Coronavirus

COVID-19 Cases Peaked in Our House Around the Same Time They Peaked in Texas

Nationwide, newly reported infections have been falling since January 14.

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COVID-19 cases peaked in our house last Monday, when our 15-year-old daughter was recovering from her bout with the disease and my wife started feeling the symptoms of hers. As it happens, that was around the same time the seven-day average of newly reported cases peaked in Texas, where we live. According to Worldometer's numbers, the omicron wave crested in Texas on January 18; according to the New York Times database, the average peaked on January 17.

Both sources show the nationwide average falling sharply since January 14, the day after I published a post headlined "There's Good Reason To Think the Omicron Wave Will Peak Soon." I can hardly claim clairvoyance, since many people were saying the same thing at that point, based on local, statewide, and regional trends as well as the experience of other countries where the omicron variant spread earlier.

In South Africa, where omicron was first identified in November, newly reported infections exploded until mid-December and have plummeted since then. Other African countries covered by President Joe Biden's omicron-inspired travel restrictions saw a similar pattern, and so did the United Kingdom, where the seven-day average of daily new cases more than tripled between mid-December and January 5 but has dropped by 50 percent since then.

According to Worldometer, the U.S. case average fell 29 percent between January 14 and yesterday. The Times database, which includes "probable" COVID-19 cases as well as laboratory-confirmed infections, shows a smaller drop of about 14 percent.

"In the Northeast and New England and Upper Midwest states, [newly reported cases] have peaked and [are] starting to come down rather sharply," Anthony Fauci, Biden's top COVID-19 adviser, noted on ABC's This Week yesterday. "There are still some…Southern states and Western states that continue to go up. But if the pattern follows the trend that we're seeing in other places, such as the Northeast, I believe that you will start to see a turnaround throughout the entire country….It's a large country, and [there is] a great deal of variation in the degree of vaccinations that we have in one region compared to another. [But] ultimately, they're all going to go in the same direction."

Hans Kluge, the World Health Organization's regional director for Europe, was also cautiously optimistic. "Omicron appears to cause much less severe disease," Kluge noted today. Thanks to vaccination and naturally acquired immunity, he said, "omicron offers plausible hope for stabilization and normalization." Kluge warned that "with the millions of infections occurring in the world in recent and coming weeks, coupled with waning immunity and winter seasonality, it is almost a given that new COVID-19 variants will emerge and return." But he added that "a new wave could no longer require the return to pandemic-era population-wide lockdowns or similar measures."

The Times database shows the seven-day average of COVID-19 hospitalizations in the United States, a lagging indicator that includes patients who test positive after being admitted for different reasons, continuing to rise until January 20, then dipping slightly in the last few days, which could be the beginning of a downward trend. It shows the seven-day average of daily deaths, including "probable" cases, continuing to rise through yesterday, when it was nearly 2,200, compared to a peak of more than 3,300 last winter. Worldometer, by contrast, put that average at less than 1,900 yesterday, down slightly since January 20.

"There may be a bit more pain and suffering with hospitalizations in those areas of the country that have not been fully vaccinated or have not gotten boosters," Fauci said. "But we do know that…even with omicron, boosting makes a major, major difference in protecting you from hospitalization and severe outcomes. So things are looking good. We don't want to get overconfident. But they look like they're going in the right direction right now."

As Reason's Ron Bailey reported on Friday, a new analysis from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicates that booster shots reduce the risk of hospitalization among Americans infected with omicron by about 90 percent compared to unvaccinated Americans. According to recent data from Canada, Bailey noted, unvaccinated 60-to-69-year-olds are 58 times as likely to be hospitalized with COVID-19 as people in that age group who have received three vaccine doses. They were 560 times as likely to need intensive care.

Our 15-year-old daughter—who has received two vaccine doses but but was unlikely to experience severe effects from COVID-19 in any case, given her age and health—ran a fever for a few days. Her symptoms included body aches, dizziness, a headache, and a sore throat. Today, after a week or so in her bedroom, she returned to school, where she apparently picked up her infection to begin with.

We were more concerned about my triply vaccinated wife, because she is older and takes an immunosuppressive medication. Her symptoms included fever, congestion, sore throat, cough, dizziness, and some loss of smell and taste. She is still dizzy but seems to be fever-free now, a week after the onset of her symptoms.

While that one anecdote does not count as evidence of anything, my wife is grateful that she was vaccinated and glad that she was infected during the omicron wave, since multiple studies suggest that variant, while highly transmissible, is milder than earlier iterations of the coronavirus. Furthermore, infection by omicron seems to provide additional protection against the delta variant, which is more likely to cause severe symptoms.

