State of the U.S. Pandemic

Because I have seen a couple news stories claiming that SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2)/COVID-19 cases are rapidly rising among the young, a look is warranted. According to the CDC, the trend is dramatically downward for all age groups from a recent peak during the first week of the year. For example: 496 cases per 100,000 for 18-24 year olds on January 2; 390 for 55-64 year olds. May 1: 33 per 100,000 for 0-5 year-olds; 65-79 year-olds; and those 80 or over. Number dropped to 89 for those 18-24.

But the death rate, what a plummet! For 80+ year-olds: 67.86 per 100,000 on January 2. Next highest: 17.08 per 100,000 for ages 65-79. Comparatively few people under 35 were dying then—even less on May 1: Zero per 100,000 from those 6-17 and 25-34; .01 per 100,000 for 0-5 and 18-24 year olds; .11 per 100,000 for the 80 and over group.

Vaccines take the credit, and further analysis will determine how much is deserved. But something brought down the death rate among the very old in a big way blistering fast. My guess is vaccination combined with smaller population into which the virus can spread (either because of the number of people infected who recovered—or died).

But nothing in the CDC data, or other sources (such as John Hopkins), indicates a blistering dangerous trend among younger Americans. The most vulnerable remain people 65 and over or who have other underlying conditions—with obesity and diabetes among them. But even then, the number of people testing positive or dying rapidly declines.

As for the Featured Image (warning: 24MB file), I captured it on Feb. 21, 2021 using Leica Q2 Monochrom outside a COVID-19 testing site at UCSD Hospital in San Diego’s Hillcrest neighborhood. Vitals, aperture manually set: f/8, ISO 200, 1/500 sec, 28mm; 11:24 a.m. PST. In a color photo, the reflected sign would pop from the truck. But I could only shoot black and white.

One last thing: I pray that the U.S. trend will quickly be mimicked in India, where currently the number of people sick with COVID-19 is overwhelming hospitals and deaths tragically climb. The United States should spare no expense supporting the world’s largest Democracy, and an ally, during its time of crisis with medical personnel, supplies, and vaccines. Our recovery is opportunity to share resources with nations who need them more.