Here are three COVID-19 trends in Virginia worth watching:
- The seven-day moving average of the test-positive rate ticked upwards yesterday for the first time in more than a month;
- Hospital utilization by COVID-19 patients dipped to the lowest point since the Virginia Hospital and Healthcare Association began tracking the data in early April; and
- It turns out that multisystem inflammatory syndrome was not much of a thing.
Positive-test rate. The percentage of COVID-19 tests confirming the presence of the virus hit a seven-day moving average of 5.9% yesterday, based on data published today on the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) COVID-19 dashboard. That’s up from 5.8% the previous day. That doesn’t sound like much, but the seven-day moving average smooths out daily fluctuations, and it reverses what had been a steady decline since May. This number is an indicator that the viral spread in the general population, which had been retreating steadily, may start picking back up. This metric bears watching.
Hospital utilization. On the other hand, there is no indication yet that the greater numbers of infected people is translating into more trips to the hospital.
The number of hospital patients confirmed and suspected to have COVID-19 fell to 796, the lowest number yet since VHHA began tracking the data. Likewise the 225 COVID-19 patients in Intensive Care Units and 101 on ventilators also represent the lowest rates for these metrics recorded by VHHA. How can confirmed cases nudge upward while hospitalizations are down? One possible explanation is that the virus is infecting more young, healthy people who don’t require hospitalization. Another is that docs are doing a better job of treating people before they reach the hospital.
Multisystem inflammatory syndrome. Oh, and one more thing worth noting. Remember hearing about “multisystem inflammatory syndrome,” a potentially life-threatening complication in children resulting from COVID-19? The media flogged that story a month ago in its ongoing effort to keep people in a state of alarm. The VDH was worried enough that it began tracking the incidence of the complication on its dashboard.
You haven’t heard much about it recently, have you? Perhaps that’s because it turns out that the syndrome barely registers on the statistical radar. VDH reports only five cases of the syndrome in Virginia children, and zero deaths.
The reason you haven’t heard this is that national media outlets do only one thing: fear porn. They never engage in reflection. They never say, “Gee, maybe we over-hyped that story.” Reporters just move on to the next story as if they had finally found proof of the COVID apocalpyse they seem to yearn for.
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