Holsworth: October 3, 2020, Virginia Covid-19 Update

By Dr. Bob Holsworth

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. Hospitalizations Steady

Hospitalizations are up slightly from my last post 4 days ago. The Virginia Hospital and Healthcare Association (VHHA) reported that there are 906 COVID-19 patients in hospitals, up from 890. For the week, however, there has been a moderate decline in hospitalizations, down from 924 last Saturday.
2. Case Increase Moderately Up
The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) reported 755, 450, 966, and 1116 cases over the last 4 days, an average of 822 cases. This is moderately up from a 4-day average of 776 cases in my last post.
It’s too early to tell whether the 966 and 1116 numbers the last two days are simply the result of delayed reporting or an indicator that case numbers may actually be increasing. In this vein, I’ll also be paying attention to RVA where there were 186 reported cases today as well as Charlottesville that had 43 cases.
The test positivity percentage inched up from 4.6% to 4.7%.
There were 111 COVID-19 deaths last week, raising the pandemic total to 3270.
3. Uncharted Waters
The hospitalization of President Trump with COVID-19 has refocused national and global attention on the severity of the pandemic. We will have to see how well the President recovers before we can understand its full political implications.
I do think that it will ensure that the administration’s response to COVID-19 becomes even more central to the campaign and that issues related to health care access and cost will become even more pronounced.
It should also increase interest in the vice-presidential debate this week as the President’s hospitalization will focus attention not only on his condition but on Joe Biden’s age as well. Americans will want to be comfortable with the individual who might have to assume office in case of disability or death when both presidential candidates are in their mid-to-late seventies.
In terms of what I have been posting about since March – the situation in Virginia – it reminds me of how virulent the virus remains and how precarious the progress we’re making can be.
For the past month, Virginia has seen hospitalizations decline and case increases go off their highs. Very good news! But 5000+ cases a week is nothing to ignore. And as people take more risks, especially in groups, super-spreader events won’t stop occurring.
We’re still in uncharted waters, at least until we get a vaccine that’s safe, effective, and widely adopted.
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