The bad news from recent COVID-19 statistics is that the numbers aren’t getting better. Virginia has hit a plateau in the number of confirmed cases, as seen in the chart above, which shows the seven-day moving average in the number of confirmed cases. To some degree, the tick upwards in COVID-19 cases may reflect increased testing. But it’s clear that the virus, which had been receding for a month, no longer is.
I’ve never worried overly much about the number of cases. The vast majority of cases cause no lasting harm. What matters is the number of hospitalizations and deaths. As it happens, the number of hospitalizations, which had undergone a month-long decline, also has hit a plateau, and the number of deaths has nudged noticeably higher than early June, as can be seen in the chart below.
None of this is reason to reverse course on reopening the economy. Because we can measure the number of COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths, we focus on those metrics to the exclusion of what we cannot readily measure, such as indicators of mental health, substance abuse, suicide, stress-induced illnesses — the diseases of loneliness and despair. We need to learn to live with the disease until a vaccination comes (assuming one does).
But we also have to be attentive to the numbers we do have. The virus is not going to magically go away. As a free people, we must behave responsibly and exercise proper caution, which means wearing masks in public places and observing the protocols of social distancing. If we fail to act responsibly and the COVID-19 metrics take a turn for the worse, we invite Governor Ralph Northam to delay the reopening or, worse, to reverse course.There are currently no comments highlighted.