Two weeks ago I wrote about how new cases in the states of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Virginia, and Illinois were stalling out, i.e. no longer declining. Additionally, with the exception of Illinois, they were stalling at rates far higher than what we saw last summer. I wrote
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.
Two weeks hence, one of one thing inevitably occurred.
New cases are now rising in all five states. I wrote about the flat tails of the curves for the seven-day averages. A quick look at the chart shows those have swung upwards, in some cases sharply.
Two weeks ago I referenced Europe as a cautionary tale. Governments there eased up on their restrictions, cases surged, and then as hospitalisations rose, governments had to reimpose restrictions and effect new lockdowns. Europe has typically been 3–4 weeks ahead of us throughout the pandemic. So that we are now at a point where we are seeing rising cases, absolutely none of this should be surprising.
The evidence has been in our faces for weeks, plus we have the European example to look at. Reopening makes no sense until we can get case numbers lower, especially with new more virulent and lethal strains of coronavirus now circulating.
Deaths too have been trending the wrong way over the last few weeks.
We have seen the curves largely bottom out. And if you look closely, these bottoms are higher than the rates we saw last summer, in some cases more than 3× as much. This flattening occurred just a few weeks after cases began to flatten. The question becomes, will they rise in a few weeks time? Or have we vaccinated enough of our most vulnerable populations?
That’s the real wildcard.
Right now, we have only fully vaccinated about 15% of the populations of Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Illinois.
Is that enough to prevent hospitalisations and deaths in what looks like will be a fourth wave?
Credit for the piece is mine.