Dr. Hall - A potential leveling | WisCommunity

Dr. Hall - A potential leveling

May 16, 2022 - 8:34pm
COVID Data Graph
Weekly update - a potential leveling.
Cases in the Chippewa Valley, and indeed the state and region, appear to have leveled off a bit. Whether this is a true phenomenon or due to less testing by college campuses (most of whom have completed their semesters and closed their testing centers) remains to be seen. For now we are still at a Medium Community Level (Yellow) - that could potentially change in the next week or two if cases decline and hospitalizations stay low.
Transmission risk continues to be high, as in if you go to lots of crowded indoor places and don't mask, you are fairly likely to get infected. I chose to take that risk attending a local theater this past weekend, as a vaccinated and boosted low-risk person who has no big special events coming up or vulnerable persons with whom I regularly interact. We'll see if I end up regretting taking that risk or not.
Again, COVID now is different from COVID a year ago. Vaccines and boosters and natural infection plus a less virulent (severe) variant mean that, although cases (and hospitalizations) are going up, hospitalizations are not going up at the same proportion they used to, and in particular, ICU patients and deaths are not going up at nearly the same proportion. Is COVID still potentially fatal? Yes, just much less commonly so.
How does the current severity compare to influenza? In a bad flu season, there are about 50,000 U.S. deaths, but the typical range is from 12k-52k. In the past month, there have been about 11,000 deaths from COVID in the U.S. A typical flu season lasts several months, so we're currently about on par with a moderate to bad flu season.
Death is not the only outcome that matters, of course. Getting sick is no fun, nor are the post-infectious complications that we're seeing with COVID. But right now, at the moment, we're similar to a bad flu season. If cases rise significantly, that will be a different story. Hopefully, however, with the warmer weather, this surge may start to turn around soon.

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Alexandra Hall, MD
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