Many colleges opened their doors for the Fall Semester recently. Headlines indicate that panic is sweeping the college campuses with COVID-19 out of control. New cases are approaching the OMG level!
College Hospitalizations and Deaths
However, did you read about the number of deaths of college students in the past week? No? It is because there are none. Did you read about the number of hospitalizations in the past week? No? It is because in most cases, it is none also. Colleges are not reporting hospitalizations nor deaths from COVID-19 being reported on a sample of 17 universities last weekend!
Back in the days of needing to ‘flatten the curve’ to give hospitals a chance to get ahead of the virus, we were put into quarantine. Some states are keeping their citizens in near-permanent quarantine. Other states have opened the gates for freedom to return with headlines of out of control new cases of COVID-19.
COVID-19 ICU Usage (in Texas)
However, the states that opened the gates and relaxed the restrictions saw an incremental bump in deaths compared to the vast increases in the numbers of new cases. Hospital ICUs operate at or around the 85% level most of the time. In Texas, where I live, there is a 15% allocation of ICU beds for COVID-19 patients.
Current statistics for the Texas Medical Center show 225 COVID-19 patients and another 1227 ICU beds in use – still in Phase 1. Phase 2 and 3 are available for expansion and there are options for additional beds after Phase 3. https://www.tmc.edu/coronavirus-updates/overview-of-tmc-icu-bed-capacity-and-occupancy/
Flattening the Curve
I believe that states that have relaxed restrictions on citizen movement and business operations know how to maintain the curve to ensure hospitals can handle the increases as new cases of COVID-19 present themselves. This disease is not going away with vaccines!
It might reduce a bit with herd immunity, but that requires a long immune response and scientists are not able to tell us that today. The virus has been around for a bit over six months. It is difficult to determine if our personal immunity will last months or years once we have had the disease.
The asymptomatic cases of COVID-19 are unknown. The pre-symptomatic cases of COVID-19 gradually show up in the statistics. Twice as many people who have been identified as COVID-19 positive might have the virus. Our statistics are showing half that number.
Mild cases might not be reported either since many of the symptoms of COVID-19 (sore throat, runny nose, headaches, etc.) might be hidden with over-the-counter drugs.
Whenever citizens, in this case, students, are released from house arrest and socialize, the risk is increased for exposure and infection. When the states that have held onto COVID-19 quarantine of people and businesses finally open later this year or next year, there will be massive numbers of new cases and hospitals being overrun unless controls are in place to open gradually.
I was in the Navy for over 30 years. I participated in many exercises during that time (Vietnam through Kosovo). After every exercise, there was a Lessons Learned folder in which the things that worked, did not work, and what might work were pulled together so that history did not have to be repeated during the next exercise (or war).
We tend to be emotional, especially when death is an option. https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/ shows that daily new cases have stabilized and started to fall and that daily deaths from COVID-19 are starting to fall worldwide.
COVID-19 treatment is not the same as it was six months ago. Fewer patients enter hospitals. Fewer end up on ventilators. I think the panic is not deserved. Yet, panic is still in vogue on some campuses with local patrols enforcing health and safety standards that might be outdated based on the most current information – no new hospitalizations nor deaths since schools opened.
Maybe it is time to learn some lessons and adjust health and security based on the new herd immunity developing across colleges and universities nationwide?
Testing is continuing to improve. I believe when we have inexpensive tests that can be given at home, work, anywhere, the disease will be within our control. The University of Arizona tested members of its athletic department recently with 13 confirmed cases of COVID-19. Upon retesting, the result was only two valid cases.
A test that is 80% accurate can be given several times and the averages will show validity or not for the disease. Panic should not arise the first time a person is reported to be the latest case of COVID-19. A couple of retests should be enough to confirm or deny the result.
Colleges are acting like many state governors with the restrictions imposed on students for quarantine or testing. Step back and analyze what is really happening and develop a plan to meets reality. Wait another month and update that plan. The best and the brightest deserve it.
Live Longer & Enjoy Life! – Red O’Laughlin – RedOLaughlin.com