We are still in a pandemic


For the first time since January, we are on the uphill swing when we look at the 14-day change. Yesterday, nearly 70,000 cases were reported – an increase of 3%. I think we need to be reminded that we are not out of the woods yet with more states opening up and mask mandates going away.


✅ PICTURE 1: To put the 70,000 case number in context, let’s look at Picture 1:

◾ The 70,000 cases per day are equivalent to the PEAK of the summer surge.

◾ Two weeks ago (March 13th), we had 53,000 cases per day.

◾ So, 3% doesn’t may not seem like a lot but that is quite a bit MORE infections with something like COVID-19. Remember 1 case can lead to several others.

◾ The 3% increase can lead to an exponential increase again – Look at the increase in September/October 2020. See the slope increasing? That’s an exponential spread.


✅ PICTURE 2: Where is community transmission high?

◾ This map shows the percent change in positivity compared to the previous week. (This shows 3/22 compared to 3/16).

◾ 67% of US counties are in the HIGH or SUBSTANTIAL community transmission level.

✅ PICTURE 3: This leads me to discuss the 3% increase in light of the variants circulating:

◾ B.1.1.7 (this is the one that first emerged in the UK) is more transmissible, meaning exponential growth can happen quickly.

◾ B.1.1.7 is found in the majority of states now.

◾ There’s also evidence from the UK that this strain is more severe and potentially deadly.

◾ Texas, Florida, Michigan, California, Georgia, Minnesota, New Jersey – looking at you!


✅ PICTURE 4: Look at the increase in B.1.1.7 over time.

◾ This shows how quickly B.1.1.7 can spread.

◾ These bars are in 2-week increments. So, notice the increase in B.1.1.7 from 2/13 to 2/27 to 3/13.


BOTTOM LINE:

We are not at all out of the woods yet and seem to be on the upward trend again. The CDC says the upward swings are the result of spring-breakers, relaxed mandates (masks, re-openings, etc), and potentially the new variants. I agree with all of that. The good news is the vaccines (Pfizer, Moderna, J&J) seem to work well against the variants circulating. Wear those masks, distance, get the vaccines when you can, wash your hands. Remember that vaccines are better than getting sick with COVID – see yesterday’s post for all-that-data.

Stay vigilant, web-peeps!


-FNE

✅ SOURCES:

Picture 1 – https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/us/coronavirus-us-cases.html
Picture 2 – https://covid.cdc.gov/covid-data-tracker/#county-view
Picture 3 – https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/transmission/variant-cases.html
Picture 4 – https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/cases-updates/variant-proportions.html
Variant severity – https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/science/science-briefs/scientific-brief-emerging-variants.html

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