The Incredible Shrinking Virus

Virginia confirmed COVID cases. (Shaded gray areas indicate illnesses may not have been reported yet.) Source: Virginia Department of Health

It’s amazing how quickly COVID-19 has faded from the headlines.

I guess good news is no news.

A recent Centers for Disease Control study estimates, based on antibody testing, that 43% of all Americans have been infected by the virus. Naturally acquired resistance plus the high percentage of the population that has been vaccinated (76% at least one dose, 64% fully vaccinated, 28% boosted nationally) creates a lot of protection. Combine that with warmer weather, and we can expect COVID to largely fade from the scene this spring. From a peak of more than 120,000 confirmed and probably cases in early January, there were about 13,000 total  cases reported in the week ending Feb. 17. That number was undoubtedly lower the past week.

On the other hand, 57% of the population has not yet been infected, and the efficacy of the vaccine does diminish over time, so COVID is not going away.

After peaking at 433 confirmed hospitalizations in the first week of January, Virginia hospitalizations has declined to 158 in the week ending Feb. 19.

Reported Virginia hospitalizations.

And deaths are heading in the right direction, although there is a lag time between confirmed cases, hospitalizations, and deaths, so the actual decline may not be a steep as it looks her — 82 confirmed and probable deaths in the week ending Feb. 19.

Virginia COVID deaths