COVID-19 Update: Mortalities Hit New High, Other Signs Stable

Virginia cranked out 6,615 new COVID-19 tests yesterday, according to today’s COVID-19 dashboard data dumps, getting the state two-thirds of the way toward Governor Ralph Northam’s benchmark of 10,000 tests daily before he considers rolling back any more emergency shutdown measures. The test-positive rate, another metric the Governor is watching, was 14.2%.

On the disturbing side, the number of COVID-19-related deaths hit 44, a new high. Also, new hospitalizations reached 108, the third highest number yet recorded.

Yet there are no signs that Virginia hospitals are buckling under the strain. The number of COVID-19  patients discharged from Virginia hospitals yesterday was 185. Thus, the total number of COVID-19 patients in Virginia hospitals dropped modestly.

Here’s how John Butcher depicts the hospitalization numbers:


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30 responses to “COVID-19 Update: Mortalities Hit New High, Other Signs Stable”

  1. Steve Haner Avatar
    Steve Haner

    The gap between the Health Department hospital count and the VHHA patient census is still exploding and is now 1,214. VDH is reporting 86% more hospitalized COVID patients (2,627) than VHHA (1,413), and if you are making decisions based on the VDH number, panic remains the right response. Is there an explanation I’ve missed?

    And if you look at the most recent data on Virginia (about 70 some deaths per one million population) and New York State (about 1,300), concern also remains justified if you are still worried that could still happen here. Do we know why the Greater New York area got hit so hard and we didn’t? The subways? Low vitamin D if you live in the concrete canyons?

    Big day tomorrow. The Governor has indicated some information on possible changes to his executive orders during tomorrow’s briefing. As has been pointed out correctly, many states which are “opening up” are allowing activities which were never prohibited in Virginia (visiting parks, for example, and most retail could stay open if customers stayed sparse.) I don’t see much changing soon, but we’ll see.

    1. Nancy_Naive Avatar

      Gap? Gap?

      Maybe one of you Conservatives can explain to this poor fella that, no the CDC doesn’t have a deep State component.

    2. TBill Avatar

      Re: NY
      Gov Cuomo is addressing this on CNN now. Some belief NY got the EU strain which seems to be a mutation worse than the orig Wuhan strain. As the EU strain was developing, only visitors from China were being retained at the airports, with NY freely taking many overseas travelers from EU.

      1. LarrytheG Avatar

        When people are tested, is there a way to distinguish between the two strains?

        1. Nancy_Naive Avatar

          One can only hope not. That might mean multiple tests required.

          They’ve known for awhile that there were two strains, designated S and L. One is very aggressive compared to the other.

          1. LarrytheG Avatar

            doesn’t that make a difference in how it is dealt with especially on a policy basis and “restrictions”?

            Would things like how beaches can open be affected by which strain is likely present locally?

          2. Nancy_Naive Avatar

            I dunno, ours is not to wonder why…

          3. Nancy_Naive Avatar

            My hope is for a test that works… hundreds of unproven tests are flying on to the market. By the time the “free market” aka caveat emptor works it out, we survivors maybe back in mud huts.

          4. LarrytheG Avatar

            Au Contaire – they “wonder” about just about everything from
            where the various numbers come from to whether the Govt is lying or merely incompetent… so why not this? I can imagine the “open it up” folks would like to say “not the virulent strain” as justification, no?

          5. Nancy_Naive Avatar

            There is one guy on a blog who found two different numbers, 65k and 32k, on the CDC website and is convinced they Are inflating the numbers to make Trump look bad. The 32k is from death certificates.

          6. LarrytheG Avatar

            caveat emptor ? the heck you say… only the govt could
            screw up a concept like that, eh?

          7. LarrytheG Avatar

            re: ” There is one guy on a blog who found two different numbers, 65k and 32k”

            oh it’ll likely find it’s viral way to the echo chamber, no doubt…

            heck.. won’t surprise me if it boomerangs back here!

  2. Dick Hall-Sizemore Avatar
    Dick Hall-Sizemore

    The latest report from DOC is also mixed, but hopeful overall. The relatively large decrease of 16 in the number of positive cases at Central Virginia Correctional Unit was more than offset by another large increase at Dilllwyn, 24 this time. The numbers stayed stable at other facilities. Overall, there was an increase of 9 in the total number of positive cases, but no change in the number of inmates hospitalized. Here is the summary table:

    Summary of COVID-19 Cases in Va. Dept. of Corrections
    As of 5:00 p.m., April 30

    Cumulative testing positive 549
    Total Deaths 3
    Active positive cases in facilities 455
    Number in hospital 11
    Recovered 80
    Staff currently tested positive 66

  3. LarrytheG Avatar

    Just to point out once again – these numbers are WITH social distancing and so far we have no real way to estimate what will happen if we loosen restrictions.

