COVID UPDATE

I didn’t want to come out and say that we are near the end of COVID because I am not an expert on disease.  I’m just a guy analyzing the numbers.  But it is hard not to be optimistic at this point given the current numbers.  Here is a medical expert saying what is I am hoping is true.  Dr. Marty Makary, is a surgeon at Johns Hopkins University, one of the most prestigious in the nation.  In this Wall Street Journal article he predicts COVID will be gone by April: We’ll Have Herd Immunity by April – WSJ.  

The Numbers

The numbers back up this prediction.  COVID cases fell 73% for a period of six weeks through February 14.  Two weeks ago, we saw the biggest weekly decline of this six week period with the 7-day average falling 27%, from 96,505/day to 70,422/day.   Last week, the case graph flattened, ending the week with an average 70,221/day.  While disappointing that cases did not continue their rapid decline for a seventh straight week, there is no reason for alarm.  There are actually a couple reasons which explain why the decline slowed last week:

  • Texas: two weeks ago, much of the state of Texas was shut down by power outages.  The number of COVID cases reported fell dramatically, by as much as 6,000 or more day.  A week ago, Texas got back to normal and the cases which were unreported the prior week were reported this week.  This means that the 27% national decline the previous week was overstated ; after factoring for Texas, the true decline was probably around 20% not 27%.  In addition, many of the Texas cases reported last week, would have been reported the prior week in normal situation, so last week’s cases were overstated.  We saw a significant decline in cases when looking only at the other 49 states, even if Texas cases had remained steady, we would have seen a significant national decline again last week.
  • Holiday: two weeks ago, February 15 was a holiday.  Cases are always understated the holiday week.  We can look back at every holiday since July 4 and see a drop in cases the week of the holiday and an increase the following week.  This pattern was especially pronounced the weeks of Thanksgiving and Christmas.   So, when the numbers return to normal the week after the holiday, it appears there is a spike when there really is not.

We are now beyond these two events and we have seen declines in the 7-day moving average for the last three days.  Today, February 28, we saw the 7-day moving average drop to 68,963 per day.  We are at the lowest case totals in more than four months.

I suspect the decline will continue slightly downward.  We are unlikely to see large percentage drops in cases the next few weeks because almost half the states have already seen a decline of 80% or more from their peaks.  In order to continue this sharp decline, we would have to start trending towards zero cases and this hasn’t happened anywhere in the world.  For example, COVID cases in North Dakota fell almost 95% since reaching a peak of 1409 per day on November 18 (now at 79/day).   In the last three weeks, cases have drifted slightly up and down; the numbers can’t yet seem to get below this plateau.

Worldwide, we are seeing drops in cases through January and February.   Total world cases peaked on January 14 at 742K, around the same time the U.S. peaked and both averages have dropped dramatically since.  We can also look at a couple other countries to see how this is playing out.  In India, cases fell from about 93,000 per day to 11,000 per day, an 88% drop before flattening out:

In the UK, cases fell from 60K per day to 9k per day, an 85% drop and have not flattened yet (maybe because they didn’t have a Texas-like disaster or a President’s Day Holiday in February).

As more states reach a plateau, we could see the overall U.S. numbers flatten.  However, there are several populous states such as Texas, North Carolina, South Carolina, New York, New Jersey, Georgia, Florida which are still on the downward trajectory and don’t appear to have flattened yet.  As cases in these states decline, it should translate into a slow but steady decline for the U.S. as a whole.

It might appear that we are stuck at this significant level of cases.  We might even see the graph move an up and down like a roller coaster for a time, but our silver bullet has to be the vaccines.  About 7.5% of the population has been fully vaccinated and 15% have been partially vaccinated.  We are vaccinating on average about 1.65 million per day.  As more people are vaccinated, I expect to see the case numbers inch closer and closer to zero.  As more elderly are vaccinated, we should see the death graph fall very rapidly; the only ones getting COVID will be the younger age groups which are able to tolerate it much better.

Also remember that these significant drops came during the heart of winter when cases are not usually falling.  As the weather warms (which it is already doing in the South) and the normal cold/flu season ends, we are likely to see further drops into March and April. 

Take Action; Demand Action

Please continue to watch the numbers.   If the decline continues apace, take your life back.  Please don’t wait for the government to tell you it is safe to get back in the water.   They think it is their role to tell us when we can get back to normal.  It is not their place, especially if we band together and demand an action to restrictive policies. 

Joe Biden, perhaps the most clueless person to ever grace the White House, said in a CNN Town hall two weeks ago that we may be back to normal by Christmas.  https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/biden-says-things-may-be-back-to-normal-by-next-christmas/ar-BB1dJZpv.  Christmas is ten months away.  Are you kidding me?  Last summer the most extreme position was to hunker down and wait for a vaccine before returning to normal.  Now that we have a vaccine, they want to move the goal posts to the left of what was the most extreme position last year.  We’ve gone from “15 days to flatten the curve” last March to “ten more months and we’ll see”.  Please ignore our politicians when they say ridiculous things like this.   Demonstrate to them by your actions that they can’t control our lives if we don’t let them.

