Not since the July 4th, 2020 holiday weekend have I posted about COVID-19, unless we count my Oct. 8 blog-post Totally Under Control. But that post was more about Presidential lies and diversions while the same man, coronavirus’ biggest fan and ally was himself infected with COVID-19 that was supposedly “totally under control.” Two words: poetic justice.
Despite our White House occupant 1) pronouncing wild promises he could never keep, or 2) even in January and February was blatantly oblivious to the risks and dangers to all Americans this pandemic would devastate, and 3) the United States leads all countries in the world with the highest cases of COVID-19 despite being the wealthiest, spending more by comparison on healthcare, and one of the most advanced industrialized nations on the planet, this pandemic could’ve had a significantly reduced impact. Remarkably, none of that matters. And after two major resurges of new infections nationwide, and a third clearly on its way, it still doesn’t seem to matter. Why has the USA become the poster-child for the world of “What Not To Do in a Global Pandemic”?
Yes, the obvious and simple answer is NO INTELLIGENT FEDERAL LEADERSHIP. That’s a no brainer. But the ignorance and apathy trickles down to the state levels as well, particularly those states aligned with the White House’s politics. Considering more than just population-sizes, the highest number of cases and new cases are in the states with the most relaxed restrictions employed or they relax them very prematurely. Hence, those U.S. states have higher COVID-19 cases which over the last few decades have typically been dominated by Republican officials (see illustration above). Don’t believe me? Examine closely the coronavirus data and numbers since Jan. 21, 2020.
In July this year health agencies and organizations began tracking and using the metric “daily new cases per 100K population,” also referred to by epidemiologists as “incidence.” Incidence corresponds to a person’s actual chances of being infected and suggests how many people will likely be infected in the near future. This metric is a more accurate indicator of probable infection rates independent of a state’s land-size or that have multiple metropolitan areas with high population densities. In other words, it’s a good indicator of how a state’s protocols and restrictions are performing and have performed. With this fifth metric added (slideshow below) this is how more accurate COVID-19 rates can be tracked and managed:
Therefore, based on these current data-tables, twenty-three (23) Republican states have case rates greater than 2,000 per 100k people. There are only ten (10) Democrat states with case rates greater than 2,000 per 100k people and all but 3 or 4 of those states are at the bottom of the table of Incidence rates. Republican states dominate the highest COVID-19 incidence rates in the nation right now, no debate whatsoever. These are simply the viral facts and trends: Republican governing fuels this pandemic more than any other political party in the U.S.
Moreover, in the bigger scheme of things and aside from U.S. politics it is not just Republican ideology that is causing the “Most Infected Nation in the World” to begin its third (3rd) major COVID-19 spike and increased deaths. The problem is bigger and worse. This is why I am compelled to blog about COVID-19 yet again. 😡
American sports fans, sports leagues, commissioners, owners, city and state officials for public events, stadium directors, and anyone else associated with America’s biggest sports—primarily pro, collegiate, and high school football and MLB baseball—apparently do not get it. They do not seem to comprehend the various modes the deadly COVID-19 virus travels and how far aerosol particles of the invisible killer can float then infect. Sadly, this is not only a rising sports problem causing our third nationwide surge of new infections and cases. One huge problem is Americans are not recognizing or understanding that this deadly pandemic is novel, i.e. unknown and little-known other than it’s part of the family of acute respiratory syndromes like SARS and MERS. The global medical community is learning more every day, every hour.
As of today, however, there is no cure or vaccine against the virus. After 11-months of the pandemic worldwide, doctors and scientist have also learned two disheartening facts: 1) age nor “underlying health-risks” necessarily increase infection chances or death, and 2) patients previously infected can be infected again. It begs the question Why take multiple unnecessary risks of infection or reinfection, for yourself, family, or dear friends?
The idea that the virus is spread by either droplets or aerosols is an oversimplification, said Dr. Shruti Gohil, associate medical director of epidemiology and infection prevention at the University of California-Irvine School of Medicine. Gohil said it’s more of a spectrum, with the virus being transmitted by some droplets and some large aerosol particles as well.
One metric people in the hospital infection-control field focus on, though, is how many people one sick person infects. For COVID-19, research has shown that the number is about two—similar to a cold or the flu. For an unequivocally airborne disease like measles, the number is closer to 12 to 18.
