Party Like Your Life Depends On It

Of all the SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2)/COVID-19 oddities that I have seen, this sign might be strangest and yet most appropriate—punctuated commentary, whether or not the intention. The balloons suggest a birthday party, possibly for kids. You are welcome but be prepared for the consequences, especially if masks aren’t required. Meaning: You’re responsible for you.

I used Leica Q2 to capture the Featured Image, today. Vitals, aperture manually set: f/5.6, ISO 100, 1/400 sec, 28mm; 10:25 a.m. PST. Location: Somewhere along Maryland Street in San Diego’s University Heights neighborhood.

I want to point out something that should scare the bejesus out of public policy makers and how citizenry may soon come to view their aggressive societal and economic actions to slow the Coronavirus spread: Increased testing uncovering more COVID-19 infections, but without deaths rising, pushes down the case fatality rate. For example, the CFR for SD County is now .76 percent, according to data collected by John Hopkins University. On Dec. 15, 2021, the CFR was 1.05 percent, as the Omicron variant surged. In the county with the most cases in the United States, Los Angeles, CFR is 1.27 percent—that’s down from 1.9 percent when I checked on March 29, 2021.

Since the vaccinated can and do develop the Coronavirus, public officials cannot claim increased vacination as cause for falling CFRs. They can’t defy basic mathematics: More testing reveals more infections, which drives down the CFR and will continue doing so as long as deaths don’t dramatically increase.

But the news media would have us all living in terror of everyone testing positive and hospitals being unable to take the sick. Again, the data tells another story: Among San Diego County’s 5,646 staffed inpatient hospital beds, 728 are filled with COVID-19 patients; that’s 13 percent. Among the 1,148 ICU beds, 133 are filled with COVID-19 patients; that’s 11.5 percent. How about case-stricken Los Angeles? There are 17,343 staffed inpatient beds, of which 2,394 are COVID-19 occupied; that’s 13.8 percent. Ten percent of the ICU beds (3,053) are used by COVID-19 patients (310).

Other considerations do affect hospitals’ functional capacity, such as:

  • COVID Fear, which leads people with sniffles to emergency rooms
  • Deferrals. Family doctors telling patients to go to the ER not their office
  • Fatigue. Hospital personnel overworked and short-staffed from nearly two years of COVID disruption
  • Testing. Transmissible Omicron sidelining COVID-positive health-care workers (who might not otherwise be sick)

Should you be afraid? I’m not. We’re all catching Coronavirus now, whether or not vaccinated. But I want to know and likely never will: What if I am wrong about that sign being for a kids party? What if, instead, uninfected adults gathered with infected, hoping to catch COVID-19 and presumed natural immunity with it? Whoa, does that spin a different perspective on “Enter @ Your Own RISK”. Eh?