    This is not an argument to not loosen restrictions but we do seem to be flying blind if we don’t use some kind of model – as imprecise as they might be to help guide us.

    These restrictions are numerous – not monolithic…. they can be released on a per restriction basis and even then on a graduated basis.

    For instance, parks might be opened but still with restrictions.

    Of the numbers that we have right now – do we KNOW the source of the infections? Were some infected at work? Others by contact with someone who traveled, etc? Do we have any idea to help us know what activities are higher (or lower) in infection rates?

    So the “opening” in a lot of states is basically seat-of-the-pants… and they’re basically just waiting to see what happens… and they really don’t have a good idea if “opening” causes a lot more infections and overwhelms their hospitals until after the fact. It’s said to be a calculated risk but when one state says barber shops can open and another says no – obviously neither of them are referencing some common guideline/standard… each is just putting their thumb in the air to test for windage.

  4. TBill Avatar

    This is what we heard from our Supervisor Chairman McKay yesterday:

    “To the Fairfax County Community,

    You may have noticed that in the last few days Fairfax County has seen a spike in cases. I wanted to take a moment to address the anxiety you might be having. It’s certainly scary, but there are reasons to explain this.

    (1) Fairfax is in the exponential growth phase of our epidemic curve and we can therefore expect to see COVID-19 cases continue to increase for several more weeks….
    (2) An increase in testing leads to more positive cases…..”

  5. Nancy_Naive Avatar

    Don’t get too excited. Just as many die on the north side of the peak descending as died climbing the south side.

    And on that happy note, have a good day.

  6. Reed Fawell 3rd Avatar
    Reed Fawell 3rd

    Regarding timely advice from health official in Alexandria City, Va. (soon to be renamed Arlington County Va.) speaking to us today from across time on September 25, 1919;

    (Background information to this September 25th, 1919 advice is that:

    “The horrific scale of the 1918 influenza pandemic—known as the “Spanish flu”—is hard to fathom. The virus infected 500 million people worldwide and killed an estimated 20 million to 50 million victims—that’s more than all of the soldiers and civilians killed during World War I combined.

    While the global pandemic lasted for two years, a significant number of deaths were packed into three especially cruel months in the fall of 1918. Historians now believe that the fatal severity of the Spanish flu’s “second wave” was caused by a mutated virus spread by wartime troop movements …
    From September through November of 1918, the death rate from the Spanish flu skyrocketed. In the United States alone, 195,000 Americans died from the Spanish flu in just the month of October. And unlike a normal seasonal flu, which mostly claims victims among the very young and very old, the second wave of the Spanish flu exhibited what’s called a “W curve”—high numbers of deaths among the young and old, but also a huge spike in the middle composed of otherwise healthy 25- to 35-year-olds in the prime of their life.

    “That really freaked out the medical establishment, that there was this atypical spike in the middle of the W,” says Harris.

    Not only was it shocking that healthy young men and women were dying by the millions worldwide, but it was also how they were dying. Struck with blistering fevers, nasal hemorrhaging and pneumonia, the patients would drown in their own fluid-filled lungs …: Quote from “Why the Second Wave of the 1918 Spanish Flu was so deadly,” by Dave Roos on )

    HERE is advice from health official in Alexandria City Va. to City and Alexandria County (soon to be renamed Arlington County Va.) speaking to us today across time from September 25, 1919:


    Health Officer Foulks Says Don’t Worry About Return of Epidemic:

    Timely Advice Given

    Recommends Right Living, Eating, Drinking and Sleeping to Avoid Dreaded Disease.

    Dr. Louis E. Foulks, city health officer says he received letter a few days ago in which writer mentioned subject of general interest at present time. The following in an extract.

    “In almost every paper or periodical I pick up now, I find something in it about the “Flu” is sure to return this fall. Do you think it is wise to keep harping unto this all the time?”

    I answered this letter at once, and I will now take up in an extended form what I wrote to him in a short note. I strongly condemn the practice of keeping the possible return of the Spanish Influenza constantly before the public. No doctor, scientist, or expert of any kind, has any real knowledge about the matter, and the continued airing of opinions on the subject, that are not based on any scientific knowledge, are calculated to do far more harm than than good.

    It keeps the people in a constant state of worry and expectation, and thereby reduces their normal powers of resistance to that as well as other diseases. If you are all the time expecting some particular disease to overtake you, the chances are that it will, for the simple reason that you are not in as good physical condition or mental condition to combat the infection should it meet you. If you can first first scare your enemy, you have him half beaten and at a disadvantage before you lift a hand.

