The more I research the pandemic, the more fear and panic appear on stage. However, I live in Houston, Texas, and most of the time, I would never know there was a pandemic in my life. Therefore, other than visiting a medical facility or a government office, I am not required to wear a mask.

I see others wearing them – outside, in their cars, shopping, etc. More power to them. I was at a military funeral yesterday. The cemetery staff had masks on, but only one of over 100 guests wore a mask. At the party afterward, he was no longer wearing it. Only the wait staff at the hotel resort wore masks.

Something today got me to thinking about the 1970 movie starring Brian Keith, Tony Curtis, and Ernest Borgnine called Suppose They Gave a War and Nobody Came. The analogy is not perfect, but the thought process is similar – at least in my mind.

Current World Stats

https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/. The new cases of COVID-19 hit around 1 million/day yesterday. I track the seven-day averages because it smooths out the ups and down from one day to the next. The trend for new cases of COVID-19/day is the highest since records have been kept – just under 900,000/day.

Yet, and it is a big yet, the daily death statistics show just over 6,000 deaths attributed to COVID-19. The last time the death toll was that low was the last week of October 2020. We have had three surges since that time. Is the pandemic waning? I do not think so. People are still dying from the virus.

However, the death rate is around 42% less than the winter 2020 surge when we hit just under 750,000 new COVID-19 cases/day. So we have significantly more new cases today and less than half the deaths? Ponder that for a brief moment.

The second coronavirus surge in the United States peaked at the end of April 2021, with around 825,000 new cases/day. The death rate for that second surge was over double what it is today for that surge. The Delta surge in August of 2021 did not go much, with over 650,000 new cases of COVID-19. The current average death rate/day is 40% less than the Delta surge.

United States Stats

https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/country/us/, The winter surge of 2020-21 peaked out at just over 250,000 new COVID-19 cases/day. The subsequent surge in April/May 2021 was slight, at best – barely exceeding 70,000 new cases/day. The new cases/day of COVID-19 during the Delta surge in late summer of 2021 narrowly passed 160,000/day. The current surge (Omicron) is still escalating, and figures released yesterday show daily average new cases slightly, very slightly, under 250,000/day and continuing to climb.

The deaths in the United States nearly reflect the same trends worldwide. The COVID-19 deaths in the winter of 2020-21 peaked at 3,500/day. The late Spring 2021 surge was barely noticeable because the daily deaths rate continued to drop during that surge. The 2021 Delta surge recorded daily deaths at the 2,000/day rate. This week the COVID-19 daily death rate average is below 1,200 and continuing to descend.

One surge saw 250,000 average new cases with daily deaths around 3,500. The next surge was barely discernable in recent cases. Daily deaths continued to fall during that surge. The Delta surge peaked in the 160,000 range, with daily deaths accounting for merely 2,000/day. This week, the new cases are being reported as records – and they are! However, the daily deaths are also at records levels – not reported.

Headlines

https://www.politico.com/news/2021/12/28/us-new-daily-high-covid-526223?fbclid=IwAR30XjwDamA-z6YfXiLtK7PkNt97GgkJ4LQam9cC6Y1CC-24UehRP6g5uzo. “U.S. sets new daily high for Covid cases.” This tally represents a grim new milestone in the coronavirus pandemic, as reported by the CDC. Higher numbers are expected because of the holidays. All of this is despite the constant push for vaccinations.

Big story not unreported – vaccines do not last long. We are rapidly approaching a new vaccine program – The Shot of The Month Club! The Omicron booster lasts about ten weeks, and its infection prevention capability starts to fall by double digits.

My daughter’s roommate received two vaccine doses during Thanksgiving and was randomly tested today at work and found to test positive for COVID-19. How can you get a double dose of the COVID-19 vaccine and get infected less than six weeks later? Vaccines are not the savior many thought they would be.

Omicron in the United States

https://www.politico.com/news/2021/12/28/cdc-drops-omicron-prevalence-estimate-526210. AP News reported eight days ago that the Omicron variant was responsible for 73% of all COVID-19 cases in the United States. (https://apnews.com/article/omicron-majority-us-cases-833001ef99862bd6ac17935f65c896cf)/ A week later, we are not – not so fast! – the latest infection rate blamed on Omicron is only 58.6%. However, do not worry, because more new cases are coming.

The CDC model shows more cases about to be reported because of holiday visiting and air travel (at pre-pandemic levels). The fear level must be maintained because health officials do not understand Omicron’s severity. FEMA surge facilities are being prepared along with additional vaccination sites.

Conclusion

Is this pandemic only present on paper with specific criteria – new cases and hospitalizations? Every state has its programs to protect its citizens. For example, I track the Texas Medical Center website (https://www.tmc.edu/coronavirus-updates/overview-of-tmc-icu-bed-capacity-and-occupancy/) to see what impact the pandemic virus is causing at a local level.

The latest data shows 150 COVID-19 patients in ICU beds. At the Phase I Intensive Care Hospital Plan, there are over 1,300 ICU beds. The current impact is 11%. When those 1,300 ICU beds are full, Phase 2 and Phase 3 plans can accommodate almost another 1,000 ICU beds.

The Omicron variant is not benign. It can kill. It can hospitalize people (even those fully vaccinated – and even those with a recent booster – see last week’s headlines about the CEO of Southwest Airlines becoming infected). However, the hospitalization rates are significantly lower than the Delta variant, and the death rates are continuing to fall – as if there is no marked increase in new cases of COVID-19.

Is this a case of selective pandemic reporting? Unfortunately, no. It has not changed since the virus entered the news realm two years ago. So instead, maybe it is a case of not reporting what might be critical for people to know regarding the pandemic virus.

Live Longer & Enjoy Life! – Red O’Laughlin – RedOLaughlin.com

 

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