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Covid-19 Update | April 13 at 8:25 PM

Tonight’s coronavirus update is brought to by Disney, the happiest place on Earth until they added 43,000 to the unemployment rolls. Good news continues to come in. The White House Task Force briefing announced their economic plans to reopen the economy will be unveiled this week. We can rest assured that May will bring the start of the revival of the US workforce and perhaps even the educational system. The US set a recent low on deaths and cases for the 4th straight day. And Florida also seems to have peaked in our number of cases and deaths. Bay County sits at 38 cases and still has a lower number of cases per million than any county in Florida with a population of over 100,000 and is still lower than the average of any state in the nation. Two other key pieces of data came in today. One of the only modern countries in the world to not go on lockdown, Sweden, that was being chastised by the world community, had their cases and deaths peak on April 7th at 114; and now they have been under 20 for the last three days. The effectiveness of lockdowns has limited data; social distancing, hand hygiene, and masks in the absence of distancing are prudent and restrict no one’s personal liberties. Sweden is a case study in handling COVID without shutdowns and school closures. They chose faster development of herd immunity and from my view, it looks like they made the right choice. Last, a key study published in NEJM gives a glimpse into what the true prevalence of COVID-19 may be. Two hospitals in NYC tested every mother delivering children in their hospital from March 22nd to April 4th for COVID-19. A total of 215 pregnant women were tested and four had COVID-19 symptoms. All four with symptoms tested positive. Of the 211 asymptomatic pregnant women, 29 tested positive. Of the 29, only 3 developed any COVID-19 symptoms during their 48-hour postpartum stay. This study is important because it is a nice, relatively random sampling of young, healthy adults in a highly exposed region. Currently in NYC, 107k people have tested positive, so 1.2% of symptomatic patients test positive. Of these women, 26 testing positive had no symptoms before and two days after they went to the hospital through discharge. So, if this sample of women in NYC are indicative of young healthy adults, it is likely that 4-5X the number of those with symptoms got infected and never knew it. This confirms the results of the Iceland populational study and a recent German study showing that by adding in the asymptomatic infections the true mortality rate is somewhere in the range of 0.1-0.5% and more like a bad strain of flu rather than significantly more lethal. Good news keeps on coming in and while I don’t think restrictions will be lifted before April 30th, I would bet the farm that on Star Wars Day we should get prepared for most of our normal daily activities to be resumed. Good night!

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