Covid-19 Update | April 16 at 9:15 PM
Tonight’s coronavirus update is brought to you by Circle K, giving out free coffee and Big Gulps to all healthcare workers! I got my gas and when I went to pay for my big gulp, they told me it was free! So, let’s start with the Trump administration’s Guidelines for Reopening America. I had some misunderstandings when I read through it at first. I assumed the start date was May 1st, but in fact President Trump said some states could start Phase One as soon as tomorrow. To qualify for Phase One, you have to have a decrease in CDC reported influenza like illness. You need a 14-day declining number of new cases. And you need hospitals with surge capacity in your state. I checked on all three for Florida and unless we have a giant surge in cases tomorrow, we peaked on April 3rd and have had a downward trend since then. So, while I don’t think we will see it this week, we could get Phase One starting sometime next week. Phase One does not allow schools to reopen, but it pretty much allows everything else to open back up as long as the businesses (including restaurants) adhere to strict social distancing. After two weeks in Phase One and no increase in cases and/or outbreaks, Phase Two can begin. Under Phase Two, schools are allowed to reopen. Businesses can ease restrictions and larger gatherings (10-50 people) are once again allowed. During Phase One and Two, the elderly and immune compromised are to stay isolated and no visitors allowed in hospitals or nursing homes. If after two weeks of Phase Two there are no increases in cases, then it’s pretty much good hand hygiene, mild social distancing, and life is pretty much back to normal with the use of caution. Theoretically, schools can reopen after two successful weeks of Phase One, so some states that enter Phase One tomorrow could be back in school by May 1. I’m going to bet Florida will be a week behind just to be extra cautious. And great news for my surgeon and dental friends, Phase One lets you all get back to taking care of elective procedures! So, getting back to the statistical analysis, I want to discuss the much touted IHME model and talk about something interesting about these lockdowns. So, IHME had predicted a peak in deaths in New York on April 10th with 800 total; in reality they peaked at 1,033 yesterday. In New Jersey, they had predicted a peak of 272 deaths on April 8th, but they have yet to reach a peak and had over 350 deaths today. Michigan is also past their peak and having higher rates of death. This is interesting in light of a paper published from China this week reporting that 79% of traceable cases came from contact in small enclosed indoor spaces, primarily homes. So, by driving people indoors, you’re actually increasing their risk of infection. Its counter-intuitive but may be the case in areas with a high prevalence of disease. Food for thought. Now the data. Bay county has three new cases, but overall, we are the lowest rate of cases in the state for a county of our size and still have a lower concentration of cases than any state in the US. Florida ranks 20th in the nation in cases per million, behind Mississippi and ahead of Nevada. The US still has its major hot spots accounting for nearly half of new cases and almost 60% of new deaths. Thanks to God for getting us past the part where our hospitals were at risk of being overwhelmed and thanks to this President for following through on his promise to get us all back to work as the crisis abated. I’m going to take this weekend off unless something major happens. Everyone enjoy their last few days of quarantine and have a great weekend!