Tell the politicians to quit playing politics with this as well.  During the same Town Hall Biden said that there was no vaccine when he took office on January 20.  I think we all remember that the vaccine rollout began December 11 and that the recent decline in cases began on January 11, both before the Biden administration took office.  Don’t let them get away with such lies: https://townhall.com/tipsheet/bethbaumann/2021/02/16/fact-check-biden-lied-about-the-covid-vaccines-creation-and-availability-during-n2584844

More on Politics and COVID:

Dr. Anthony Fauci, who Ben Shapiro says is, along with Dr. Jill Biden, the greatest of all American doctors, told CNN anchor Dana Bash that we should continue to wear masks and lockdown for the rest of the year. Fauci: Possible we could still be wearing masks in 2022 (cnn.com).   Why in the world, do individuals need to continue to do all these things after being vaccinated?  This man should not be making public policy.   He sure sounds like a politician in this clip; therefore, I no longer trust Dr Fauci, one of America’s two greatest doctors.

President Biden told us HE was going to “shut down the virus” but “not shut down the economy”.   He hasn’t done much more than follow the Trump plan with regard to distribution of the vaccine and he doesn’t appear to eager to open the economy.   In addition, there may be some counter productive steps:

  • Biden has taken steps to stop construction of the border wall, to repatriate (if that is the right term for non-citizens) anyone deported to Mexico in the last four years, and to re-open the Mexican border. The infamous cages at the border are being re-instituted in advance of the expected flood of refugees.   Do you think there might be a threat of COVID coming across the Mexican border?  Is this the right time for these steps?
  • Biden has nominated Xavier Becerra for HHS secretary.  Becerra is a lawyer who has no experience in health care.  Is Becerra Biden’s point guy for shutting down the virus?  He has also nominated Dr. Rachel Levine to be assistant secretary.  Dr. Levine’s main qualification for the job appears to be the fact that he is a transgender.   Dr. Levine, who was the Pennsylvania Health Secretary,  also made the news last fall when he removed his mother from a nursing home just prior to shipping COVID patients into Pennsylvania nursing homes.  Are you getting a good feeling about these two?
  • The most sensible plan for vaccinations is to be vaccinate the elderly first as they are the most vulnerable.  We get the biggest bang for the buck with this group, yet there all sorts of plans to vaccinate teachers, prisoners, minorities, and other groups first.  Why does it make sense to vaccinate a young healthy teacher over a senior citizen? Stick with the original plan.  Stick with the science on this one.  The Biden administration should be taking the lead on this, but they’re not holding press conferences to keep us up-to-date nor does it appear there will even be a state of the Union address.  They appear to be hiding in the bunker and waiting to jump out in front of the parade at the right time (to claim credit for something they didn’t do).

South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem mentioned Dr. Fauci this weekend.  According to the governor, Dr. Fauci told her last year that her state would peak around 10,000 concurrent hospitalizations but the number never reached more than 600.  That’s a rather stark discrepancy.   Let’s say she was skeptical and didn’t follow the Fauci model.  South Dakota, per Governor Noem, is the only state which had no restrictions from COVID throughout.   Maybe she had some experts who knew better or maybe she wanted more proof first.

CNN is appalled that the governor called out Dr. Fauci and shifted the responsibility to her, claiming she is responsible for all the deaths in her state, just as Joe Biden said about Donald Trump during last year’s election.  https://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=Kristi+Nome+on+Fauci+at+CPAC&docid=13826313862870&mid=1C23C85D38843DD144051C23C85D38843DD14405&view=detail&FORM=VIRE

Well, who got it right: South Dakota or some other state?  Would CNN agree with Dr. Fauci who said that New York got it right?  Coronavirus cases: Dr Fauci says New York ‘did it correctly’ in fight against COVID – ABC7 San Francisco (abc7news.com) They don’t want to blame COVID deaths on Governor Cuomo as blithely as they blame Governor Noem and President Trump.  So, let’s compare South Dakota and New York.  South Dakota has the lowest unemployment rate in the country while New York is near the bottom (46th).  South Dakota also has a lower per capita death rate from COVID than New York (2nd).  So, per Dr. Fauci and the experts at CNN, South Dakota should have been more restrictive in order to get the same bad results as New York?  No wonder Governor Noem is criticizing Dr. Fauci.

