State of Affairs: Oct 17

The Delta wave continues to decrease in the United States. Cases have now declined 51% since its peak and now we’re averaging 86,000 daily cases. This is a welcome reprieve, but 86,000 per day is still a lot. In fact, higher than the peaks in Wave 1 and 2.

If we let our guard down too quickly, the United States could easily mirror the UK. The UK peaked on September 9 but after two weeks of decreasing, the UK reversed course. Cases are now exponentially increasing while the rest of Europe is fairing very well.

Relaxing public health measures only partially explains UK’s increase, though. Other factors include:

  1. Spread of A.4 (a new sublineage [mutation] of Delta);

  2. Suboptimal vaccination rates for kids compared to other European countries;

  3. Leveraging AstraZeneca (slightly less efficacious vaccine);

  4. Vaccinated sooner compared to other European countries (so vaccines are waning).

States

While the nation as a whole is doing well, there are certainly still hot spots. Alaska is, by far, the case leader with 125 COVID19 cases per 100K. Hopefully they’ve seen their peak already, as Anchorage reinstated mask mandates.

Six states have increasing trends. States with the fastest increases are Colorado (31%), Vermont (25%), New Hampshire (16%), and Michigan (15%). These are interesting leaders as they have pretty solid immunity walls (Michigan hit hard with Alpha; Vermont, New Hampshire high vaccination rates). But, because of that, all four of these are increasing linearly instead of exponentially out of control. This is also a testament of Delta- it can find unprotected pockets anywhere.

According to the CDC, when a county has moderate to low transmission we can take off masks inside. There are only 161 counties in this position right now, but I’m hopeful more will be there by November. Keep an eye on your county’s status HERE.

Deaths

We’re averaging 1,570 deaths per day. Thankfully deaths are down 17% in the past 14 days. In September, 49,500 deaths could have been prevented with a vaccine.

COVID19 continues to be a top 10 leading cause of death across all age groups. Yes, that includes 1-17 year olds. In fact, it’s the #1 cause of death for 35-54 years olds in August and September 2021.

Vaccines

65.5% of Americans are vaccinated, which lands the United States as #48 in the world. 10.5M people have boosted since August 13, which equates to 5.5% of our population.

The CDC has finally posted cases and deaths by vaccination status. And the story continues to be obvious…vaccines work. Waning has begun, though, so be sure to get a booster if you’re eligible (Moderna and J&J people will be eligible this week).

One concern/myth is that vaccines have harmful chemicals. But there are chemicals in, literally, everything we consume and use. For fun, can you tell the difference?

Love, YLE

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ANSWER: A. Vaccine (this is the AstraZeneca vaccine); B. Toothpaste; C. Wine; D. Chocolate (milk chocolate to be exact)