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COVID Update

Unleash Prosperity Hotline 
Issue #176
1) COVID Update

The death toll keeps rising and Dr. Fauci warns that post-Christmas January could be a terrible month. Polls show that Americans are very worried. Here’s a current snapshot of events here and in Europe.

Nearly all of Europe had peaked and is in decline — whether they locked down or, like Switzerland, did not.

The United States may, as in the spring, be tracking a few weeks behind. The upper midwest states that led this wave — having been largely spared to this point — are now in clear decline.

This chart from Johns Hopkins tells the tale, with the green states in decline the exact states that drove numbers and headlines just a couple weeks ago:

As we have long said, the rises and falls are happening regionally and lockdown policies appear to have little effect on the virus — although they do reliably flatten employment.

Here is an illustrative pair of states that rose sharply and are now in decline — hard lockdown Illinois and lockdown-banned-by-state-Supreme-Court Wisconsin:

That chart uses the percentage of emergency room visits with Coronavirus-Like Illness (CLI) which has been a reliable advance indicator of the direction of the pandemic.

We can also use CLI to contextualize the burden on our health care system. This chart, using the more stable weekly CLI data from the CDC COVID View report published every Friday, compares the combined CLI and Influenza-Like Illness (ILI) this year to the last pandemic (swine flu, 2009) and the most recent bad flu year:

The most recent weeks will likely revise up a bit, but it looks like a peak may be forming that is, in scale, broadly similar to other recent severe respiratory illnesses. Of course, COVID carries a much higher fatality rate, especially for the very old and medically frail. But the hand-wringing over hospital system capacity is not supported by the data.

Now for the case for optimism.

We have a lot more knowledge now than we did in the spring. We know steroids can be effective, when we were avoiding them then on the advice of the WHO. We know proning and gentler oxygen support are more effective than ventilators. We have the monoclonal antibodies. And soon we’ll have the vaccines. This is a triumph of modern medicine.

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