I wanted to take some time, ahead of my autumn color trip, to look at the state of the “pandemic.”
There is good news to be had. The cases of COVID-19 are plunging across the nation.
Right now, daily COVID-19 deaths are averaging about 1,900 a day, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Cases have started to fall from their highs in September, from about 160,000 cases to about 103,000 cases per day. But there is fear that the situation could worsen in the winter months when colder weather drives people inside and into closer proximity with each other.
A look at the 14-day change in numbers shows that the South, derided when cases were surging in the region, has dropped significantly. The following numbers are from The New York Times, hardly a bastion of Red State support. I have highlighted the numbers from several southern states, as the publication seems uninterested in spotlighting this development.
Arkansas had one of the most significant plunges in caseload.
New data released Monday by the Arkansas Department of Health showed that active cases of COVID-19 in the state took a huge drop, falling by more than 1,000 in a day.
The ADH figures show the active case count went down by 1,008, which brings that down to 8,535. Hospitalizations dropped by 20 from the prior day to 669.
“With a large drop today we have nearly 3,000 fewer active cases than last Monday, a hopeful sign that we are moving back in the right direction, but COVID-19 is still a serious virus and getting vaccinated is the best way to continue this downward trend,” Governor Asa Hutchinson said in a tweet.
Another analysis from the Centers for Disease Control shows that Florida had the steepest decline in new cases.
It appears that Gov. Ron DeSantis’ blend of early treatments, no mandates, and vaccine distribution has worked exceptionally well. It would be nice to see the governor get credit for making successful choices based on science and reason.
In the past two weeks the state has experienced the largest drop in cases in the U.S. with new cases falling 53% over the past two weeks, according to a Fortune analysis of New York Times data. Although the state still has about 4,000 daily cases, it’s recording only 19 daily average cases per 100,000, according to the New York Times.
From August to mid-September, Florida was at its worst in terms of COVID. At the outbreak’s peak, the state was recording a seven-day average of 445 deaths per day and a seven-day average of about 17,000 hospitalizations per week.
Now, new reported cases and hospitalizations are both down to near record lows as the state’s vaccination rate has risen and some people have gained temporary immunity after being infected. Florida has fully vaccinated 58% of its total population and 67% of people ages 12 and up.
But as it goes against the media narrative, it is an observation that is not likely to appear anywhere in mainstream news.
I would also like to contrast the above data with that from the Blue States, several seeing significant surges in COVID-19 cases (despite higher vaccination numbers).
For comparison, Pennsylvania officials are promising that a downturn is just around the corner.
A look at Pennsylvania’s data doesn’t show a decline yet, though projections show a plateau in the next few weeks.
“One of the most dangerous parts of mountain climbing isn’t going up there. It’s the descent,” Nathan Harig, assistant chief of Cumberland Goodwill EMS said. “A lot of people get hurt and injured because they let their guard down. They try to rush through things. So it’s very important that we continue doing all that we can to be protected from COVID and that means getting vaccinated.”
Harig says diversion requests from hospitals have gone down, especially with a new one open in Cumberland County, but “There’s still stress on hospitals,” he said. “They’re releasing their numbers regularly and their numbers show that it is an unvaccinated population that takes up a lot of these bed space and intensive care resources.”
I do not belittle the efforts of Blue State officials. I have noted several times that this disease will come in cycles. However, the failure to acknowledge the downward trends as robustly as the surges show that our press is infected with a terminal case of smugness paired with a rash or irresponsibility.
Finally, this is probably a good time to look at the national reproduction number, which measures how many cases one infected person will cause. The reproduction number represents the potential for one sick person to spread the infection. The lower the number, the better — and less than one are best.
The national reproduction number is below 1, at 0.92, and a current map of trends is below:
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