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National changes Variant

National (US) update…

Your national epidemiological report (as of Jan 25 7:19PM CST)…

Cases are dropping and they are dropping fast. It looks like we have turned the post-holiday corner. Our 7-day average is now the same as it was in November. Today, 46 states have a decreasing 7-day average of cases and 5 states are plateauing. Not one state has an increasing 7-day average.

Hospitalization trends follow case trends. So, naturally, hospitalizations are looking better too. Hospitalizations in 33 states are decreasing, 16 states are plateauing, and 2 states are increasing (Vermont=27% and Kansas=18%).

Unfortunately, deaths lag hospitalizations. Deaths are still catching up from the holidays. 22 states have decreasing deaths, 18 states are plateauing, and 11 states are increasing. The highest increase in deaths is Arkansas (56%!), closely followed by Hawaii (54%). Yesterday, we had the highest daily death toll of ~4,400 COVID19 deaths in one day. Which is unfathomable. We are predicting 500,000 deaths by mid-February. This would make COVID19 the second leading cause of death in the United States… within 11 months.

We can finally add a new (positive) metric to the report… Vaccinations! 22.7 million doses have been administered. Of which, 3.3M people have received both doses. 41.4 million doses have been distributed. Today, Alaska is the winner with 13,264 per 100K doses administered. West Virginia is a close second with 11,383 per 100K doses administered. North Dakota and Nevada come in 3rd and 4th place. The Western US is, by far, the slowest to administer doses, with CA, NV, and AZ being at the bottom of the bunch. We have yet to gain speed in vaccinations, but this should be coming soon. We are figuring out ways to squeeze a 6th dose out of each vial (by producing special syringes) and deploying mass vaccinations sites. We should get to at LEAST 1 million doses per day in the United States soon. We can’t do this fast enough, as we need to beat the acceleration of the variants.

Every epidemiologist I know is worried about the B.1.1.7 variant (first discovered in the UK). It took 3 months for B.1.1.7 to become the dominant strain in the UK. If this variant continues to spread in the US, we are looking at a March surge that we’ve never seen before. As of tonight, B.1.1.7 is in 23 states with 293 lineage cases reported. But this is among a bias sample of cases. The U.S. ranks 43rd in percentage of cases sequenced. We estimate that B.1.1.7 is ~1% of cases in the United States.

We have 1.5 months to prepare. Early efforts that can limit the spread of the B.1.1.7 variant, such as universal and increased compliance with public health mitigation strategies, will allow more time for ongoing vaccination to achieve higher population-level immunity.

Love, YLE

Data Sources:

Case, hospitalization, and death data: COVID19 tracking project

Vaccinations: https://covid.cdc.gov/covid-data-tracker/#vaccinations

CDC variant/immunization rates in regards to infections: https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/70/wr/mm7003e2.htm…

Variant cases in the US: https://www.cdc.gov/…/transmission/variant-cases.html

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