‘COVID Surges’ – Separating Truth from Hype

The Savage Nation:

In recent days we’ve been seeing some burning headlines: “Alabama in trouble!”, “Texas surging!”. Yes, the reported cases in various states ARE INDEED going up. But let’s take a calm rational look at what is behind the numbers.

Some articles take care to point out that testing has also increased, but then go on to say “that’s not enough to explain the increase in cases.” Perhaps testing doesn’t explain ALL the cases, but perhaps it explains ENOUGH cases that we don’t really have a catastrophe.

Another thing that the “burning” articles are sloppy about, is where the cases are coming from. In California, for example, a lot are coming from PRISONS. In other states, a lot are coming from NURSING HOMES.

Here is some calm rational truth. We compare the last two weeks of covid data (July 1-14) to the previous 13 weeks (April 1 – June 30) for two “hot spot” states, Alabama & Texas.

ALABAMA

Tests per week have DOUBLED:

  • April 1 – June 30: 35,000
  • July 1-14: 73,000

Positive case rate (percent positive) has only inched up:

  • April 1 – June 30: 10%
  • July 1-14 cases rate: 11%

Death rate among those who test positive HAS DROPPED

  • April 1 – June 30: 2%
  • July 1-14: 1%

TEXAS

Tests per week have MORE THAN DOUBLED

  • April 1 – June 30: 156,266
  • July 1-14: 364,350

Positive case rate (percent positive) has doubled

  • April 1 – June 30: 7%
  • July 1-14: 14%

BUT Death rate among those who test positive HAS DROPPED

  • April 1 – June 30: 1.7%
  • July 1-14: 0.7% (that’s under 1%)

WHERE ARE CASES COMING FROM?

In ALABAMA, 96% of all deaths came in those with PRE-EXISTING CONDITIONS. Broken down by pre-existing condition, here are the death rates for the worst of them.

  • Cardiovascular: 65% of patients died
  • Diabetes: 41% of patients died
  • Kidney: 27% of patients died
  • Lung: 25% of patients died
  • Immuno-compromised: 18% of patients died
  • NO pre-existing condition: 0.4% of patients died

NATIONALLY, NURSING HOMES account for:

  • 4% of all cases
  • 33% of all deaths

And that has not changed over time

CONCLUSIONS

  • No one can predict the future nor guarantee that deaths will not rise.
  • As of this point in time, in the “hot spots” we see that TESTING has surged.
  • Case rates are steady in one state, increasing in another state.
  • DEATH RATE is falling in both.

We conclude that testing is finding more cases AND cases are becoming more frequent. BUT severity of cases is not increasing. Moreover, as we’ve known for a long time, the severity of cases is greatest among the elderly, the institutionalized, and those with pre-existing conditions.

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