Our 28-year-old daughter, who lives elsewhere and is triply vaccinated, had COVID-19 a few weeks ago, and her symptoms were likewise pretty mild. Our 19-year-old daughter and I have both received three vaccine doses, and so far we have tested negative. Now that my wife has been infected and has mostly recovered, our uninfected daughter's main concern is how catching the virus will affect her social and college life, while I am mainly worried about having to cancel Wednesday night poker for another week. This is what "normalization and stabilization" looks like in our house.

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  1. Graphs showing the huge change in new covid case rates for all 50 states (just updated this morning) are at
    https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2020/09/01/816707182/map-tracking-the-spread-of-the-coronavirus-in-the-u-s

    1. Cases. They're trying to shock the public with how terrible the case count is. But with this relatively mild variant, it could actually be a blessing in not-so-subtle disguise.

      Furthermore, I noticed that they did not have any graphs at all for state-by-state death rates, but even though they insisted on counting every single covid-adjacent death as being FROM covid, the nationwide graph they displayed did not show an upward tick that corresponded in any way whatsoever to the spike in 'cases'.

      1. Earning dollars every month while staying at home in this pandemic. stay safe and earns more than $800 every single day. last month i made $30000 from this and i do this job just after my college for maximum 2 hrs. a day. edc Simple and easy work to do and regular earning from this are pretty good. go to this website right now for info about this…….. http://moneystar33.blogspot.com/

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          1. One more than excessive.

    2. And, if you look at the worldometer stats pages linked in the article -

      My state, Missouri, has a population of about 6 million people.

      They list total cumulative cases for MO at 1.27 million. So about 1 in 5.

      But total deaths at around 17,000. So about 1 in 350.

      And then oddly enough, since they only list 840k 'recovered' covid cases in MO, that means - somehow - we still have over 400k active cases? And that represents 33% of ALL people who ever tested positive? (That doesn't sound right) But in any event, our daily covid-related death total - for the state - is hovering currently around 5.

      So 1 in 1.2 million.

    3. So, it is like the flu or a bad cold? And natural immunity is the way forward. Wow like every other pandemic...masks don't work and apparently marginal vaccines don't either other than perhaps lowering an already very low fatality rate among those at risk. So a more rational policy would have been
      1. Keep things open. No shutting the economy down. No printing trillions of dollars igniting inflation
      2. Those at high risk (old and obese) to take extra precautions
      3. Speed up vaccines AND treatments

      Vaccines were never about public health but private health. We all have to be exposed at this point or at least most of us. Just like every other pandemic. All this stuff about masks, and social distancing, and flatten the curve was theater and nothing more. Oh and enriched the usual suspects in DC.

  2. Glad your family members are on the mend, Sullum.

    Now, since you became a total lefty, how do you survive in TX?

    1. Sadly, there are a ton of leftists here.

      Not that the Republicans don’t do their fair share of stupid shit (making it illegal for ANYONE under 21 to work at a strip club comes to mind).

      1. Arizona solved that problem by only doing that if they serve alcohol. Not sure why alcohol effects the 3 year age gap. But totally uncovered for the non alcohol establishments as well.

    2. I'm going to be an asshole and say that he lives in Austin. It's basically east California now.

      1. He lives in Dallas which isn't quite as bad.

    3. Awwwww... how kyEEEwt! An anonymous national socialist christianofascist trumpanzee spots a Bolshevik (anyone who does not kneel to lick the blacking off the defeated loser Don's golf shoes) and makes a rear iris remark. Definitely illiterate with maybe a head injury. Sullum will ignore. Libertarians will trash.

  3. I find it funny that Sullum's triply vaccinated family got hit with COVID and the lesson he takes from it is that the vaccines work.

    Can't fix stupid.

    1. Can't fix stupid.

      Especially if he keeps cancelling his poker nights.

    2. excepting myself, the entire vaxxed office has gotten the Omicrons

      1. My triple vaxxed wife caught COVID and spent a week coughing all over my unvaxxed face. We tested every day and every day she tested positive and I tested negative (until she started testing negative too).

        Good times. I am the only one in my family that is unvaxxed and the only that did not catch COVID.

        Just an anecdote, sure. But I find it hilarious.

        1. oh yes hilarious. if I wasn't more a karma guy I'd be more public about the schadenfreude

        2. I ordered the free covid test from the USPS a week ago, but still haven't received them.

          Its a good thing I didn't wait until my wife or I actually felt sick before ordering the tests.

          Thanks Brandon.

        3. A good friend of mine had the same experience. His very small kid caught covid, was feeling droopy for about 24 hours then was back to normal. His double vaxxed wife caught covid-- wasn't fun, but she got through it. His unvaxxed self never caught it (or hasn't caught it yet and it's been 6 weeks).

          Or... OR... he was an Asymptomatic SUPERSPREADERRRR!

