Do we really know what to expect based on what we have already learned?

One of the charts we do not see when talking about COVID-19 is the number of recoveries versus the number of new cases. I think that is a critical indicator of the effectiveness of the constraints placed on populations around the world. We look at certain reports when the virus was escalating and now we should be looking at different data.

Italy was in big problems not that long ago. According to’s daily reports, things are changing for the better. New daily cases are continuing to drop. It peaked toward the end of March averaging around 8,000/day. It is rapidly approaching 1,000/day as of the end of the first week in May.

Italy’s daily deaths averaged around 900 at the end of March. Today we are seeing less than 200/day. The daily recovery rate surpassed the new case rate in late April. Spain and France follow along the same lines as Italy. Germany is a week or two ahead of Spain, France, and Italy.

Japan and Sweden did not follow the same constraints as other countries. Their numbers are similar also. More people are surviving than dying. Is this a result of quarantines and other actions? Maybe, maybe not.

Would the death rate sky-rocketed and herd immunity increase as a result and approximate the numbers seen today? Again, hard to estimate. We are basing future on estimates and models – both of which have flaws. It is difficult to project United States numbers as a country because of the statistical flaw of a few states.

New York has just under 6% of the population of the United States with 25% of the total cases of COVID-19 and 33% of the deaths. New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, and Michigan have around 14% of the U.S. population and account for 56% of the deaths in the United States. How can you make changes that are effective when looking at numbers only?

We have seen herd immunity approximating 75% plus or minus ten percent or more. This is based on Stanford University and the University of Southern California’s recent studies. We have quarantined the non-essential population to keep the country going daily. Should we have only quarantined those at the highest risk – over 60 years of age, obese, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, and pneumonia?

I believe lifting the restrictions will give us insight into what could have been if we had chosen to only quarantine the high-risk group. It is water under the bridge now, but it may be an important factor if the COVID-19 new cases start to rise in the next thirty days as people circulate more in society.

I live in the Houston area. I am considered a high-risk person only by my age. I have no pre-existing health conditions. The past couple of days found me searching for equipment parts for my home and yard. I would never have known there was a pandemic ongoing based on traffic, parking lots, stores open, and people entering and leaving places. It is higher than the time I remember before lockdown.

Does this mean that herd immunity will continue to increase? More people will be exposed because of looser controls. However, if three out of every four never develop symptoms, then the herd immunity will continue to progress. If we protect those needing protection, the herd immunity should gradually encompass nearly all of us under 60 years of age.

The high-risk groups are protected.  Those in need of treatment (symptomatic) can be treated. The asymptomatic continue on as nothing happened. When there are no new hosts for the virus to infect, the current epidemic quietly disappears. Or does it? That is what we do not know now.

Can a mutation of the current virus be strong enough to infect those who have immunity from an earlier version? It is possible. Is it probable? At some point in time, everyone will have the opportunity to catch the disease – mutated or not. We will become lax in our social distancing or other protective measure and a spike in new cases can develop. However, we know a lot more now than we did two months ago to make predictions and decisions.

The daily testing numbers are escalating weekly. We will never know how many people without symptoms have or have had the disease because that is not a critical test criterion today. It should become one soon.

I was told today that Virginia adopted a new policy that if a person tests positive twice, it should be considered as two separate and distinct cases of COVID-19. I do not agree. But it is a state’s decision to call them the way they want to. Are we collecting numbers for federal reimbursement or trying to make better decisions? Politics is what it is.

My take on it is that the sooner we lift restrictions, the sooner we can recover from the coronavirus in the non-high-risk health world that we all live in. Testing and monitoring become paramount when we transition to the brave new world post-pandemic.

Live Longer & Enjoy Life! – Red O’Laughlin –

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