The COVID update for Wednesday is here.

Wednesday was the sixth consecutive day in which the case numbers have been lower than the corresponding day of the previous week. Hospitalizations are up 11# for the week, and the 7-day average of fatalities is up 8%.

France continues to be hammered by the virus. 436,000 cases were reported on Wednesday, very close to the record 464,000 from the previous day.

218 thoughts on “COVID update

  1. Update. Local, in that way anecdotal, but I see it with a karma kick.

    Or, it goes to the outcome difference due to public behavior. BTW, my county is “the peninsula” sitting between SF & Silicon Valley. Its .8M residents are more blue-collar than its neighbors to the N & S, of course depending on how we do the averaging. 80% are 2+ shots (not excluding kids). Over half of those are 3 shots.

    Cases are thru the roof, of course. 18k in 30 days. It’s fair to say that a contributor is asymptomatic vaxed as carriers spreading the virus, especially omicron. I do worry, the more the virus persists in the population, the more the goal of eradication eludes us. The consequence is that the virus remains an ongoing threat.

    At the other end, test positivity has risen to 10%. To put this in perspective, that’s 30k people tested on average 7 times each. Among the resulting 210k tests, 90% were negative. The primary use of this stat is as an indirect measure of how representative of the whole county the sample size tested is. The bigger this number, the less the case count really tells us about overall transmission.

    IOW, it’s a data processing thing, not a disease thing. It’s telling us our methodology sucks. The data we’re looking at is crap. We’re better than this. Or rather, clearly, we are not. Beyond that, we should pretty much ignore this number.

    What remains is the only 2 stats I’m taking seriously. ICU beds & total beds. Absolute bed numbers are all small, so percentages are misleading. For instance, covid total beds & ICU beds doubled in a week. Covid beds are still outnumbered 2-to-1 by non-covid.

    In contrast, ICU beds jumped from a baseline of 10 to almost 20 in a week. That’s 1/3 of ICU beds, almost all in use. OTOH, no surge beds are used. Including them, we’re over half empty. The total beds picture is similar. Just, a factor of 10 more beds.

    Though hockey sticks are already seen in both ICU & total beds, and it’s early days, so far, the growth is linear (not exponential).

    I’ve seen both staff shortages & long lines for drive-thru testing. The lines are gone bc ran out of tests.

    0 new deaths. This, having been our flat line for some time. Looking at Deaths by Sex, the M/F numbers add up to total covid deaths. Which I interpret as saying 100% of covid mortality occurred during copulation. Or at least, perhaps, sexual transmission led to death.

    1. To all the public officials who were “surprised” (caught flat-footed, more like) by Delta & Omicron, see my sentiment in Snoopy’s post below where he quotes Bugs Bunny.

  2. Have a friend in his late twenties…two shots of Pfizer plus booster and previously infected with Covid tested positive for Covid today. Omicron is serious business.

      1. For the moment, I’m scared for people I know who are still unvaccinated. Otherwise, fingers still crossed.

    1. Not to diminish your shock, but that’s my reading of the stats. IOW, 99% effective (vs. infection) with booster still means lots of breakthrus. Also, SA reported a *prevalence* in young folks. Makes sense to me: Seniors are better protected & probably being more cautious. Kids’ attitude early on in calling Covid a “Boomer Remover” was shortsighted.

      1. Thanks, UncleScoopy. I was afraid I might have misremembered, but I did so only slightly. The exact quote is: “…it’ll go away like things go away.”

        You know, there are still people who think he wasn’t a gigantic dunce?

  3. “ With the number of omicron cases appearing to double every two days, confirmed U.S. coronavirus infections have increased more than 50 percent in roughly two weeks, from 81,900 on Nov. 30 to 124,110 on Dec. 16, according to The Washington Post’s rolling seven-day average.”

    1. That reporting is technically accurate, but deceptive and intellectually dishonest. The seven days including Thanksgiving are low because there were four of those days when many states were not counting or reporting. Indeed, six of those seven days were below the previous week because of reporting procedures, not because of case declines, so it is absurd to use that week as a baseline. That week was 16% LOWER than the previous week. Everyone who studies the numbers knows that, and knows that the Thanksgiving week can’t be used for a baseline, so the Washington Post should be embarrassed by that paragraph.

      This is why you should get your reporting from a sleazy soft-core pornographer rather than the paper of Woodward and Bernstein.

