Here It Comes Again?

There is a lot going on as I sit down to pen this. A shooting war in Europe, democracy under attack (OK, with the preceding that may be a bit redundant), domestic inflation (albeit transitional), gas prices (again, perhaps redundant), Judge Jackson’s confirmation hearings, voter suppression efforts, voter nullification effort, the war on women, the war on public education, inequity and of course climate change just to name a few. Today I want to talk a bit about COVID and a trend I may have spotted in the bud.

It’s early, I hold weekend numbers somewhat suspect – but, keep in mind, only because I feel they are often an undercount – and I certainly haven’t done calculations to test statistical significance (in all honest I forgot how to). All that said the 14 day rolling average COVID number of new infections is moving in the wrong direction again.

The new cases numbers for March 19 and 20 both showed a slight uptick. (Keep in mind those are Saturday and Sunday numbers so I have to believe, if anything, they were an undercount.) The percentage decrease, (at 35 and 33% respectively), has been decreasing which with the good news that would be somewhat expected considering that the new infections numbers had been dropping for several weeks.

The apex of the percentage drop occurred in the February 16 and 17 period at 68%. My fear is that once again we took a little good news and overreacted.

Mask mandates are all but non-existent. People are trying to act like COVID no longer exists. They are wrong! Leadership – and I’m being largely non-partisan here – has been cowardly absent. It appears that most office holders, regardless of party, are more afraid of losing reelection than being complicit in the death of their constituents.

Vaccination has proven to be the most effective weapon we have against COVID, (followed by masks). Assuming we do not allow a “super variant” that is immune to vaccines to mutate into existence, the disease appears to be fatal almost exclusively to the non-vaccinated, the vast majority of whom simply refuse to get the shots. For whatever to me inexplicable reason, in America this has become almost exclusively a partisan political issue. COVID infections are non-partisan! Therefore, the deaths are almost exclusively red (in political terms). I certainly don’t have a dog in that fight but there is a higher moral issue. Republican lives matter.

Is another wave coming? The reality is that the evidence is currently insufficient to draw a valid conclusion but the numbers combined with the rash of imprudent action tells me the answer may well be Yes. If the leaders refuse to lead prudently you can still act prudently; I do. Get fully vaccinated (the definition of which appears about to change again), wear a mask, practice social distancing and simply use your head for something other than a hat rack.

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