Last week I wrote about how our progress in dealing with Covid-19 was stagnating. To put it simply, this past week did not get any better on that front.
In Pennsylvania, Delaware, and Illinois we see that the flattened tail I described last week, well remained a flattened tail. In Delaware, we see more movement, but the average of the average, if you will, is flat over the last two weeks. And in New Jersey, where I mentioned some signs of rising numbers, we see a clearly rising number of new cases over the last week. Only in Virginia are numbers heading down, and those are shallowing out.
The problem here is that in Pennsylvania and Delaware, the new case rate, whilst flat, is well above the summer rate of low transmission. This means that the environment is ripe for a new surge of cases if people stop following social distancing and begin resuming indoor activities with other people. Sadly, both those things appear to be occurring throughout the US.
In Europe we see a cautionary tale. They too saw their holidays peaks decline and the national governments began easing restrictions on their populations. Within the last several days, however, new cases have begun to surge. Italy has gone so far as to announce a new lockdown. Other governments are considering the same.
If the United States cannot resume pushing its numbers of new cases down, it could well follow Europe into a new wave of outbreaks that would threaten lockdowns and push back our eventual return of normalcy.
None of this would be an issue if vaccinations were nearing herd immunity levels. However, in the states we cover, nowhere is above 12% fully vaccinated.
Pennsylvania now lags behind the other two states. But at least the Commonwealth is over 10% fully vaccinated.
And of course, the problem under this dire scenario is that deaths could rise once again, though at this point the most vulnerable are in the middle of being vaccinated. Indeed, if we look at the last week, we see the good news for the week, that deaths are headed down in all five states.
Previously, Virginia had been working through a backlog of death records, but those appear now cleared. We are not quite back to summer-level lows, but we are steadily approaching them.
The big question this week will be what happens to those new cases numbers. Today’s data, Monday, will likely show lower numbers because of lower testing on the weekend. But starting Tuesday, what do we see over the course of the next five days?
Credit for the piece is mine.