    The mental attitude of a person is a very important factor in combating any disease. It has been well said that “as a man thinketh, so is he.” The mind: both the conscious and subconscious – controls the body and its functions to a far greater extent than most people fully appreciate. In experimental tests along these lines, strong and perfectly healthy men have been made to faint away by simply acting through their minds, and making them believe something was taking place or about to happen to them that really had no existence in fact. I could relate many cases of this kind in which I took an active part, but space forbids.

    The simple point I wish to make is this – why try to cross a bridge before you reach even the approach? Why expect some disease to attack you, that in all probability will miss you by a mile? By so doing, you gain nothing, and lose much, for you have made a breach in your own defensive wall! Don’t read stuff about the “Flu’, nor talk about it with your friends, but make up your mind to strictly follow the rules of right living, eating, drinking, and sleeping. If you follow out this plan, I will guarantee you that you will be in far better condition to meet the “Flu or any other disease that may by chance head in your direction than your neighbor who is all the time talking, worrying and worrying about the possibility of the “flu” striking him down without a moment’s notice.

    Use good judgement and keep yourself fit. Go about properly clothed and avoid getting chilled, and above all, don’t worry, for remember that “as a man thinketh so is he.” Since August 1st to the present time, (September 25,1919) only two cases of influenza have been reported in this city, and both of these cases made prompt recovery without complications. I see nothing whatever to cause any alarm to the people of Alexandria at the present time.”

    Below this statement By Alexandria Health Officer Foulks, is advertisement of Norfolk Salt Water Oysters and Hampton Bar Clams (for sale) by Jacob Brill at foot of King Street (in Alexandria City.

    Two columns over another headline states:


    Residents of Alexandria County to Petition Legislature.


    Many Names Suggested: among them being Geo. Washington, Arlington, Pocahontas, and Alcova

    … At recent meeting of Civic Federation, it was proposed that the name of Alexandria County be changed. The reasons urged in support of change are that the County is without individuality; that it is constantly confused with City of Alexandria in the minds of outsiders; that it is so overshadowed by the said city that most people out of the County think that Alexandria (City) is the County seat; that letters of importance intended for County officials are frequently delivered to Officials of the City; and when anything creditable transpires in County, the City of Alexandria gets the credit and vice versa.

    If Mr. (Charles T.) Jesse represents the community at the next session of the Legislature, he will probably be urged by those favoring a change of the name to introduce a bill to than end, and he has indicated his desire to be fully informed as to the sentiment of the people in connection with the question. The Executive Committee … was therefore instructed to present the question to the people of the County and to ascertain as far as possible public sentiment.

    Every citizen is, therefor, urged to express his convictions upon the question in a letter addressed to Charles T. Jesse, Alexandria County Courthouse, Clarendon, Va. If you are for the change write Mr. Jesse and tell him so, giving your reasons, together with your choice of name. If you are against the change, write him and tell him and give your reasons. What is wanted is to ascertain the wishes of the people, for their wishes will be entirely controlling. Some of the substitute names that have been suggested are George Washington, Arlington, Pocahontas, and Alcova, the latter composed on the first two letters of “Alexandria”, “County”, and the abbreviation “VA” for the state.

    Other Gazettte headlines included “Old Autocracy Ends with Treaty” telling of Pres. Wilson’s proposed treaty to end the First World War.

    For more see original printed first page of Alexandria Gazette, September 25, 1919 below

  7. S. E. Warwick Avatar
    S. E. Warwick

    If my liberal arts math skills are correct, of the 660 total deaths (644 confirmed) reported today by VDH, 377 were people in long term care facilities, congregate settings, and one from the DOC. That seems to indicate 283 Covid 19 deaths in the entire state since March 10 or so when VDH began to compile statistics. Each death,, especially those preventable, is a tragedy. But using those numbers, if they are accurate, to shut down the state, is troubling at best.
    Also, it would be very interesting to know how the prohibition for nursing home illness and fatality statistics from public disclosure, by facility, came about.

  8. LarrytheG Avatar

    The question is – these deaths are with restrictions. What happens if the restrictions are removed? Do we know? Do we believe the scientists?

    In the end, it’s not going to matter that much if the state reduces restrictions if the larger public is still in fear from the virus.

    Now we can blame the media – of course – for stoking the fear – but
    that’s misplaced also if one considers what happens with social media these days… rumors and conspiracy theories and other stuff abounds.

    In the end – if you had no govt – we’d have anarchy… don’t laugh – we got people with guns in the streets right now, and
    we are headed that way if we cannot get our collective acts together.

