A delta wave in the US won’t look the same as in the UK, for some very good reasons


The idea that things aren’t as good as they should come from reviewing information like this chart showing cases versus deaths in the UK.

Cases in the UK have been divided into three distinct mutation cases (so far).

This graph shows that each of the three major waves of COVID-19 that swept the UK had very different outcomes. In the first wave, case-fatality rates were staggeringly high with hospitals overrun, many elderly people swept into the mix, and health care workers not having the slightest idea of ​​a cure. When the biggest wave hit during the winter, the percentage of those patients who died was dramatically lower, in large part because hospitals came up with better ways to treat patients; Even things like changing patients’ placement on ventilators have had a huge impact. And when the persistent delta wave hit in June, the UK death rate was significantly lower than either of the two previous waves. This time the difference was not the treatment, but the vaccines.

If you extrapolate this in terms of case fatality rate for each month of the pandemic, then both the improvement from treatment and vaccines will be evident.

Better treatment greatly reduced the initial high infection rate, while vaccinations pushed those rates down.

Data released so far from August indicates that prices are down slightly from the past two months. This may be because deaths are always a late indicator, with a peak a few weeks later behind the escalating wave of cases. It could also be that the August data is far from complete and more susceptible to a day or two of bad numbers.

In any case, the Delta Wave hit the UK a few weeks before it reached the US, and there was a wide assumption that the US would follow a similar pattern. But this most likely will not happen, and the reason has nothing to do with the failure of vaccines.

This is the first chart again, this time for the US.

In the US, the waves were less clear than in the UK

The waves of cases in the United States are much less distinct than in the United Kingdom, where instead of three separate waves, cases in the United States have stepped up, stepped aside, and then abruptly returned again with Delta becoming the dominant alternative. And when it comes to the case fatality rate, the numbers are even more chaotic.

The US saw a sharp decline in treatment improvement after the first wave, and then things settled down.

Why does the US look so different from the obvious sequence of events in the UK? Well, first of all, the United States is much bigger. With the exception of a peak around the first of 2021, each of these waves was a regional event rather than a nationwide boom. The first wave hit the Northeast, causing a disproportionate number of deaths in that region at a time when treatments were unclear. Three months later, the summer surge was mainly confined to the southern states, and the late trough of that winter peak was hardest hit in the Midwest. Now cases are escalating again, and while it is a completely national phenomenon, it is far from evenly distributed.

On Monday, 28% of all new cases in the United States could be found in one state: Florida. In the Sunshine State, that day saw COVID-19 cases pass 131 per 100,000 residents. Meanwhile, more than a dozen states had lower case rates by an order of magnitude. In large states like New Jersey, Michigan and Ohio, the rate of new cases was 10 per 100,000 people or less.

Thanks to the way the federal government, led by that other man, has decided to ignore any central authority when it comes to dealing with the pandemic, the United States has never developed a coordinated testing system, has never had any consistent interstate rules, and has been left out. with a legacy where Sifix It still shows 38% of Republicans say no to a vaccine. The United States hasn’t fought three waves of virus, or even four — it has had 50 battles underway between states that have different infection rates, different rules, and case fatality rates that differ five times between upper and lower states.

But one of the things that makes the US look so messy and the UK story so elegant is simply a matter of scale. Below are the relative case-fatality rates placed side by side in a single graph.

Death rates in the United States and the United Kingdom over the course of the pandemic tell a different story side by side.

What becomes clear when viewed this way is that one of the things that makes the UK story seem so “clear” is how awful those early months of the pandemic were on that side of the Atlantic. While the UK’s death rate in the second wave improved dramatically, the results were in fact still worse than what the US saw during the height of winter. Why would that be? we will …

UK vaccination rates far outperformed the US throughout 2021.

The biggest factor that has changed between the US and UK over the past few months is vaccination rates. Despite President Biden’s work on seeing that there was more than enough vaccine available to all Americans, and despite a rapid spread that once generated 4 million hits in a single day, the vaccine hostility of Republicans has the vaccination rate in the United States. 20 Points Behind That in the UK Despite what some articles continue to claim, rates are not “almost the same” and haven’t been since before delta started rising in either country.

And here’s one more thing that makes a big difference to those numbers: Not only has the US been failing to test for COVID-19 at an adequate rate, the rate of testing has actually gone down since January. Currently, the UK is testing residents three times more often than the US

Test rates in the UK far exceed those in the US

The high rate of testing in the UK, which has largely continued into the new year, means death numbers in their cases are down because they are simply picking up a lot of mild and asymptomatic cases. The miserable and worsening testing rates in the United States mean that we were pretty much where we were at the beginning of the pandemic: people are walking around to get tested for COVID-19 when they start to fear they have COVID-19, not a moment before. In the UK, every child in school is sent home with free tests and is expected to take the test twice a week. In the United States, states are passing laws against allowing school districts to require such testing. We are testing sick adults. And that’s it.

No one should expect Delta Wave in the US to accurately map the way things have gone in the UK because the two countries haven’t really followed similar paths since the pandemic began. It won’t happen now. The United States is too chaotic, full of states whose governors are still passing rules banning masks or vaccine mandates even as the virus spreads, too stressed, and overwhelmed with regional hospitals overwhelmed. In each of these waves, this last factor has been the most important — when medical care becomes inadequate, the COVID-19 mortality rate moves toward the number of COVID-19 patients who need intensive care. That number is somewhere around the gruesome values ​​achieved by the UK in the opening chapter of the pandemic, when their case-fatality rates topped 15%.

When the UK began climbing the delta wave, nearly 60% of the population there had already been vaccinated. Now, that number stands at just under 70%. Add in the number of people who contracted the delta variant during that time, and cases are now declining across much of the UK just because they’re really putting pressure on herd immunity. In the United States, the vaccination rate exceeded 50% at the end of last week. Cases here won’t magically drop so quickly because there are simply many more unvaccinated people waiting to get sick — although the numbers may drop in Florida once DeSantis’ policies work to get everyone sick.

Despite all this, death rates in the United States are now at the lowest point since the pandemic began. Despite Ron DeSantis, despite Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, despite hikers promoting phantom miracles, right-wing preachers screaming that Jesus was not vaccinated, and the entire right-wing media industry injecting hostility to vaccines, the death rate among those proven has not been They are getting COVID-19 less in the United States than ever before. However New York Magazine The article applies, not only were the death rates in July and August the lowest the nation had seen, but 80% lower than they were in February. This is much better than the phrase “no improvement”.

This is because vaccines very effective In protection from severe illness and death.

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