In these twilight days of ATS, the last moments of this community, the last gasps of our time together, I have been polling and querying what the
community on ATS thinks of the covid-19 pandemic and what it would take to change your mind. That was my original question: what would
for the respondent ATSers to change their mind about the covid-19 outbreak. Then I followed up asking if you had changed your mind a number of times.
I will not ask that question anymore. Why? Because ATS' minds have been made up and no amount of data, no comments, no eloquent verbage either way
will change your mind. Almost all of you decided long ago what you thought the covid-19 outbreak was and haven't budged since.
I am not here to condemn nor praise. I am here because I am curious. ATS may be on its last legs, but the people will go on and while you are hardly
a representative cross section of Americana (and, yes, we are mostly yanqi here), you are an interesting bunch and do have some fascinating insights.
And, hence, I do still have questions. This time, just one, really, and I'll ask it at the end of the post. Before I do, let's have a little
update on the pandemic in the United States.
As of now, the time of writing, there are over 158,000 dead of the covid-19 virus by official stats of the states and counties of the United
States. Since January 19th, the first official reported case of covid-19 in the United States, the US has averaged a daily mortality rate of over
803. The total cases at this point are over 4,816,000 people. The total recovered is over 2,380,000. The mortality ratio has dropped to 6% of
cases. If the mortality/recovery ratio holds true, then we could have another 136k dead before those current cases are 'closed.'
It should be noted the total cases is not the same as the total infections. Cases are those diagnosed by doctors. The vast majority of infections
are 'submedical,' not requiring treatment and many are even asymptomatic. Those last are actually the most dangerous as they are wildly infectious
without ever knowing it. Reports state about 80% of infections are submedical. If
that is true, then the US has had over 22 million
infections so far.
The center of the pandemic has massively shifted. Originally, the NorthEast - centered on New York City - was the epicenter. California originally
flattened the curve with its preemptive shutdowns to only become one of the greatest centers of the disease. Los Angeles and the surrounding counties
being the hot spot. Florida also became a massive hotspot for the virus. Texas, Florida and California have surpassed NY for the total cases. Per
capita cases, the worst three states are Louisiana, Arizona and New York; however, Florida will surpass New York in the near future. Per capita
deaths, NY and NJ remain the worst by a lot. Ironically, California and Texas are below the national average for per capita deaths and cases.
This pandemic has been no stranger to controversies. The denial of the disease being real followed by the accusations it was an escapee from a
Chinese lab or an American bioweapon. Hydroxychloroquine decided to take their place when the public + media got bored of those and that in turn has
been replaced by the outrage some have over wearing masks. Florida was accused of covering up its total cases and deaths by one of the people running
the site for the state. Another of the weird and latest controversies here in the US is the Trump administration ordering hospitals to bypass the CDC
to send info directly to the White House. The whole reason for the CDC is to combat diseases like covid, so...wth?
There is some positive news. As stated, the mortality rate is dropping. We are down to 6% from 10% in the early in the epidemic in the US. The
virus has been mutating and the selection pressure may be for less lethality and more contagious.
More good news is the first vaccines have entered phase 3 testing. There are four different vaccines being developed and tested. All four have
been contracted by the government as a preparatory gamble to manufacture 300M doses each before they are proven. If they are effective, the
government will have a vaccine ready immediately and potentially multiple should there be a reason. Phase 3 testing is where ~30k people are enrolled
and half are given the vaccine. The other half are given a placebo. The study is blind: doctors administering the 'vaccines' do not know if they
are giving a placebo or the real deal. The participants are monitored to see if the vaccine is effective and if there are any short term side
effects. Normally, this is followed up by Phase 4 where long term effects are studied. It is probable this will be skipped. (note: this is a very
simplified version of what's involved for testing a vaccine)
Finally, testing is improving. Rather than weeks, some companies are able to do an accurate test with results within 24 hours of sample receipt.
There are some that are just as fast that do away with the nasal swabs and only use saliva. Since I am required to take a test each week, I am
definitely looking forward to NOT sticking that damned thing up my nose.
On the flipside, the US has had the worst case load in the world. 1/3 of all active cases are in the US. New Zealand is now virus free: they
restricted people coming into the country and following protocols like the shelter in place and wearing masks. The US could get covid under control
if Americans wore masks for 4 to 8 weeks according to the CDC. Yet, Americans have resisted.
That said, here's the question I have for my fellow ATSers: do you think the pandemic is on the wane or will it get worse? What do you think the
final death tally will be?