Holsworth: May 19, 2020, Virginia Covid-19 Update

Editor’s note: Bearing Drift is grateful to Dr. Bob Holsworth for permission to share his daily Virginia coronavirus updates. For more, follow him on Facebook.



1.Today’s Numbers

– The Virginia Hospital and Health Care Association’s daily report showed that the number of patients in hospitals ticked down from 1502 to 1497. There were 164 patients discharged and 159 new estimated admissions.

For the past week, there have been 120 estimated new hospital admissions per day. Once again, while hospital admissions are not surging, there is no evidence of decline as well. The long plateau remains.

-The Virginia Department of Health’s (VDH) daily case report showed an increase of 1005 cases to 32,145, a 3.2% day over day increase. The 3 day moving average of cases remained basically steady at 804.

– The case report statewide trend is also not showing any genuine evidence of a decline. 20% of the total confirmed cases in the Commonwealth have been identified in the past 7 days

2. The End of the Old Numbers

When COVID-19 first arrived and on economic activity, it was generally perceived that there would be a direct connection between the statistical trajectory of the virus and governmental decisions about when and how to respond.

In fact, it was only about a month ago that experts were talking about driving case numbers down close to zero as a requirement for implementing an effective contact tracing and isolation program.

At that time, South Korea, New Zealand, and Singapore were held up as the models for how the disease could be controlled.

This seems like ages ago.

I have begun to think that the numbers have become much less important. Even the White House Task Force’s standard of two weeks of case decline was summarily ignored by almost all states.

For better or worse, we’ve moved on to a new phase where how to balance public health and the economy has become the critical question.

The biggest difference among Governors is how they go about the balancing act. How much? How fast?

People have been trying to figure out what the American model of responding to COVID-19 will be – it’s multiple models: state-by -state, governor by governor.

I can hardly recall a time where governors have been more important in responding to a national crisis.

3. So Where’s the National Dialogue Going?

Like almost everything, into the election.

77% of Republicans think that the President has done a good or excellent job in responding to the pandemic, 11% of Democrats.

43% of Republicans think COVID-19 is a major threat to the nation’s health, 82% of Democrats

Rs and Ds both agree that COVID-19 is a major threat to the economy, yet 47% of Republicans say their greatest concern is that states will lift restrictions too quickly, 87% of Democrats.

It’s hard for me to imagine that these differences won’t even become more exaggerated in an election cycle. I imagine that by the end of the summer the pollsters may be asking whether you wear a mask or a MAGA hat to the grocery store.

Buckle up!

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