A ray of hope today that the spread of the coronavirus across American appears to be slowing down. Data compiled by the New York Times suggests that while the overall number of infections is still rising, even in states hardest hit by COVID-19, the rate of infections is easing.
Washington State was the first state in America to have a confirmed case of the novel coronavirus. The virus quickly spread, infecting an average of 2.7 additional people earlier in March, according to the NYT. After social distancing measures and other guidelines, this number has dropped to 1.4 additional people, according to one projection.
“We made a huge impact. We slowed the transmission,” Democratic Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan said according to the NYT.
New York state is seeing a doubling of hospital patients every six days. But it was worse last week.
New York’s hospitalization rate is doubling every six days this week, compared to last week when it reportedly doubled every two to three days. New York City is on a mandatory shutdown in an attempt to get people to stay home and stay healthy.
“So, while the overall number is going up, the rate of doubling is actually down,” Cuomo said according to CNN.
It’s not just the NY Times reporting that is showing a decline in infections.
Data from Kinsa Health, a company that makes thermometers that connect to the internet, backs up these state’s reports. Kinsa Health has been getting up to 162,000 temperature readings every day since the virus began to spread in America and created a nation-wide map showing fever levels on March 22.
This map shows that fevers are remaining at the same levels or dropping in almost every area across America as of noon Wednesday, the NYT reported. Friday’s readings showed that fevers were dropping in every single county in America.
Kinsa’s Health map has continued to show this positive trend regarding the novel coronavirus. Monday saw that over 3/4 of America were in the furthest stage of “decreasing” fevers.
It should be noted that this in no way suggests a bending of the curve when it comes to infections. Slowing the rate of doubling is hardly a victory. But the frightening trajectory of the pandemic may be showing signs of leveling off — not to where it would flatten out but where it could be managed by our healthcare system.
That’s the key metric: how many beds, how many patients, how many in ICU. People sick at home are not a burden to the healthcare system, although their being sick certainly affects the economy. But putting a massive strain on our hospitals and critical care units means that other patients who are not sick from the virus and could be saved from accidents, heart attacks, strokes, and other killers don’t get the life-saving treatment they would ordinarily get.
Their deaths aren’t counted as virus deaths, but they will die of the coronavirus just as surely.
So the immediate goal of taking the strain off of our hospitals appears within reach. And that’s an excellent first step.