Measles is “what airborne [transmission] looks like,” Gohil said. “If this was truly a primary aerosol-transmissible disease, we’d be in a world of hurt.”— Dr. Shruti Gohil, “A new debate: Does COVID-19 spread via tiny particles or larger droplets?” Tampa Bay Times, Sept. 23, 2020
With well over 1.12-million deaths worldwide by COVID-19, 220-million in the U.S. and rising (quicker), I think it is safe and sad to say “we are in a world of hurt.” There is no vaccine, no cure. The only effective steps today are 100% unity to prevent spreading, to quarantine, or to follow strict precautions while infrequently in public and not gathering in confined large numbers of generally 10 or more people! This has always been the warning and message from the real experts for the last 11+ months.
Having said this and known this since March 2020, many trigger-happy state Governors and city Mayors have opened up bars, restaurants, casino/gaming establishments, theme parks, and other leisure sectors and have had 3-6 weeks or more of increasingly relaxed COVID-19 restrictions. To add insult to injury, lax indifferent (non-existent?) enforcement of critical restrictions (let alone business owners abiding by required and suggested protocols) makes for over-worked hospital staffs, and higher increased death-rates. Then finally, add all that ignorance and disregard a big dose of America’s sports venues/leagues itching to return to normalcy too soon, football in particular. When it is all said and done the trend is going in the wrong direction and gaining momentum, once again. This isn’t more true than in the nation’s biggest college conferences and high school footballing towns.
According to data from the CDC, seven of the top eight states in the highest infection rates are home to at least one SEC team, and nine of the league’s 14 college towns are producing enough cases daily to be deemed sites with “uncontrollable spread,” according to the Harvard Global Health Institute. Harvard’s metric uses a seven-day rolling average of daily new virus cases per 100,000 people. Anything over 25 cases is considered uncontrollable.
If the SEC is bad, the Big 12 is worse. Four of the 10 Big 12 college towns are generating a daily infection rate of at least 50 cases. In data collected from Sept. 1-8, Big 12 college towns have a combined average of 35.8 new cases a day to the SEC’s 35.6, dwarfing all other leagues.
What are the two conferences planning to allow the most fans for home games this fall? The SEC and the Big 12.
“It’s really dangerous,” says Thomas Huard, chief clinical laboratory advisor at the Texas-based Campus Health Project. “It’s going to create spread. People don’t social distance even though the seats are spread apart. You go to the bathrooms, hot dog stand, beer stand. I think it is a disaster.”— Sports Illustrated NCAAF, “Inside the Correlation Between College-Town Infection Rates and Football Fan Attendance,” by Ross Dellenger, Sept. 11, 2020
High school football districts across the same 23 Republican states and college towns in the SEC and Big 12 are seeing the same uncontrollable spreading rates due to near non-existent enforcement of COVID-19 preventions at high school football games. Widespread confusion, contradictions, state-wide disunity of procedures, and very relaxed suggestions for crowds have further exacerbated the spread-rates. Examine the social-distancing and number of worn masks in the following slide-show:
I wonder, are there some correlations between major sports, sports leagues, and rabid fans… to political party affiliations? As a matter of fact, that leads my curious brain to another question: How many athletes, coaches, staff, sports owners, and rabid fans freely beseech and praise (or decry?) their God, Lord, or Allah before, during, or post-game, or post-season? Is there a correlation there as well?
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Update: CNN Health – 1:27pm, Oct. 20, 2020:
Daily Coronavirus Case Numbers in the US Are At Levels Not Seen Since the Summer, and 14 States Recently Have Set Hospitalization Records
“It is just not safe to take that kind of chance with people coming from different parts of the country of uncertain status,” Dr. Francis Collins told National Public Radio’s “Morning Edition” on Tuesday. “The problem with this disease is it is so easy for people to be infected and not know it, and then spread it to the ones next to them without realizing it.“
“All of this, I’m afraid, happens because we have not succeeded in this country in introducing really effective public health measures,” Collins said.
“Simple things that we all could be doing: Wear your mask, keep that six foot distance, and don’t congregate indoors, whatever you do, and wash your hands. And yet people are tired of it and yet the virus is not tired of us,” Collins said.
Live Well — Love Much — Laugh Often — Learn Always