We need to treat it and prepare for it differently. I know you’ve heard people, including me, saying this next surge will be rougher than the others – and, that’s true because we are now in uncharted territory. We cannot emphasize that enough right now.
𝐅𝐎𝐔𝐑 𝐝𝐚𝐲𝐬 𝐚𝐠𝐨, 𝐈 𝐩𝐨𝐬𝐭𝐞𝐝 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐫𝐢𝐬𝐞 𝐢𝐧 𝐂𝐎𝐕𝐈𝐃 𝐜𝐚𝐬𝐞𝐬 – 𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐲 𝐰𝐞𝐫𝐞 𝐫𝐢𝐬𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝟔𝟐%. 𝐓𝐎𝐃𝐀𝐘, 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐫𝐢𝐬𝐞 𝐢𝐬 𝟖𝟎%.
Do you see the steep rise in the Picture 1 on this post? That is much, much higher than the first two surges we endured as a nation. The first one was the surge you remember in New York City, the second was the surge you remember in the summer from Arizona and other states.
𝐀𝐬 𝐡𝐚𝐫𝐝 𝐚𝐬 𝐭𝐡𝐨𝐬𝐞 𝐰𝐞𝐫𝐞, 𝐭𝐡𝐢𝐬 𝐧𝐞𝐱𝐭 𝐬𝐮𝐫𝐠𝐞 𝐢𝐬 𝐝𝐢𝐟𝐟𝐞𝐫𝐞𝐧𝐭 𝐭𝐡𝐚𝐧 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐨𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐫𝐬 𝐢𝐧 𝐚 𝐟𝐞𝐰 𝐤𝐞𝐲 𝐰𝐚𝐲𝐬:
1. We have widespread uncontrolled spread now (Picture 2). That’s why you are seeing the really steep rise in the picture. Compared to the other two surges, this one is steeper. Why does this matter? The steeper the rise, the harder it is to stop. The steeper the rise, the longer it is until we finally get to a peak. This peak is projected to be in January (see IHME source below).
2. Pandemic fatigue is contributing to this. People are just “over it”. Goodness, I get it. I promise you no one is more “over it” than our front-line healthcare workers who are holding the phone to a dying patient’s ear so the family can say good-bye. Being “over it” will not work with this surge. Action and compassion for our neighbors will.
3. The pandemic is hitting rural areas with very minimal advanced ICU care capacity that is needed. NM hospitals are life-flighting patients to Arizona, tent hospitals are going up in Lubbock, Texas, nurses/doctors/ER techs in Idaho, Wisconsin, Rhode Island, Texas, and probably all other states are pleading with us (see the Atlantic article in sources).
So, what do we do? 𝐓𝐡𝐞 𝐦𝐨𝐫𝐞 𝐩𝐫𝐨𝐚𝐜𝐭𝐢𝐯𝐞 𝐰𝐞 𝐜𝐚𝐧 𝐛𝐞 𝐫𝐢𝐠𝐡𝐭 𝐧𝐨𝐰 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐛𝐞𝐭𝐭𝐞𝐫. 𝐁𝐮𝐭, 𝐰𝐞 𝐚𝐫𝐞 𝐢𝐧 𝐚 𝐭𝐢𝐦𝐞 𝐨𝐟 𝐮𝐧𝐜𝐨𝐧𝐭𝐫𝐨𝐥𝐥𝐞𝐝 𝐬𝐩𝐫𝐞𝐚𝐝 𝐨𝐟 𝐂𝐎𝐕𝐈𝐃-𝟏𝟗 𝐢𝐧 𝐦𝐨𝐬𝐭 𝐨𝐟 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐜𝐨𝐮𝐧𝐭𝐫𝐲 𝐧𝐨𝐰. 𝐁𝐚𝐧𝐝-𝐚𝐢𝐝 𝐨𝐫 𝐩𝐚𝐭𝐜𝐡𝐰𝐨𝐫𝐤𝐞𝐝 𝐜𝐨𝐧𝐭𝐫𝐨𝐥 𝐦𝐞𝐜𝐡𝐚𝐧𝐢𝐬𝐦𝐬 𝐰𝐢𝐥𝐥 𝐧𝐨𝐭 𝐰𝐨𝐫𝐤 𝐚𝐧𝐲𝐦𝐨𝐫𝐞 𝐢𝐧 𝐦𝐚𝐧𝐲 𝐩𝐥𝐚𝐜𝐞𝐬. 𝐒𝐨, 𝐰𝐡𝐞𝐧 𝐲𝐨𝐮 𝐡𝐞𝐚𝐫 𝐲𝐨𝐮𝐫 𝐥𝐞𝐚𝐝𝐞𝐫𝐬, 𝐡𝐞𝐚𝐥𝐭𝐡𝐜𝐚𝐫𝐞 𝐰𝐨𝐫𝐤𝐞𝐫𝐬, 𝐞𝐩𝐢𝐝𝐞𝐦𝐢𝐨𝐥𝐨𝐠𝐢𝐬𝐭𝐬, 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐨𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐫𝐬 𝐚𝐬𝐤𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐲𝐨𝐮 𝐭𝐨 𝐝𝐨 𝐲𝐨𝐮𝐫 𝐩𝐚𝐫𝐭, 𝐩𝐥𝐞𝐚𝐬𝐞 𝐝𝐨 𝐭𝐡𝐚𝐭.
This week, I’m going to focus the posts on preparing for this surge. It will be important for us to brace mentally and physically on what the next few months will look like. I wish I could say they are exaggerating and just trying to scare people. But, they are not.
-Friendly neighbor epidemiologist
Picture 3: https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2020/11/third-surge-breaking-healthcare-workers/617091/ IHME website showing the projected cases and deaths: https://covid19.healthdata.org/global?view=total-deaths&tab=trend