the reference group, those under 18 years of age are at much lower risk of infection, hospitalization, and death from COVID-19. Older adults (over 65 years of age) have a higher risk of infection than all younger demographic groups.
Hospitalization from COVID-19 is more definitive, with the risk increasing to twice for those under 50 to four times for those over 50 and younger than 64. Then, the risk rises again to five times for those 65 to 74 years of age and then nearly doubles and continues to increase as you get older.
Deaths from COVID-19 show similar trends to hospitalizations, with the 30–39-year-old group at four times the risk of the reference group. The death risk increases to ten times for those in their 40s. The risk appears to go upward nearly exponentially after age 64.
Infection, hospitalization, and deaths from seasonal influenza are not consistent across the board for COVID-19.
No one disagrees that the COVID-19 vaccine reduces the severity of symptoms, lowers the risk of hospitalization, and lowers the death rate. Yet, more vaccinated people are diagnosed with coronavirus every day. Some people, because of their job, are tested daily. The governor of Texas became infected recently, many months after being vaccinated. One Supreme Court Justices was told today that he tested positive for the pandemic virus, and he had completed his vaccine regimen at the beginning of 2021.
Why? No one knows. The vaccine will not stop the spread of the virus, so vaccinated people can become infected and infect others, especially if they are asymptomatic. Is the efficacy of the vaccines waning? Again, no one knows for sure. Will the booster shot help? One would hope, but we do not know how often a booster shot will be needed.
I do not think the American public will want to be getting a booster shot every six-eight-or-ten months. We were told the vaccine was the panacea, and once everyone was vaccinated, the virus would die out on its own. Herd immunity would reign. It appears that herd immunity is no longer a potential with the vaccine not stopping the spread of the disease.
The number of new COVID-19 cases continues to drop at dramatic rates – from a high of over 167,000/day (seven-day average) at the beginning of September to just slightly over 110,000 at the end of September. Daily deaths from COVID-19 lag the new cases by ten-fifteen days. As a result, the stats for daily deaths are sliding rapidly also.
Headlines come and go. Most of the time they are not positive, but if you look deep enough, there is some silver to be found most of the time. Continue with personal protections, and hopefully, you will have no worries from the upcoming flu season.
Live Longer & Enjoy Life! – Red O’Laughlin – RedOLaughlin.com