We’re not going the right way.
Since the start of March, our daily cases have increased from 10 to more than 20 cases per 100,000 population per day. The test positive percent has double from just under 5% to 9.5%. Both have moved rapidly in the wrong direction, despite increasing vaccination and the availability of very effective non-pharmaceutical interventions to prevent infections. In communication with health care systems, an uptick has begun on admissions to the hospital, an indicator which usually lags this epidemic curve by a week or so. Predictably, after that comes ICU stays, ventilators, and deaths.
The new surge is likely related to lax masking and inadequate social and physical distancing associated with spring break, St. Patrick’s Day, and especially mistaken sense that the worst is over. Published evidence confirms what we saw in the summer, that young adults, aged 20-49, are driving our epidemic. They may not get sick, but they transmit the virus to those who will.
We are in a race against time. Can we push infection rates low enough to stop the evolution and spread of SARS-CoV-2 variants that evade immunity gained from previous infection and resist vaccination with the currently authorized vaccines?
How do we do that?
It’s up to you.
Louis M. Katz MD