Duchin: “Case Rate Still Too High For Comfort” & Today’s Public Health Report | Thu Aug 27

In a video released earlier this week, our own local Fauci (Dr Jeff Duchin) reviewed the latest numbers on COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths before answering questions about expectations and guidelines for the fall.

In the video, Duchin didn’t reveal any huge new revelations about our local situation or the expected timeline for recovery, but he did bring together the various numbers into a succinct snapshot of our current moment.

Firstly, Duchin opens with a review of the case numbers, reminding us that though King County is doing well overall, the case rate is still “too high for comfort,” and that we should expect ongoing and significant challenges in the coming months.  Here are some of the critical datapoints he shared:

  • King County has had approximately 18,000 cases and over 700 deaths.
  • Currently, we are averaging 130-140 positive tests per day, which likely indicates 400-500 actual new infections daily.
  • New case numbers are leveling off, and even decreasing, but our numbers still show growth month-over-month.
  • Hospitalization and death rates remain stable and low in the region relative to the nation, but are still worrisome.
  • There has been little or no change in the median age affected (62 years), nor in the racial and economic disparities involved.
  • Main transmission contact over the summer has been traced to social activity, homeless populations, longterm care facilities and workplace settings.

Here is the full video:

COVID-19 Update: Case Numbers Too High Heading into Fall

COVID-19 cases in King County are too high as we head into colder weather. We’re live with our health officer Dr. Jeff Duchin to talk about how COVID-19 in spreading in King County, and what we can do to reduce cases before cold weather and flu season arrive.

Posted by Public Health – Seattle & King County on Friday, August 21, 2020

 

As you can see, Duchin went on to implore us all to remain vigilant and responsible, especially in our social gathering.  Young people especially have emerged as significant spreaders, and gatherings such as birthday parties, group camping, weddings and graduations have been on the rise.  He reminds us how vital it is to wear masks and remain socially distant.

Finally, before answering questions, Duchin gives us a quick picture of the future as we approach a time with vaccine.  He stated confidence in a vaccine by the end of 2020 or early in 2021, but reminded us that distribution will be staged and likely extended.  He didn’t share a specific timeline, but emphasized that healthcare and essential workers would likely be prioritized at first.  He did ask that everyone consider a flu shot as we enter into fall season while continuing to limit activity outside of the home.

With all that said, we are pleased that museums have found a way to reopen under the current guidelines, as well as some film and photo production.  Unfortunately, it remains highly unlikely that we will see many venues and stages holding events any time soon.

Otherwise, the rest of this post is our regular synthesis of the Public Health data, provided by Will Daugherty of Pacific Science Center.  Thanks Will!  

Update from Public Health – Seattle & King County

Public Health has updated the data dashboard.  The daily summary shows that there were 19,049 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in King County as of 11:59 on August 25, 173 more than the previous day.  There have been 715 confirmed deaths in King County due to COVID-19, 3.8% of all confirmed cases.

The numbers that Public Health reports each day include delayed results from previous days.

Observations

The first graph below shows new cases (blue bars) and the 7-day average (red line).  Of the 173 new cases reported today, 104 were confirmed yesterday and 69 were removed from previous days.  The 7-day average of new cases per day peaked at 195 on April 1.  The average for the last 7 days is now 115 new cases per day, down from 139 a week ago.  The 7-day average has decreased 17% in the last week and 21% in the last two weeks.

The key indicators that the State and County are using to make decisions about reopening include a measure of the total number of cases reported in the previous 14 days per 100K residents.  The target for this metric is less than 25.  The second and third graphs below show this metric.  The second graph goes back to March 12, the first day on which the metric could be reported.  The third graph provides a more detailed view of results in the last several weeks. 79.9 cases were reported per 100K residents during the 14-day period August 12 – 25.

As of August 20, four of the eight key indicators are not meeting the targets established by the Washington State Department of Health.  The key indicators not meeting targets are:

  • Total number of cases for the last 14 days per 100,000 residents.
  • Effective reproductive (Re) number calculated by the Institute for Disease Modeling and Microsoft AI for Health team.
  • Number of people tested for each positive result over the last 7 days.
  • Number of days (median) between illness onset and test date over the last 7 days.

Thank you for being curious.

-Will

Will Daugherty welcomes your questions and comments.  His email is wdaugherty@pacsci.org

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