          1. Secretly I hope I'm an asymptomatic super spreader.

        4. You probably had it way earlier.

      2. Time to double down on the vaccine passports then, obviously.

      3. This is crazy to me.
        I live in Northeastern Florida. My father lives here too.
        Neither of us have been sick in 2 years. Between the two of us, we only know one person around here who's had it in the last year.
        But I'm reading all these people who have had it elsewhere.
        Are people actually getting sick or are they just testing positive?

    3. If the vaccine reduces the severity of your symptoms, would you say it doesn't work?

      1. Speaking for myself rather than Geiger; Any fraction * 0 symptoms = doesn't work. Definitively.

        Moreover, vaccinated + symptoms/positive test < unvaccinated + 0 symptoms.

      2. First define what you mean by "work".

        1. The treatment is working.

      3. How can you possibly hope to quantify “reduces the severity of your symptoms” when no one knows what the severity of the symptoms would be without the vaccine?

        1. Now do gun control.

        2. Same way you do with any drug research. With a large enough sample and control you can be fairly confident that there is an effect. Of course you still can't say it did or didn't do anything for any particular individual. And I don't know enough to comment on the quality of the research that has been done.

    4. My triply vaccinated family did the same thing. It was a bit hilarious watching them try to claim break through cases were rare the first few days though.

      1. Yeah, I was sitting there with an obvious case of omicron at Christmastime, reading in our local news that only one official case has been detected in our area. The local health authority took about a week or two to get their omicron testing act together.

        1. You said you never got tested. But you really want to virtue signal as belonging to the group that got it. What a weird behavior.

          1. Covid can species jump to sea lions?

        2. Yeah, I was sitting there with an obvious case of omicron at Christmastime,

          No proof available.

        3. That was me. I was telling my family I had it for a full week before they believed me (they were convinced I had the normal flu or cold, because I took the at home tests too early and got false negatives), after my sister got it.

    5. So, vaccines were not about public health but reducing an already very low fatality rate? See my point "cuties"?

  4. Typhoid Karen

  5. Here in Virginia, the Branch Covidians in the blue parts of the state (natch) are fighting fanatically to keep forced masking of children in public schools. It doesn't matter that forced masking doesn't accomplish anything useful; The Sacred Church Of The Holy Face Diaper hath spake.

    1. Just start saying the Branch Covidians are perpetuating child abuse with the forced masking. Seriously, that's what it amounts to at this point with Omicron.

    2. And blame the GOP/Bush by expanding govt. Who did that idiot think the DHS and rest of the federal workers living in northern VA would vote for? anxious little federal workers...like school teachers...sucking on the teat of the Fed and fing up America...if the GOP had any balls they would shut down ever last federal agency created after 1960 and send the gifters packing.

  6. >>picked up her infection ... from a fellow student who had tested positive

    or any other person on earth she came in contact with.

    1. She also caught gonorrhea from a tractor.

      1. totes possible. those seats get sweaty

      2. She shouldn't have been riding it in her bathing suit

        1. It was used to plow.

    2. The 1-2 week incubation period makes it damn near impossible for normal people to know where they caught it. I have no clue who I caught it from at work, the store, or any other places I'd been in that time frame. Chances are good that the rest of the family caught it from me since I was sick first.
      Unless people are still actually isolated in their houses all the time it will be difficult to definitively declare how they become infected

  7. Sullum, if you were anything remotely resembling a libertarian, you’d know libertarians don’t actually care about this shit very much at all.

    The only people sitting there frantically monitoring the daily COVID case rate every day are terrified left wing freaks like you who go around wearing your face mask outside, in the car, when you’re sleeping, and probably even when taking a shower.

  8. takes an immunosuppressive medication

    I will give Sullum props here. At least he didn't perpetuate the "She's had a genetic disease for 60 yrs. or has been in the hospital at some point in her life, ergo immunocompromised." idiocy.

  9. Good news, LA schools ban facial decorations, new rule insists on newer, better facial decorations.

    Students in the nation’s second-largest school district will no longer be allowed to wear cloth masks on campus, according to new guidance posted ahead of the school week.

    Los Angeles Unified School District students are required to wear “well-fitting, non-cloth masks with a nose wire” while at school, according to guidelines posted Friday on the district website. The site also notes that masks are required at all times – indoors and outdoors – and that all students and employees will be required to wear surgical-type or higher-quality masks.

    1. Well-fitting disposable surgical masks and KN95s offer more protection, and well-fitting respirators, including N95s approved by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, “offer the highest level of protection,” according to the CDC.

      What about a box I got from Amazon that was made in China and is labeled "KN95... now with much extra protecsion!"

