Monday, May 4, 2020

4 MAY 2020, NOTES

Welcome, again, blog reader, on this Monday, May 4, 2020. The pandemic continues to spread and claim more and more lives around the world. I have been following the statistics in Worldometer in two-day increments trying to discern a pattern in the pandemic. Today I am going to begin following a four-day period that might be more useful as a gauge of trends. So, what do the figures of the day show? Is the trajectory of the plague going up or down?

According to Worldometer, in the past four days (April 30-May 4), there were 349,035 new cases of COVID-19 in the world, for a rising rate of 11%. In the earlier four-day period (April 26-30), the rising rate was 10% (299,213 new cases). Thus, there is a slight rise in the rate of the spread of the disease in the world. 

As for deaths in the world, there were 20,041 in the last four days, for a rising rate of 9%. This is a decrease from the earlier four days' 12% (24,843 deaths). Thus, there has been a decline in the death rate.

As for the United States, there were 124,254 new cases reported in the last four days, for am upward rate of 12%. This is up from the previous four days rate of 11% (103,676 new cases). As for deaths in the U.S., there were 6,937 in the last four days, a rising rate of 11%. This is a decline from the 14% of the earlier four-day period (7,404 deaths). The mortality rate declined considerably in the new period.

As for South Carolina, 745 new cases were reported in the last four days, for an increasing rate of 13% (now 6,626 cases). The earlier rate had been 12%. In SC, 43 people died of the virus in the last four days, a rate of 19% (275 total deaths). This was down from the 40% rise of the earlier period. Thus, the disease is spreading in the state although not at the same rate.

The story in Alabama is about the same. There were 963 new cases, a rate of 14%. The earlier period had seen 712 new cases, a rate of 11%. In AL, 28 people died of the plague in the past four days, a rate of 11%, well below the earlier rate of 23% (49 deaths). Bottom line in SC and AL, the virus is spreading in both states but the rate of infection and death may have leveled off. Still, more and more people are getting sick and dying of the disease even as both states "open" public places.

The graphs and charts on Worldometer, Wikipedia, and other places generally show a leveling off of new cases and deaths from the first of April until now. This is good news and bad news. The good news is that the distancing measures taken in April have worked to slow the progress of the disease. The bad news is that the virus continues to run unchecked sickening and killing ever more people. At best the curve has flattened. It definitely has not turned to a downhill course. Now that most states and localities are lifting, or have lifted, their social quarantines, the figures of spread and death may change. This remains to be seen. There could well be a spike in a few weeks.

The American response to the pandemic continues to be abysmal. In fact, there is no coordinated, unified, national policy to mitigate COVID-19. There are far more cases in the U.S. than in any other country, same with deaths. As for testing, the U.S. is well behind three dozen countries in testing as a percentage of the population. President Trump's administration is in turmoil. The internal struggle for the past few weeks has been between the forces (conservative) demanding re-opening sooner rather than later and those (scientists) holding out for later rather than sooner. It is clear the conservative forces have won. The scientists have been sidelined. The U.S. is "opening up" in the vast majority of places even though the highly contagious virus continues to spread unabated. It is also clear that the president's incompetency on this is hurting his chances of getting reelected. The latest polls indicate a disaster for Trump and the Republican Party in the elections just six months away. And so, Mitch McConnell is rushing to push through as many Senate confirmations of new federal judges as possible. Next year, the judiciary may well be the last political refuge of the Republicans.

The best review of what has happened in Washington in the past few weeks concerning the pandemic can be found here .

What ever happened to the new proposed guidelines of the Centers for Disease Control regarding reopening churches? It was leaked to the media last week as it was sent to he White House for approval. Nothing has been heard of it since. Apparently the administration balked at something(s) in the guidelines. There should be some word about the new CDC guidelines soon.

In spite of the dangerously incompetent response of the presidential administration to the pandemic, the people of America have arisen to the occasion under other leaders, as state governors. Just this weekend came an eloquent call for unity from a past president who knows something about responses to crises (aftermath of 9-11 was his finest hour). Find the necessary words of George W. Bush here . "We rise or fall together." Enough said.

The plague continues without let up. Always remember, we are here for the living of this hour. Peace.