Covid (BA.5 edition)

Covid has slipped out of the news, but the BA.5 variant is spreading rapidly in America now. Ars Technica had a recent piece reviewing the situation. At this point, Covid numbers themselves don’t mean much as people are often not reporting mild cases. Deaths and hospitalizations are still regularly used metrics though. The most recent surge in Covid cases has seen a substantial rise in hospitalizations, but the good news is that the number of deaths shows no signs of tracking hospitalizations as it has in past surges.

I pulled the DelCo numbers from the state’s website and the trends here seem to fall in line with the national trends.

Covid deaths in DelCo
Covid hospitalizations in DelCo

Cases and hospitalizations are high, but deaths remain low. The ventilator numbers in DelCo are averaging <1/day, which suggests that few cases are calling for last resort measures. Vaccinations and better treatments are likely key reasons for the improving outcomes – although vaccination numbers in America remain appallingly low at around 2/3 of the population. In Bloomberg’s Covid resiliency rating the U.S. is only 36 of 53 countries studied.

Then there is the intangible but powerful factor of societal trust and cohesion. This has proven a major differentiator in why some populations have more effectively mobilized at every stage of the pandemic: they’ve consistently and in greater numbers complied with social-distancing guidance like mask-wearing, come forward to be inoculated in large numbers—Korea has vaccinated almost 90% of its population—and worked to protect the most at risk among them.

America is more of an argument than a nation today. Societal trust and cohesion are in short supply. Americans have also largely given up on slowing the spread of Covid. One of the groups I’m in recently held their national convention. Few wore masks and there was no distancing so of course…many people went home with Covid. Experts continue to highlight the need for masks and vaccinations. Boosters are coming for the rest of us this fall with our flu shots.

Expect the Covid numbers to rise in the fall, so have plans in place for isolating. As Steven Dubner says at the close of his podcast, “Take care of yourself and, if you can, someone else too.”

Categories: Ramblings