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Are COVID Cases Falling or Rising? Where Are You?

Are COVID cases going up or going down? A lot depends upon where you live. Some places are up while others down. Ditto for European countries

People are desperate to resume normal activities after more than a year of pandemic restrictions. Those who have been vaccinated are ready to invite friends over for dinner or a backyard cookout. They are hopping on airplanes and visiting relatives. Masks have been discarded. Many states have been lifting restrictions put in place to slow the spread of COVID-19 last year. That’s largely because COVID cases were falling for a few months. That has changed. Over the last week case reports are up in more than half the country. At last count, COVID daily cases were up 18% in the US. For the first time in two months Europe is also seeing an increase in coronavirus cases. 

The Coast is NOT Clear!

Many people looked at statistics showing declining hospitalizations and deaths and assumed the coast was clear. The Washington Post reports (July 1, 2021) that:

“New infections jumped 10 percent during the past week in the 53 countries that make up the WHO European region, the agency’s regional director for Europe, Hans Kluge, said at a briefing.

“He attributed the rise to increased mixing, summer travel and the rapid spread of the more contagious delta variant first identified in India.”

Australia is 6 Months Ahead of Us:

It may be hot in the US in July, but it’s cold in much of Australia. That’s because this is the middle of their winter. Remember that Australia was quick to lockdown early in the pandemic. Then it seemed as if they had beaten back COVID-19. Restrictions were lifted and people got on with their lives. The land of OZ looked like a great success story. 

Vaccination was not well organized. Confusion about shots led to chaos. Here is a link to vaccinations around the globe. As of June 30, 2021 here are some stats:

Percentage of the Population Completely Vaccinated:

  • Israel: 60%
  • Iceland: 56%
  • UK: 49%
  • US: 47%
  • Italy: 31%
  • Ireland: 20%
  • Mexico: 15%
  • New Zealand: 9%
  • Australia: 6%

Australia has locked down most of the country because of the spread of the Delta variant. Will this become our future in December and January? We certainly hope not. But COVID cases are rising in a lot of states.

Where are COVID cases Rising in the US?

The rise is quite steep in some places such as Nevada, Arkansas, Mississippi and Missouri. Several counties in Texas have high rates of new cases along with counties in Virginia and Georgia. Another indicator is per-capita hospitalizations. They are up in Missouri, Mississippi, Nevada, Arkansas, Florida, Utah and Wyoming.

California is also seeing a surge. In Los Angeles county, experts have seen a rise among unvaccinated people that is attributed to the Delta variant. As a result, officials are now recommending that people wear masks indoors in public settings such as grocery stores, workplaces and theaters.

At least 20 percent of the infections around the country appear to be caused by the Delta variant, which spreads more rapidly than other strains of SARS-CoV-2. Current vaccinations do seem to protect against it, however, prompting increased encouragement for people to get vaccinated.

The Short-Memory Phenomenon:

After a year of nonstop coronavirus news, many people are fed up. They just want to get back to some semblance of normalcy. California seemed like the prime example of a state that won the battle and life in the Golden state was once again “normal.” Then the Delta virus showed up. 

Here is the lede paragraph from the LA Times (July 1, 2021):

“Los Angeles County’s top public health official expressed growing alarm about increasing circulation of the highly contagious Delta variant of the coronavirus, particularly as the region grapples with an uptick in new infections.”

You have no doubt seen a lot of mask-less young people frolicking on beaches, hanging out in bars and generally celebrating the end of COVID. Were they jumping the gun? The Public Health Director for LA County says:

“We have enough risk and enough unvaccinated people for Delta to pose a threat to our recovery. And masking up now could help prevent a resurgence in transmission.”

That is why people in LA County are now being told to wear masks indoors.

COVID Cases Are on a Roller Coaster:

If you have looked at any of the coronavirus graphs, you have seen what looks a bit like a mountain range. The first “hill” showed up in late March and April of 2020. There was a slight decline or plateau in May and June and then a small “mountain” in July and August with a dip in COVID cases in September.

By November, though, we were back in the high coronavirus mountains. We hit peaks of COVID cases in November, December and January. By February, though, cases were declining steeply.

That’s when a lot of folks began letting down their guard. By March, states like Alabama, Arizona, Connecticut, Mississippi, South Carolina, Texas and West Virginia had loosened restrictions such as mask mandates or limits on restaurants. Florida and Wyoming allowed normal operations and full capacity in bars and restaurants.

Some States are Down—Others are Up:

We now have a patchwork of COVID cases across the country. As already described, some states are seeing COVID cases rising while other states are still looking pretty good. Perhaps more discouraging, though, is the country wide increase of 18% over the last seven days.

Final Words:

Most of us would love to be done with COVID-19. We want to get on with our lives and forget this yearlong nightmare. There is a word of caution, though. What we are seeing in Europe is worrisome. Public health authorities are warning that if we let down our guard too soon, we could experience a new surge in cases just like in countries in Europe and Australia.

Lots of people are partying without masks. The July 4th celebrations could be problematic. When partiers get drunk, they can get wild. We hope that emerging “hot spots” in the US won’t spread.

If vaccines can help us stay a step ahead of the virus, we may all be breathing a sigh of relief by October. There are too many unknowns, though, to make any predictions. Please remain vigilant and stay tuned. We will keep you informed of the latest trends in COVID cases as they unfold.

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About the Author
Joe Graedon is a pharmacologist who has dedicated his career to making drug information understandable to consumers. His best-selling book, The People’s Pharmacy, was published in 1976 and led to a syndicated newspaper column, syndicated public radio show and web site. In 2006, Long Island University awarded him an honorary doctorate as “one of the country's leading drug experts for the consumer.”.
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