I have been following the COVID trend since the epidemic began. To me, the best indicator of COVID in our area has been the hospitalizations. Cases numbers can change based on the number of tests and who is being tested, the same with positivity percent. Deaths, can be a good indicator, but they lag the onset of serious COVID cases by several weeks, Hospitalizations, provided they haven’t changed the criteria for who is admitted to the hospital with COVID should be a reliable indicator of not just who is getting sick, but of the severity of the epidemic.
Back in March and April, COVID cases at our hospital shot up precipitously as the disease burned like wildfire through our area nursing homes, reaching its zenith the last week of April, and then by the end of May fell fairly precipitously. In those early days, nearly all the hospitalizations were people from nursing homes, elderly from assisted living, people in prisons, and group homes. The first spike lasted until June, and then nearly disappeared entirely by the end of July. We were struck by the second wave the first week of October, saw a slight lull in early November, then rocketed back up reaching a peak in early December. This time, the cases while still containing elements from the first wave, had many more elderly in the community as well as those with comorbidities like obesity, hypertension and kidney disease. While the second COVID spike was not as high as the first, it lasted much longer from December to the start of February in a slowly declining plateau. It has since declined significantly, but now appears to be be plateauing again. The other day I noticed of the ten patients we had left in the hospital, down over 80% from our December high, not a single one was over the age of 60. COVID has virtually disappeared from our SNFs. The experts say that is due to the vaccinations.
I read yesterday in the New York Times that cases nationwide and worldwide have stopped their decline. While they attribute the recent decline to vaccines, the worry is that the variants may now be coming into play, combined perhaps with pandemic fatigue causing people to be a little less cautious.
The Coronavirus Is Plotting a Comeback. Here’s Our Chance to Stop It for Good.
We are at an inflection point. Which direction will the graph go in next? I am hoping here in Connecticut, where he have been hailed as being one of the best states in vaccine distribution, the graph will soon look like it did this summer with few cases, and our spirits will lift with the warm weather of Spring, and that similar patterns will show all over the globe. I just checked our census and we are the lowest now we have been since October. I remain optimistic, but cautious.
Keep wearing your PPE.