Coronavirus dashboard for February 15: the most optimistic I have been in months
The current trend in both cases and deaths in the US has me the most hopeful I have been in over 6 months. Here’s why.
Nationwide, cases have declined to 150,000, only 30,000 above their level just before The Omicron wave started, and about 10,000 less than their Delta peak:
The Omicron wave has been almost completely symmetrical. Cases started to rise exponentially roughly on December 15. They peaked about 4.5 weeks later. Now, about 4.5 weeks after that, if the current trend continues the US will be below its level of December 15 within a week from now. Meanwhile, deaths have declined slightly to 2300 from their peak of roughly 2500 a week and a half ago. Further, in a comparative sense only, Omicron has been milder than previous waves, with more than 3x the number of infections at the US’s previous peak one year ago, but 25% fewer deaths, and only about 20% higher than their Delta peak. Still, as the graph shows, the US currently is at a level far above its summertime 2020 and 2021 levels.
As usual, there is a big divergence among the States in the course of the current wave. The worst States are still reporting over 100 cases per 100,000 population daily. the best, plus Puerto Rico, are between 12 to 25 cases per 100,000:
More granularity, here’s a list, plus relevant exemplar graphs, of where the 50 States plus DC and Puerto Rico fit in.
(1) State with less than a 50% decline: ID
(9) States with greater than 50% declines, but still above their Delta peak: AZ, CA, KY, MT, NM, NC, OR, VA, WA
(22) States below their Delta peak, but not below their level pre-Omicron: AL. AK, AR, CO, FL, GA, HI, KS, LA, MN, MS, MO, NV, ND, OK, PR, SC, TN, TX, UT, WV, WY
(16) States below their level pre-Omicron: CT, DE, DC, IL, IN, IA, MD, MS, NE, NH, NJ, NY, RI, SD, VT, WI
(3) States below both their pre-Omicron and pre- Delta onset levels: MI, OH, PA
(1) sui generis: ME, which never really had an Omicron wave, but was caught in the middle of its Delta wave when Omicron hit:
Finally, let’s take another look at cases and deaths per capita in the US focused on the last 8 weeks:
Cases have been declining at roughly 40% per week. *If* they continue to decline at that rate, the US is going to be completely below its pre-Omicron level within a week, and back to its summertime 2020 and 2021 levels within 3 weeks.
Further, the CDC’s latest report shows that Omicron has all but eliminated Delta, which was responsible for 0.0% of cases (!) in their latest weekly report. In other words, there is every reason to believe that deaths, which have lagged cases by about 3 weeks or so since the onset of Omicron, are going to fall all the way to about 500 per day by March 10.
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This is about the best, most hopeful data trend I have seen since the Delta wave started last July. Half a year ago, I thought that once Delta had burned through all the dry tinder, and once vaccinations increased enough, by this spring we might be returning to something at least close to normal. It may very well be that Omicron wound up doing the deed instead. If so, I certainly expect more variants and more waves; but it could very well be that future waves are going to be significantly smaller than either Delta or Omicron, especially in terms of deaths.
Good to know. THX
It is great to have someone around who tracks the numbers and can arrive at a conclusion. Each time NDd has done this analysis, he has been on the right side of the Covid discussion in making his points as derived from the data.
It is good to know.
i would not be so optimistic, though… i think the widespread moves to loosen or remove restrictions in several states because “people want to get back to normal” is premature, and that we’ll never get back to “normal” again…Covid is now part of the human condition, just like HIV, and it’s obviously prone to frequent mutation, so we’ll have to deal with those just as we deal with different strains of the flu every year …
while new Covid cases are now only a quarter of what they were a month ago, they’re still higher than any prior surge outside of December and January of last year, and Covid deaths, even though down a bit, are still higher than at any time other than last January and February, as you can see from NDD’s first graph above…
I am with RJS, but realistically it is only going to be us older folks who are going to be significantly impacted in terms of hospitalization and deaths and at least we have the sense to be vaccinated and boosted. Everybody else will return to the way things were in January 2020 and the immunocompromised and senior citizens be damned. That is pretty much the way things are now and the Democrats are realizing that protecting people from themselves is not going to win the midterms. I get it but just do not expect me to get as exercised about climate change, student debt, unemployment or stagnant wages.☹️
over at Naked Capitalism…as Yves has been doing lately, this post is half copied tweets which aren’t included below:
New Data: Omicron BA.2 More Contagious and Severe than BA.1, Yet Officials Committed to Relaxing Protections by Yves Smith
A new pre-print study in BioRxIv by a team of Japanese researchers, plus emerging data from the UK and South Africa, point in the same direction: that the Omicron variant BA.2 is not just outcompeting “original” Omicron, variant BA.1, but is also more pathogenic.
The article estimated BA.2 as 1.4 times as contagious as BA.1, which is consistent with BA.2 managing to gain a lot of ground against an already fabulously contagious variant. From the abstract:
This study is consistent with worrisome real-world BA.2 sightings, such as: (tweet thread)
If you read the thread, you will also see that South African officials were nevertheless trying to spin BA.2 as no worse than “mild” BA.1.
And from the UK: (tweets)
This writer is unhelpfully melodramatic, but the simple point is BA.2 is on the march in countries credited with heretofore doing a pretty good job of Covid containment:
Now to the new paper, which is getting a lot of media play. Keep in mind that this study performed a considerable number of in vitro tests to try to understand the mechanics of BA.2, plus also infected hamsters to approximate in vivo effects in humans. So on the one hand, these findings are not yet dispositive. But on the other, these various tests pointed generally in the same direction, that BA.2 is both more evasive of existing immunity (vaccine and infection conferred) and more dangerous than BA.1. Consider this discussion:
Admittedly, humans may be less susceptible to BA.2 lung damage than hamsters, but the hamster results indicate that BA.2 attacks the lungs more than BA.1 did. We could be back to the old normal of long stays in hospitals to try to contain Covid-induced viral pneumonia:
looks like the next vaccine resistant Covid mutation was evolving as we boostered up to beat the last one…