COVID-19 DIARIES, WEEK OF 4 DECEMBER 2020

Vaccines Alone Aren’t Enough

Impressive as they are, vaccines are only one element of the public-health toolkit

This was a grim week in US coronavirus history. We’re now averaging nearly 200,000 new cases per day; hospitalizations are at record levels; and deaths shot up 31% compared with the previous week.
One bit of potentially good news is that new-case rates are falling in 16 states, including Great Plains and Midwestern areas that had been the most infectious places on Earth for the past few weeks. Still, new-case rates are rising in 32 other states.
In California, the virus continues to spread at a rapid rate. New cases, hospitalizations, ICU admissions, and deaths all rose by double-digit percentages compared with the previous week.
Despite somewhat lower new-case rates in Midwestern and Great Plains states, much of the nation remains in the most infectious tier, with more than 1,000 new cases per million people. California is “only” in the third most-infectious tier, but the situation here is rapidly deteriorating. ICU availability in the Southern California region fell below 14% late Friday. In Ventura County, ICU availability fell from 18% to 14% this past Wednesday.

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