India once again shattered its record for the most new cases in a day, with 275,000. This is now basically a daily occurrence.
On a per capita basis, Turkey had the highest “new cases” rate for the eighth consecutive day.
On a per capita basis, Hungary had the highest fatality rate for the seventh consecutive day.
Among the 21 countries in the world that are in the red zone on both new cases and fatalities, Lebanon has been on that list for the most consecutive days.
You can get misled by the national news. David Muir will open his broadcast with a dramatic tone and a solemn pronouncement like, “COVID fatalities are rising in 20 states, as experts fear a fourth wave.” When delivered in his magnificent, authoritative voice, that is a frightening harbinger of doom. Well, he is factually correct, but that is an odd focus, since it means COVID fatalities are declining in more states than they are increasing)! By stating the facts this way, he presents reasonably positive news as ominously bad news.
The impartial facts are these:
- COVID cases are slightly on the rise. In the past five weeks, the average per day has gone (000s): 55,61,63,67,68
- COVID fatalities are declining, although the rate of decline is slowing. In the past six weeks, the average per day has gone: 1264,1077,968,812,735,718.
My assumption is that fatalities are declining even while cases move slightly upward because the average age of those infected is dropping, and younger people have a higher survival rate.
It is, of course, a matter of concern that the rate of decline is slowing, and it is true that experts fear a fourth wave. It is also fair to say that we should fear a fourth wave, which is not our certain future, but is (as they say in sci-fi) one of our possible futures. This is true for several reasons, both technical and behavioral:
- Americans are not treating the pandemic as seriously as they should.
- Many unvaccinated Americans are opposed to the shots. Whereas vaccine providers couldn’t handle the demand a few weeks ago, many now have no-shows and vacancies on their schedules.
- The pause on the J&J vaccines has disrupted the timetable. America was struggling to stay even with the spread, so a disruption could place the country behind the spread.
- The massive Michigan outbreak appeared out of nowhere and quickly raged out of control. That situation reminds us that there’s always a chance the same could happen in other places. The worst case scenario, while not likely, is a very bad case indeed.
In other words, don’t fuck around with the Reaper. Wear your masks, keep your distance, get your shots.