The U.S. Has Surrendered To The Pandemic. Protect Yourself.


July 08, 2020

Yesterday the United States registered more than 60,000 new Covid-19 cases. As the number of new cases continues to increase unabated about two weeks from now it is likely to reach hundred thousand new cases per day.

Source: 91-divoc – bigger

The increase of testing is not the cause of higher new case numbers. The rate of people among those who were tested and were found positive has also increased. In Florida, which yesterday had nearly 10,000 new cases, the positive test rate has reached nearly 20%. That means that the epidemic is still accelerating.

This did not need to happen. Yesterday Germany, at a quarter the size of the U.S., had 279 new cases. It does 1 million tests per week and the positive rate is decreasing. China has defeated a new local outbreak in Beijing by testing more than 10 million people. The last two days it reported zero new cases.

Many of those who test positive, especially the younger ones, will not fall ill with severe symptoms. But some 10-15% are estimated to need medical support. How many of them will die depends on the quality of care that can be given to them. Some thirty hospitals in Florida have already run out of space in their intensive care units. That is the point where the real emergency begins.

Six months after the disease was discovered more is known of how to care for Covid-19 cases. The death rate per cases has therefore decreased. But this only holds when there are sufficient beds, doctors and staff available. At the current U.S. rate that will soon no longer be the case.

We do know that the hospitalization curve follows the testing/symptoms curve by some 10-14 days while ICU admittance follows the above curve with some 15 to 20 days delay. The eventual recovery in an ICU bed takes up to four weeks. A bed once occupied will not be available for quite some time.

Trump’s new policy is to ignore the epidemic. He hopes that the people will get used to the carnage it causes:

Trump’s advisers [..] are seeking ways to reframe his response to the coronavirus — even as the president himself largely seeks to avoid the topic because he views it as a political loser. They are sending health officials to swing states, putting doctors on TV in regional markets where the virus is surging, crafting messages on an economic recovery and writing talking points for allies to deliver to potential voters.

The goal is to convince Americans that they can live with the virus — that schools should reopen, professional sports should return, a vaccine is likely to arrive by the end of the year and the economy will continue to improve.

White House officials also hope Americans will grow numb to the escalating death toll and learn to accept tens of thousands of new cases a day, according to three people familiar with the White House’s thinking, who requested anonymity to reveal internal deliberations. Americans will “live with the virus being a threat,” in the words of one of those people, a senior administration official.

“They’re of the belief that people will get over it or if we stop highlighting it, the base will move on and the public will learn to accept 50,000 to 100,000 new cases a day,” said a former administration official in touch with the campaign.

That may, to some extend, be possible. But 100,000 new cases per day also means that there will soon be 1,000 or so new death per day. The hospitals will fill up and the death rate will increase. More and more people will know someone who died of Covid-19. The economy will continue to only limp along as long as people fear to get infected.

My take is that Trump’s calculation is simply wrong. The epidemic will continue to get wide media coverage. The hot spots will change but without local lockdown measures each of them will lead to the overflow of local hospitals. This will increase the death rate.

It is now too late to stop the epidemic in the United States. That makes it even more important for its citizens to take personal safety measures.

All spreading events that affected multiple people took place in enclosed spaces. The virus prefers it cool and dry. Places with unfiltered air condition should therefore be avoided. Open a window to create airflow if possible. Stay at a distance from other persons. Wear a mask.

Masks significantly reduce the chance of catching Covid-19. Your mask also protects the people around you should you unknowingly have caught the disease. This week high quality N95 masks (FFP-2 in Europe) were again available in my local pharmacy. The price (€6.80) was ridiculous but I bought two to use them in turn. I put one on whenever I leave the house. (It is not required to wear one outside but I am simply too lazy to put it on and off whenever I enter or leave some place.)

These masks (see pic below) are quite comfortable, tight enough to not fog my glasses and there is no problem breathing through them. The masks are officially one time use only but there are safe and simple ways to steam sterilize them for reuse.My FFP-2 masks are similar to the one below but white and without a brand name printed on them.


Get used to wearing a mask. It is the new normal that is likely to stay with us for at least another year.

Posted by b on July 8, 2020 at 17:55 UTC | Permalink

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