Let’s talk a little bit more about New York Governor Cuomo who has just recently become persona non grata.  But much was known about his actions regarding nursing homes a year ago.  Last March, Dr. Elaine Healy, an MD and nursing home administrator in New York called into Mark Levin’s radio show to warn about Governor Cuomo’s policy for shipping COVID patients into nursing homes: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=es-ujFVJrxM  Janice Dean, a Fox News personality, has been raising this issue for the ten months since.   Her mother-in-law and father-in-law both died from COVID in a nursing home shortly after this order. Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned:https://www.foxnews.com/opinion/covid-cuomo-governor-bills-game-janice-dean; https://www.foxnews.com/media/janice-dean-andrew-cuomo-bully-nursing-home-data-delay

In the last month, the NY Attorney General finally opened an investigation into this matter: https://www.npr.org/sections/coronavirus-live-updates/2021/01/28/961637249/investigation-cuomo-team-undercounted-n-y-covid-19-nursing-home-deaths.  It is interesting to note why she waited until now, ten months after this story broke.  Why is it that the liberal media also refused to cover this issue until just recently as well?  Unfortunately, the answer is all too simple: our response to COVID has been influenced by politics.  Focusing the spotlight on Governor Cuomo while he was a foil to President Trump last year would have hurt Democrat chances to win the presidency, so the matter went unreported and uninvestigated for almost a year. Janice Dean is not the only who should be outraged at all this.   It is quite interesting also that Governor Cuomo apologized to Democrat legislators but not to any of the victims, like Janice Dean and her husband: https://www.blackenterprise.com/cuomos-top-aide-apologizes-says-administration-froze-lied-about-coronavirus-deaths-at-nursing-homes/.   I thought Democrats were more empathetic?

Follow the Science?

In a similar vein, the medical community is now in favor on using HCQ for treating COVID: https://principia-scientific.com/the-american-journal-of-medicine-now-recommends-hcq-for-covid19/.  When President Trump touted it as a treatment last spring, there was all manner of controversy.  I covered earlier how Dr. Didier Rauolt, the world’s foremost microbiologist, as well as America’s FrontLine doctors and other MDs touted HCQ as a COVID treatment but were censored, had medical licenses and jobs threatened, and were publicly shamed as quacks for speaking out about HCQ.  They just couldn’t let President Trump have any credit for bringing this treatment to light in an election year.  God forbid.   Well now that President Trump is gone, it is okay to “follow the science” of HCQ again. 

India is a country which appeared highly vulnerable to COVID with a large urban and relatively poor population, but they have one of the lowest death rates in the world.  Could it be because HCQ has been used for years to treat malaria in India?  Could it be because they were not inhibited by election year politics like we were in the U.S. and were allowed to “follow the science”?  https://opentheword.org/2020/08/03/hydroxychloroquine-stops-covid-in-india-slum/

Here is a snippet from our N.C. State Legislator Harry Warren regarding the reopening of schools.  Rep. Warren also includes information on school choice which is more important than ever following the disastrous school policies of the last year. Don’t let our politicians cave to the teachers unions on re-opening schools or allowing parents school choice:

John Hamer at the Rhino Times has posted an easy-to-understand piece about the legislation we passed last week to help bar owners. Here is the story: https://www.rhinotimes.com/featured-article/bars-getting-some-much-needed-relief-from-nc-legislature/

TheCenterSquare.com has an outstanding article on a poll that was done by the Civitas Institute that shows strong support in North Carolina for school choice: “The survey results showed 82% of North Carolinians believe parents should have the ability to select the school their child attends.” Here is the article: https://www.thecentersquare.com/north_carolina/new-poll-shows-strong-support-for-school-choice-in-north-carolina/article_9119faee-61b3-11eb-be93-675c3b52459c.html

As you know, the General Assembly approved $1.6 billion in K-12 funds last week to help schools safely reopen. To see how much each county received, click here.

We also passed SB 37 requiring schools to choose either Plan A, (going back to school, in person, only), or Plan B, (the blended plan, partially in-person and partially remote learning), but to get back to school. Plan C, (fully remote attendance), is not an option under this bill. Parents retain the right to keep their student home under this bill. Here is a link to the bill: https://www.ncleg.gov/BillLookUp/2021/S37

Of course, our liberal governor vetoed the bill to open schools, ignoring the fact that private schools have been open all year, ignoring the fact that cases are falling, ignoring the fact that children are barely impacted by COVID but greatly (and negatively) impacted by being out of (in-person) school, ignoring the fact that 10,000 N.C. kids are unaccounted for by their schools this year, and ignoring the fact that there is no evidence of child to teacher transmission.  Instead he provided us this cryptic statement: “As written, the bill threatens public health just as North Carolina strives to emerge from the pandemic. Therefore, I veto the bill”.  School choice is another non-starter for him, although it would probably be the single biggest advancement in education in a very long time.  It’s politics as usual, not following the science in any way. Demand that the legislature follow through and override Governor Cooper’s veto. 

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