Since early September, the number of COVID-19-positive cases has dropped sharply in the United States. These new cases, which were identified this summer and soared by leaps and bounds, are now less common. The number of hospital admissions for people with COVID-19 has also dropped dramatically. The seven-day average number of deaths per day, an indicator of a slowing trend, fell by 22 percent as of yesterday according to Worldometer numbers.
It is easy to understand why so many people believe the worst of this pandemic has passed. By the 7-day average daily death rate, the worst occurred in January, which was more than the April 2020 record.
Daily deaths in this year’s COVID-19 spike were significantly lower than those of last winter and the spring 2020. The daily average daily case increase for this summer was 14 times, but the number of deaths per day rose 8x. Compared to last fall and winter, the daily number of new cases increased sevenfold while the daily death rate rose fivefold. Even though coronavirus testing at the time was inadequate, it showed that deaths increased faster than reported cases in spring 2020. However, a greater proportion of infections could have been missed.
This is the expected result of a nation where an increasing percentage of its population has been vaccinated or acquired naturally immunity to protect them from the worst effects of COVID-19. A majority of Americans over 12 years old have had at least one dose, and two-thirds are fully vaccinated. Americans over 65, who are more likely to die from COVID-19, have a higher chance of getting vaccinated. Their rates are 85% and 96%, respectively. So it is not surprising that the case fatality rate (CFR)—deaths as a share of reported cases—resumed its downward trend after rising slightly in the first few months of the year.
Be cautious when calculating CFR, because the numerator is dependent upon testing procedures. The national CFR stood at 1.62 percent yesterday. This is more than twice the CFR for October 2020. It was also less than half of the CFR beginning in August 2020. And it’s about a quarter to one-quarter of the CFR mid-May 2020. These numbers show that COVID-19 has become less dangerous than ever, even though testing is expanding in 2020.
Expanded testing and the possibility of a lower CFR are two possible explanations. This expanded testing allowed for the detection of a greater number of mild cases. It also enabled for a healthier, younger mix of patients. The possibility of age-related changes in the outcomes is addressed by a December preprint. It focuses on hospitalizations and not confirmed cases.
According to the authors, although “testing was more common between the first wave and the second,” this “doesn’t explain” these waves. According to the authors, “age-stratified fatality rates in hospitalizations increased significantly between the first wave and the second wave of the national data (improving at least 27%)” but declined between Florida’s first and second waves (worsening about 2.9 %).”). By December 1, however, “both Florida and national data suggest significant decreases in HFR since April 1st—at least 17% in Florida and at least 55% nationally in every age group.”
These findings, according to the researchers, are in line with the idea that COVID-19 treatment improvements can be attributed for the declining CFR. It is now possible to lower the CFR further by widespread vaccination. However, this was only after the time period that the study covered. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, all 18-year olds and above were vaccinated. The CDC reported that “the cumulative COVID-19-associated hospitalization rates was 12x higher for unvaccinated individuals.” The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that patients who are not vaccinated have a 11-fold higher chance of dying from COVID-19 than those who are fully vaccinated.
These positive trends have not had an impact on either federal COVID-19 guidance or the policies of those jurisdictions that are inclined to adopt it. While vaccinations are now allowed for everyone aged 5 and older, minors have a small risk of contracting COVID-19. However, the CDC recommends that all people, including toddlers, wear a mask in public places. Although the advice is only for vaccinated individuals who live in an area with high or substantial transmission, it still applies almost to all Americans.
The CDC continues to recommend that all students in school, regardless their age or vaccination status wear a mask during the school day. However, there is no proof that this preventive measure has significant advantages over the large burdens that it imposes. Joseph Ladapo from Florida, the new surgeon general who opposed school mask mandates said yesterday that the evidence was “very weak.” He stated that “there’s a substantial gap in the quality data and the information we’re getting from our public health leadership.”
This is a fairly fair assessment. The CDC did not have any data to support a statistically significant association between student virus transmission and mask mandates at the time it issued current school recommendations. Nearly all studies that it relied upon did not compare mandated schools to other schools.
A CDC study, published after it had recommended that all students wear masks in Arizona, showed that those schools were less likely to experience COVID-19-related outbreaks. However, the researchers didn’t control for the possibility of an epidemic due to differences in vaccination rates.
A recent Twitter exchange gives you a sense of how desperate the Biden administration is to support its predetermined conclusion that students should be forced to wear masks—a safeguard the Education Department views as so important that it may be mandatory under federal laws protecting students with disabilities from discrimination. Secretary Miguel Cardona, Education Secretary: “Let’s get data-driven to follow the science when protecting our students at school.” tweetedAugust 27, 2009. What does science have to say about masking at school?
Cardona mentioned “a Wisconsin study,” which he said found “schools that required masking had a 37% lower incidence of COVID-19 than the surrounding community.” Tracy Beth Hoeg (epidemician) was the principal author of this study. She said, “Our research is not capable of giving any information about how masks contributed to the low in-school transmission rate.” wrote We didn’t have a control group, so we don’t know how the rate might have changed without masks.
Hoeg published his study in The CDC’s January 29, issue. Weekly Report on Morbidity & MortalityThe study found that student reported mask-wearing is high and transmission risk within schools appears low. Hoeg pointed out that it was impossible to determine if the former is responsible for the latter. The researchers didn’t compare different schools and did not examine the policies of each school. Cardona’s Utah study also shows the same. cited. Cardona claims to follow the science. If he had strong evidence mask mandates are vital, he wouldn’t be using studies such as these to support a hypothesis that they didn’t test.
Even if school masks are believed to have a substantial impact on viral transmission, this does not mean that the benefits outweigh the costs. This is especially true when you consider the availability of vaccines as well the low rate of infection deaths among teenagers (on average 0.002%) according to CDC estimates. Despite its efforts to find evidence supporting this conviction, the CDC insists that school mask mandates are cost-effective.
Let’s assume that the CDC is correct in stating that schools with mask requirements are a prudent precaution in certain circumstances. What happens if conditions change? What happens when the CDC realizes that mandates for masks are no longer necessary?
As There are reasonsMatt Welch points out that CDC Director Rochelle Waltensky thinks “universal masking”, even as the mass vaccination of young students continues, will go on. The CDC recommends that mask-wearing should be continued even after vaccinations have been completed. However, indefinite mask orders will become unworkable even in cases where school and parents are likely to believe the CDC.
The CDC ties its recommendations for masks to community transmission. This guarantees that it won’t alter its recommendations as long as the criteria for “substantial spread” apply. For example, 50 new cases per 100,000 in the past seven days, and a test positive rate of 8 percent. At the moment, 94% of U.S. counties surpass this threshold. However, focusing only on the new cases can be misleading as people who have been infected with coronavirus are becoming less likely to become ill. COVID-19’s effectiveness at preventing potentially life-threatening infections, such as coronavirus, is what ultimately determines the merits of COVID-19 precautions like vaccinations and masks.