The Rise of Fall

Friday and Saturday were the two highest days for case numbers in the US so far, each over 83,000.  Our previous high had been about 78,310, so that’s quite a jump.  The 7 day average now stands at 66,970 just below the summer peak of 67,463.  At the rate cases have been increasing, we should see a new peak either today or tomorrow.  Here’s an updated chart.

You can see that the red line has started to curve up at the right end meaning that deaths are also on the rise. We are currently averaging 800 deaths per day.  This number will increase as today deaths are from cases that started, on average, about two weeks ago  Expect deaths to continue rising until about two weeks after cases start falling.

The real danger here is that we are just at the beginning of the flu season.  COVID is not the flu, but it thrives under similar conditions.  Those conditions will be with us for the next four months at least, depending on where you live.  Whatever risk level you have been living with over the last 4 months will be greater over the next four unless you take steps to reduce it further.  The three most important things you can do are:

1) Wear a mask.  Masks are the condoms of COVID.   I know some of my readers may find that a bit blunt, but that’s the way of it. Like condoms, masks aren’t a guarantee, but they are protection nonetheless.  There is some evidence that they may help to reduce the severity of infections even when they don’t fully prevent them. If you’re interacting with someone without a mask, you’re interacting with everyone they’ve been around for the last two weeks.  If you don’t know their history well enough to have unprotected sex with them, wear your mask.   Here’s a song you can hum to remind yourself of this.

2) Avoid indoor gatherings  This is one of the main dangers of the season – we’re all indoors more.  If you’re used to talking to your neighbors from 10’ away across the fence, it may be tempting to invite them inside for a brief visit.  But even with masks, the danger of indoor visit is substantially greater.  The more people you are around indoors, and the more time you spend around them, the greater your risk of infection and likely the greater the risk of a severe infection.  Find your inner misanthrope.

3) Stay healthy.  In normal years, a cold or flu might not be a big deal.  But in COVID times they’re more dangerous.  Being ill makes you more susceptible to other infections.  If your nose is runny and your eyes are red, COVID will have an easier time finding a hospitable landing spot.  If your body is busy fighting off the flu, it may not have as much energy to fight off a small bit of COVID that might not otherwise have been an issue.  If you happen to have an unknown COVID infection, getting a cold or flu will spread it to others more readily and also tax your own resources for getting rid of COVID.  So, get your flu shot, do it now if you haven’t already, and maintain whatever health regimen works best for you.

That’s all for today.  Fall is already as bad as summer; winter is in the wings waiting for someone to hold its beer.

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