August 24 coronavirus dashboard: break after wave BA.5

– by a New Deal Democrat

Overall, things are going in the right direction in the pandemic so far.

BIobot’s latest effluent update from a week ago shows a 1/3 drop in COVID particles across the country. Here’s the regional breakdown:

The West, led by CA, is down 50% and the South down 33%. The Midwest falls the least, perhaps due to the greater % of BA.4.6 in that area. Speaking of which, here’s the CDC’s latest update on various proportions:

Practically no change from a week ago. BA.5 accounted for 90% of all cases, with BA.4 4% and BA.4.6 6%. BA.4.6 accounted for 16% of all cases in the Central Plains, up from 14% a week ago:

BA.4.6 is not a very important factor elsewhere.

With no significant new variant on the horizon at this point, cases are down about 1/3 from their recent peak, to just over 80,000, while deaths (which are lagging) are still in the 575 range:

Except for 2 months around mid-2021, deaths were over 1,000 per day and reached 2,700 per day at all times from the start of the pandemic until last spring.

Hospitalizations have also begun to decline by more than 15% from their recent peak:

If hospitalizations and deaths follow the pattern in cases, hospitalizations should decline to about 32,500 in a few weeks, and deaths should gradually decline to about 350 after that.

Finally, some important demographic information. According to a University of Washington study, COVID remains a much more serious illness for the elderly and the unvaccinated.

Here is the population-adjusted breakdown by age and vaccination status of hospitalizations:

And here’s the breakdown of deaths:

Information is not calculated for younger age groups, as deaths among them are relatively rare.

Dr. Eric Topol also recently tweeted about the importance of seniors getting their vaccinations up to date with booster shots:

Hopefully, once the Omicron-targeted boosters become available this fall, the Biden administration will step up the exhortations to older adults to be fully reinforced.

In the meantime, there is a relative respite for now, which should last until a new, more suitable variant arrives, or the newly acquired resistance through infection wears off.

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