Coronavirus dashboard for August 24: the post BA.5 wave respite

Coronavirus dashboard for August 24: the post BA.5 wave respite

In general, things are headed in the right direction for now in the pandemic.

BIobot’s latest wastewater update from one week ago shows a 1/3rd decline in COVID particles nationwide. Here’s the regional breakdown:

The West, spearheaded by CA, is down 50%, and the South 33%. The Midwest is down the least, perhaps due to the larger % of BA.4.6 in that area. Speaking of which, here is the CDC’s latest update on variant proportions:

There has been virtually no change since one week ago. BA.5 makes up 90% of all cases, with BA.4 4%, and BA.4.6 6%. BA.4.6 makes up 16% of all cases in the Central Plains, up from 14% one week ago:

BA.4.6 is not much of a factor elsewhere.

With no new significant variant on the horizon at this point, cases have declined by about 1/3rd from their recent peak, to just over 80,000, while deaths (which lag) are still in the 575 range:

With the exception of 2 months around mid year 2021, deaths had been above 1000 per day, and as high as 2700 per day, at all times since the start of the pandemic until this past spring.

Hospitalizations have also started to decline, down over 15% since their recent peak:

If hospitalizations and deaths follow the pattern in cases, hospitalizations should be down to about 32,500 in several weeks, and deaths should gradually decrease back to about 350 thereafter.

Finally, some important demographic information. According to a study by the University of Washington, COVID remains a much more serious disease for the elderly, and for the unvaccinated.

Here is the population-adjusted breakdown by age and vaccination status of hospitalizations:

And here is the breakdown for deaths:

The information was not calculated for younger age groups because deaths among them were relatively rare.

Dr. Eric Topol also recently tweeted about the importance of older persons updating their vaccinations with booster shots:

Hopefully once the Omicron-targeting boosters become available this autumn, the Biden Administration will ramp up exhortations to older persons to become fully boosted.

In the meantime, for now there is a relative respite, which should last until either a new, fitter variant arrives, or recently acquired resistance through infections wanes.