      The last four calendar weeks have been:

      now – on pace for 124k
      last week 116k
      previous week 115k
      previous week 79K
      previous week 93k

      So to be more accurate, it has gone up 33% in the four weeks since the last accurate pre-Thanksgiving week, a compound average of 7% per week. And the last two weeks have seen almost no movement at all.

      I use calendar weeks rather than 7-day averages, but the NY Times calculates the 7-day average at 95,000 on November 24th, and 124,000 now, representing an increase of 31% in a bit more than three weeks, which works out to 9% per week. Take special note of the fact that the average was 122,000 on December 7th, versus 124,000 at this moment, so it is barely moving at all – less than 2% in the past 9 days. Basically totally flat.

      Also note that the Times calculates that the 7-day fatality average has not really moved at all from the 7th until now. (It has actually declined from 1,298 to 1,288. Again, basically totally flat.)

      The reality is bad enough without twisting the numbers to say something that just isn’t there.

        1. That is correct. Hospitalizations have increased by 10-11% per week for quite some time now, as I have consistently noted in the daily reports. The number of COVID hospitalizations was 44,000 on the day before Thanksgiving, and is now about 62,000. That’s about 41% over 23 days, which works out to 11% per week. Unlike cases and fatalities, this stat has not started to flatten out in recent days.

          Hospitalizations tend to lag behind new cases, so this seems to show that cases were probably increasing by about 10%-11% per week about two weeks ago. We are not sure whether that is true because of the poor reporting during Thanksgiving week, but it seems like a reasonable supposition based on what we do know. Cases increased from 93k per day in the week before Thanksgiving to 115k per day in the week after Thanksgiving. That’s about 23.6% in two weeks, or 11% per week.

          Unless omicron changes the math, the increases in hospitalizations should start to flatten down soon, reflecting what happened with new cases about a week and a half ago.

          1. Well, Delta was a new thing & so is Little-O. (O-mega being Big-O & O-micron as I said.) The math always changes whenever we face any new pathogen. Flu+Covid (twindemic) changes the math, too. What’s shaping up seems to be that omicron flourishes in the head & doesn’t spread as readily into the lungs. We don’t quite know that yet, but. What we really need to know & don’t is how much less severe it’ll be in the vaxed & how many more unvaxed will be severely infected. By severity, I mean trouble breathing. Both affect hospital admissions.

            My brother’s on Hawaii island & I have not found a good data source for hospitalized covid there. Deaths on the island are still nearly 0. Here, in my county of .75 M, there are 13 covid patients in hospital today. We are not in lockdown, retail at 100%, eateries spaced, masks indoors. Not sure of practice in other businesses, but salons are being careful about masks & some point a thermometer at you on the way in. IOW, YMMV. I can’t say what we’re seeing in NY w/omicron won’t come here. But I’m not taking it as a given that it will.

  4. For me, it’s not a thing until it’s a thing. When it happens, I’ll be eating crow. For now, I’m not seeing overwhelmed hospitals nor any deaths of late. Not in my area. 1 in 5 of us are unvaxxed. I don’t sweat the unfully vaxxed. I lump them with unvaxxed. I simply divide fully vaxxed by total residents. We mask when we shop. We eat out. Tables are spaced. Ventilation is good.

    Evolution in Action. We’ve voted with our feet long before elections. COVID is just The Uncommon Cold. The reason newness = severity is the occasional pathogen comes along that kills off a bunch of us when our unknown-pathogen immune response is too mild. Those of us who survived get damn sick, just in case, every damn time. Self-inflicted. Not from everyday germs, though, only new ones. What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger.

    That’s why a pre-existing condition, so-called comorbidity, tips us over the edge. Deniers think COVID deaths are overblown. They blame excess deaths on misattribution of other causes to COVID. But no, excess deaths do not lie. Take away the virus, those deaths don’t happen.

  5. “ U.S. infections rose to an average of about 120,000 a day this week, the most since September, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University and Bloomberg through Friday. The delta variant continues to drive infections and hospitalizations, though the new omicron variant has been reported now in more than 25 states.”

    1. Especially concerning are the dramatic recent rise in COVID hospitalizations and the enormous spike in the testing percentage .

      (The 7-day average has soared from 4.9% to 8.3% in just 40 days).

      (Hospitalizations had dropped as low as 12,000, and are now back around the 60,000 mark.)

      These facts, coupled with the fact that there is a large group of vaccine resisters in even the most diligent states, indicates that it will be a long, bitter winter.

