Hello again! We've got some scary and confusing trends in the data - here's the sense I can make of it.
I've been watching this national case rate graph get worse by the day:
This and map views
show that while the Northeast is doing much better, most everywhere else across the country is really getting into serious trouble. Washington has done a pretty great job on its own, but here it comes at us again! Cases are rising much more than the testing rate is rising.
To go back and start with the hyper-local: Since last time, the King County data dashboards
have a new geographical breakdown by census tract, which is significantly more precise than the zip code stats I used before. North Crown Hill is mostly in tract 14, with a bit in tract 16:
These two tracts combined have seen a total of 37 confirmed cases, 3 hospitalizations, and 0 deaths.
Now for King County as a whole:
Cases are up, hospitalizations are not, and test count is also up. Are the cases just from better testing? Nope! The jump up in testing (which I recall was driven by the drive-through testing sites opening) came before the rapid rise in cases. The UW Virology Lab's data shows that their positivity rate has roughly doubled after the first bunch of expanded testing.
So the case rate is genuinely higher, and the hospitalization rate is still low - a confusing combo. The short story is:
- We're catching cases earlier, with a longer lag time until deaths
- The average positive person has been younger (not sure big a factor that is in WA)
- We're catching a higher fraction of the overall cases with more testing
This Atlantic story
goes into more depth on the increased lag between those charts. I think things have
gotten worse in King County, but that they are not as bad
as March... yet. The trend across the South and in California
is still heading in the wrong direction, and even if everyone stays in sync with Governor Inslee's latest rules
, we're going to have quite a lot of Covid-19 cases coming at us via travel from other states for at least the next couple months.
These are my personal predictions - I'm well informed, but not prescient:
- The next few months will be scary: National daily case counts will probably shoot above 100,000. Death rates will likely go up to 2,000 per day again, and many states will be forced to take stricter measures.
- Locally, our hospitals may start to get close-to-full again, but I don't predict that we will see our fatality rate spike due to medical system overload.
- I would wager that Seattle schools will not allow students (at least 90% of them) to start the school year in person. Union-district negotiations, rising case rates... it just smells predictable.
- We will learn more about length-of-immunity protection. We do not know yet, despite some recent worrying evidence - but within a couple months we'll know more about T-cell versus antibody protection.
- This might take a little longer, but I see the vaccine debates starting up in earnest sometime soon, as a few vaccine candidates start to reach "looks effective, but still more risky than normal" status.
NCH Community Hotline
I've learned that, just like our local hospitals, current need is under capacity. :-) Very low traffic on the phone hotline so far. I'll keep repeating the message of availability - it's there if you (or your non-email-reading neighbors) need it!
Once again, the hotline number is:
(Phone number redacted from web-accessible archive. Sign up at www.northcrownhill.com to get the number!)
Please feel free to call that number for any reason (except emergencies
) that a friendly neighbor could be of assistance! Questions, support, deliveries - there's no harm in asking, and helpers who care!
As I wrote in my last newsletter
, the overall strategy should still be suppression
, (low tech) contact tracing
, and (supported) isolation
. We're doing decently on testing, middling on contact tracing, and poor at supporting folks who need help (location or monetary) to isolate.
Please stay safe! Don't share indoor air with unmasked persons.
That has been revealed to be the biggest vector by far. Other sources pale: Our family isn't disinfecting our groceries any more, and you don't need to worry much about passing an unmasked person outdoors. Please wear a mask in shared indoor spaces at all times - that reduces the biggest transmission vector, and
likely helps any cases that do
still spread to be less severe.
Peace, health and solidarity,