    1. Nancy_Naive Avatar

      Yes, more people die. Remember, if everything goes right and we peak tonight, 130,000 will be dead. 65,000 more are dead and don’t know it yet.

      1. djrippert Avatar

        You don’t really believe that is necessarily (or even probably) true, do you?

        1. Nancy_Naive Avatar

          What would give you reason to believe that it declines differently than it rises? Historical curves show a symmetry.

          Given better treatment, aka the learning curve, they may save 10 or 20k, but yes, when we are all celebrating the peak-gone-by, the opening of the economy, the saving of a restaurant that will probably bite the dust anyway, another 40 or 50k will die.

          Given we’re at 65, yeah, I’ll bet on 110 to 120 by September.
          We all know we are dying, we just prefer not to believe it.

        2. LarrytheG Avatar

          re: ” saving of a restaurant that will probably bite the dust anyway, another 40 or 50k will die.”

          A lot of local restaurants are going to bite the dust. The bigger chains are going to survive and the small, local that were already marginal are not coming back.

        3. Nancy_Naive Avatar

          Succinctly, necessarily, no, probably, probably

      2. virginiagal2 Avatar

        Why do you think we’ve peaked? The assumptions built into the model appear to be changing, and that affects the peak and total deaths and everything else. You can’t use a model assuming significant mitigation for a situation without that mitigation.

        If you use New York’s population sample testing, an infection rate of 13.9% on 4/24 and 16,966 deaths as of a couple of days later, I come up with a mortality rate of roughly o.63%, or about six times that of seasonal influenza.

        Unlike influenza, we don’t have a vaccine. It’s a novel virus. We don’t yet have good drugs for it. So everyone is at risk to catch it.

        So if we get to 70% exposed, with a mortality rate of 0.63%, my on-my-iPhone numbers are about 1.455 million deaths in the US, and about 38,000 deaths in Virginia.

        70% doesn’t get you herd immunity, but it’s moving in that direction enough to slow it down. We don’t have hundreds of thousands of deaths now because of what we’re doing to prevent it.

        If we just say, hey, flat curve, hospitals not overwhelmed, let Darwin roll, why would we expect a different death toll? What am I missing here?

        1. LarrytheG Avatar

          re: ” If we just say, hey, flat curve, hospitals not overwhelmed, let Darwin roll, why would we expect a different death toll? What am I missing here?”

          You’re not missing anything. You stated the issue succinctly but that’s not how some folks are thinking or want to think.

          They’ve been looking for the “peak” for a while now – thinking that when we hit the other side – it’s going to be “over” and we should “open back up”.

          stupid is as stupid does.

        2. What you’re missing, Virginiagal2, is the distinction between government mandated social distancing and voluntarily adopted social distancing. Many people and businesses will adopt social distancing measures voluntarily on their own.

          1. virginiagal2 Avatar

            But that doesn’t answer my question. If social distancing is just to spread out the curve, shifting it in time but not in total number, then we’re going to have the same area under the curve.

            If we we resume activities that are potentially infectious, many people don’t have options. If their employer doesn’t adopt good social distancing measures, they’re likely to get sick. If they get sick, their entire family is going to get sick, and potentially pass it along in a similar fashion. If they go to a gathering or meeting, other people are going to catch it and spread it to their families.

            The problem with infectious disease is that you’re at the mercy of the most careless person you come in contact with.

            If we voluntarily continue the same level of social distancing, it’s going to have the same economic impacts. So the people who stay home are still not eating at restaurants or traveling for fun or going to amusement parks.

          2. Reed Fawell 3rd Avatar
            Reed Fawell 3rd

            Recall my comment some four weeks back about virus brush fires and local flareups. That’s our future for now, short term, perhaps mid term, even long term.

            But there are many intelligent wasy to remediate this Coved-19 damage, given its apparent emerging nature, especially as it relates to it’s apparent very narrow focus on death victims. The world has survived far worse. So we can control it within practical bounds.

            What we cannot afford is a deep depression, the destruction of vast parts of our economy, or the health and wealth of our middle class, our youths’ and kids’ future, or our people on the margins of their life now in all the many ways we as a society are sick, do that and we are running very significant risks of heading into a highly unpredictable and dangerous dark age. The wolves now are everywhere in the wood, far more dangerous than what we can fix about this virus without our killing its host, an entire nation.

            Just as importantly, the world cannot afford to lose a strong America, not right now. Plus death every year of our old and vulnerable is a reality of life, of nature, always has been, and we must accept it. We have no choice. We are not Gods. Acting as if we are Gods, will destroy us.

        3. Nancy_Naive Avatar

          I don’t. I believe we WERE approaching a peak. Well, the states will stop that.

          I think your numbers are in the ballpark.

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