  10. Our 15-year-old daughter—who has received two vaccine doses but but was unlikely to experience severe effects from COVID-19 in any case, given her age and health

    Thank you for saying at least this. There are SO many young, healthy people who say they caught covid, and were thankfully spared hospitalization and death for which they credit the vaccine.

    1. The deaths and hospitalizations that have happened to teenagers from COVID-19 are insignificant, yet we’ll hear from the same mouths endlessly about the relatively few cases of myocarditis in teenagers from vaccination.

      (I agree, by the way, that serious illness among teenagers is insignificant. But disagree that there’s any significant downside to their taking advantage of vaccination.)

      1. What we'll hear is that the myocarditis risk is not all that much different from the COVID risk. So pick your poison vs. having it shoved in your arm. What's irresponsible is the claim (or at least the overall attitude) that the myocarditis risk is should be ignored.

        1. The risk is much higher from getting COVID than from getting vaccinated. Numbers matter.

          1. Cite?

      2. One is a positive action the other passive. 100% of the vax related myocarditis cases could have been prevented. Meanwhile there has been little to know benefit for children from the vax to counter any negative outcomes, that where never likely in the first place, from an infection that is not 100% guaranteed.

      3. we’ll hear from the same mouths endlessly about the relatively few cases of myocarditis in teenagers from vaccination

        As an argument against making those vaccines mandatory.

  11. I'm one of the shrinking number of people I know who hasn't gotten COVID. I attribute my fortune to the lack of a third shot.

    1. Everyone I know who's had it was vaccinated.

    2. I wouldn't be surprised if I've had a very mild case sometime in the past month or so. But everyone I know who has had it in the past year has been vaccinated.

    3. I've tested positive three times so far.

      1. Are you positive?

    4. Think I had it in January 2020 (before it got popular). Had a miserable flu for 2 days.
      Haven't been the least bit sick from anything at all since.

  12. The "reported" part of this matters. Anecdotally, I know more people sick with it now than ever before. The count may also be falling due to more home tests (and that employers are accepting home tests as valid.)
    Our whole house had it recently. I had symptoms first but didn't test due to it only lasting 2 days and none of the symptoms being respiratory. My wife felt sick later and took a home test. Then I took it and also came up positive. The kids had mild symptoms but we decided not to test until it would be negative so they can return to school. My wife got the pcr test to confirm. That's 4 infections with 1 reported case. Just one reason to not trust the data

  13. So, about 2 weeks after the family holiday get-togethers?
    And OSHA still wants to call it a "workplace hazard"?

  14. For as much as they like to talk about how important the booster is, you would think the CDC would make it far easier to get information on breakthrough cases. When it comes to the booster, the relevant question isn't unvaccinated vs booster, it is vaccinated vs booster.

    "booster shots reduce the risk of hospitalization among Americans infected with omicron by about 90 percent compared to unvaccinated Americans."

    Means very little when just being vaccinated reduces your chances of being hospitalized by close to 90% anyway.

    Ultimately, it wouldn't surprise me if the booster helped a bit, but this focus on boosters is losing the plot. Getting the primary series makes COVID roughly flu-like risk. Let's keep that as the message. The fact that the booster might be able to, say, halve that small risk is nice (particularly, if you are a senior) but this rush to get kids and adults in their 20s boosted is nonsense, particularly when COVAX can't secure primary series doses for high risk people in the developing world. And, the booster only got the EUA on a technicality: there is no way that the health burden of COVID on vaccinated folks would rise to the level of an emergency. It is exploiting the health burden of COVID in the unvaccinated who don't even qualify for the booster to "explain" why they need to shortcut the normal approval process.

    1. I really struggle to believe this data. They were quick to say the vaccines were 90%+ effective. They never stopped transmission or illness. Then they changed it to 90% less chance of hospitalization. This is where case count actually matters and I struggle to believe the data has been parsed properly. What percentage of people who get covid legitimately end up needing to stay in the hospital? What are the stats of covid cases and hospitalizations broken down by vaccination status, age, and comorbidities?
      Is the chance of someone my age and health ending up in the hospital from covid a fraction of a percent? If so, then why the hell should I care if the vaccine reduces that by 90% when the risk was already a rounding error?
      Fwiw, not socially distancing, not wearing masks, and not being vaccinated was 100% effective for me for almost 2 years in preventing infection. I was exposed dozens of times that I know of in that time and several multiples of that unknowingly.
      From the beginning the strategy should always have been the same: protect the at-risk populations (isolation and further precautions around them), quarantine those who are sick (still curious how the definition of quarantine changed to include the broad healthy population), and wear masks when sick and have to be around others. We would have been done with this long ago if this basic strategy was followed rather than the illogical garbage being pushed on us

  15. How much oil would China have to spill to pollute the entire planet and everyone on it like Chinese Covid poisoning has?

  16. "but but"?
    Don't say "but."

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