      About the only consolation is that COVID is now hitting some purple states, and that vaccine resisters are basically committing suicide en masse, like lemmings. In some of those states just a few thousand voters can flip an election, and those who are not fully vaccinated are 13 times as likely to die from COVID, making those states bluer by the day. As the TV pundits frequently remind us, actions have consequences.

  6. This will get worse thanks to the Thanksgiving Holiday…and just wait for Christmas…superspreaders galore.

  7. According to scientist/virologist Peter Hotez, approximately 150,000 fully unvaccinated people have died from Covid since June 1, 2021. This is out of approximately 183,000 Covid deaths since that time, meaning that approximately 5/6 of those dying from Covid were fully unvaccinated. It’s certainly reasonable to believe that most of the remaining 33,000 were those partially vaccinated.

    I can’t say as I care about those Americans (and Canadians) who are unvaccinated dying, I just wish they’d all die off as quickly as possible so the rest of us can put this all behind us.

    1. “For Big Miners, U.S. Workers Are Most Reluctant to Get Vaccinated
      Mining companies operate in some of the world’s least developed countries, yet have their lowest Covid-19 vaccination rates at U.S. sites.”


      1. Hey, that is a big success story for the GOP! And, uh, freedom or something! And why are you ignoring Hilary and Uranium One if you care so much about mines?

    2. Sometimes I feel like you do about the unvaccinated, Adam T, and other times I remember how I used to feel about people back before Trump won the 2016 election and we found out so much about a lot of the American public.

      I recommend watching Beau of the Fifth Column’s videos on YouTube, especially his recent one about the upheavals in the Q-World. He has a shrewd but human take on most things, IMO.

      You probably don’t really need any advice from me. You are better informed than I am, that’s for sure.

      1. I’m not just venting, I really wish these people would either wise up and get vaccinated or literally drop dead, but there is a Playboy of the Western World aspect to this from me as well.

        Unlike many Americans who profess to be horrified at the notion of wishing people dead, I actually wear a mask in all indoor public settings even in places I don’t have to (which right now in British Columbia is just private homes) precisely because I actually don’t want to be responsible for anybody’s death, even a Covidiot.

        Though there are alternate interpretations of the play, the generally accepted, is it expresses how it’s one thing to believe something in the abstract, but another to believe the same thing in a concrete way.

        If you’re not familiar, the protagonist in the play arrives in a new town after believing that he had killed his father. All the town’s inhabitants fete him and praise him for his courage at having the courage to have done so after he tells them about his father believing that he is just telling a yarn, but when his father actually shows up in the town all battered and bruised, the townsfolk run the son off saying “how could you have tried to kill your father?!?!”

        1. I know the feeling. I can see your point of view about them. Of course, it would be better if they would wise up, get vaccinated, stop believing anything OANS or Fox “News” tells them, and start voting with a realistic appreciation of their own interest instead of anger and fear.

          But they need to be stopped from going down the road they are traveling, just as the South needed to be stopped in 1861. Even more so, because unlike the South, they want to take the rest of use with them.

          And if they are the victims of their own delusions, well…. I am not going to blame myself for that, anyway.

    3. For the first time, the pandemic might alter the political landscape in the USA. It is now tearing through some swing states like Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, etc. Since the left is basically vaccinated and the right is basically unvaccinated, it means that the fatalities will disproportionately reduce the number of Trump voters, thus swinging the states slightly farther leftward.

      Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.

      1. Gotta disagree. Without covid – or with a Trump covid response better than the series of tweets and fart noises that we got – the fucker could have been re-elected. 2020 was the first time.

        1. I think Trump would have been as well. The reason from me is that, as I’ve written here before, economic growth kinds of builds on itself and steadily encompasses more and more until even the chronically unemployed start to get hired.

          I think the U.S economy, as uneven as it was given that the Federal Reserve could not even start to unwind the previous tapering program, was getting close to that point, and when that happens, not surprisingly people start to feel more and more a sense of ‘peace and prosperity’ and support the President more and more.

          I don’t know if Trump’s handling of Covid hurt him or not in the election, but it froze the economy and prevented the continued economic growth from occurring. The polls on the election from March to November of 2020 largely didn’t change.

          I think Trump, when he’s being rational and realizes the election wasn’t stolen from him thinks this as well. I think in his own way this is why he whines that he was the person most negatively effected by Covid, (or whatever he specifically said that was very close to that.)

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