Our nation is headed for some times that will not just try our souls, but our bodies. Despite the fatuous claims of various governmental leaders, the trend in COVID-19 coronavirus infections and deaths is grimmer than they say by far.
The United States now has 25 percent of the world’s cases, and 24 percent of the deaths, although our population is only 4.2 percent of the world population. In the past week, 24 states (48 percent) have had their highest daily tally of COVID diagnoses, and 34 (68 percent) have had cases in the top four daily totals over the four months now since the pandemic has been counted. This despite the fact that both those with disease and those dead of it are by expert opinion most likely undercounted.
While there is daily variation due to how consistently states report these numbers, the trend of severely increasing infections is striking, and presages a rising tide of mortality. It is likely that sometime within the next four months the number of deaths in the United States will double to about a quarter million, or more, if we do not take enough action. And it is not just the old and feeble. Patients under 50 years old are now more than half the diagnoses in some areas, and they are increasingly needing hospitalization. Two weeks ago, about 60 percent of the COVID-19 patients at Houston Methodist’s hospitals were under the age of 50. So, while the majority of patients who acquire COVID-19 have milder disease, particularly younger patients, they act as vectors to transmit infection to more vulnerable populations and are themselves vulnerable to severe disease and even death. About 1 of every 20 COVID-related deaths is in those under 50, and the long-term morbidity of survivors is still uncertain.
We have not treated this disease seriously enough. Nine percent of those being tested currently test positive. This national level of positivity is an indicator that we are losing the battle, not that we are identifying “hot spots” that need the preventive measures that should be, and should have been, in place everywhere. The United States is the pandemic epicenter at this point. The crude mortality rate of known COVID-19 in the US is 4 percent nationally to date, but has decreased to about 1.2 percent at this time, as doctors have learned how to better treat the sick.
If we were to continue at the now record number of about 55,000-plus cases per day in the United States, 20,000 or more will die each month until we control it, or get an effective vaccine. And the FDA has set the target for an “effective” vaccine as one which offers protection to 50 percent of those who receive the vaccine. And less than half the adult population gets the flu vaccine each year. When the next flu season starts, the one-two synergistic punch of both circulating viruses may be devastating. So, at the least, get your flu shot. And keep distancing, wear an effective mask, avoid crowds, especially indoors, and wash your hands frequently.
There are no “hot spots” to be isolated. The United States is the hot spot.