Clinlab Navigator

COVID19 Up Up and Away

National stay-at-home orders went into effect in mid to late March around the country. At that time hospitalizations & deaths were still at a relatively low level. The average number of new cases per day in the United States peaked at 31,000 on April 10 and then slowly declined over the next 80 days to reach a plateau of approximately 22,000 per day. Hospitalizations began leveling off through mid-April and then had a very slow decline. Deaths leveled off late April through early May and then began a gradual decline in June.

A few weeks after reopening the economy, the pandemic has surged again as evidenced by:

  • Test positivity rate steadily increasing since the first week of June
  • COVID19 cases trending upward since the week of June 11
  • Hospitalizations increasing since the week of June 25
  • Deaths starting to increase during the week of July 9

On July 16, the United States reported a record number of 77,255 new daily COVID19 cases. The U.S. is close to surpassing the peak level of hospitalizations that occurred in April. Deaths have increased back to the April peak level of 30,000 per month. Rising death counts reflect viral transmission that began rising approximately 1 month ago. The U.S. is still in the early stages of the uptick in deaths.

More than 3.5 million people have been infected with SARS-CoV-2 and 140,000 people have died of COVID19. It took 95 days to diagnose the first one million COVID19 cases, 43 days for the second million, 28 days for the third million and only 8 more days to reach 3.5 million. COVID19 is clearly exhibiting exponential growth. There is no indication that the number of cases is close to reaching its peak.

Slowing the pandemic wave will be harder this time around. Much of the economy remains open and people are much more mobile than they were in March and April. Federal and state governments are beginning to roll back reopening measures by closing businesses and venues with super-spreading potential. About half of the states have mandated the wearing of masks and social distancing. However, President Trump and many Sun Belt governors have continued to downplay the ongoing pandemic. Governors DeSantis, Ducey, Kemp, and Abbott have opposed re-imposing major restrictions even though their states continue to set daily records for the number of new cases, hospitalizations and deaths.

The most severely affected states have reached the limits of what they can accomplish on their own. The federal government still needs to improve its ability to; supply more PPE, test supplies, contact tracing, economic incentives for social distancing; enhanced protection for high-risk groups; and additional assistance for hospitals.

If these efforts fail to control the pandemic now, battling COVID-19 in the fall will become even more challenging when influenza begins its seasonal resurgence.

AddThis Social Bookmark Button