By Daniel R. Lucey M.D., MPH FIDSA
As the number of reported people confirmed with COVID-19 in the United States crosses 2 million and the number of deaths crosses 113,000 (reference: Johns Hopkins University), the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website reports 20,486 new cases and 834 deaths since yesterday. What will tomorrow, and next week, bring?
Several states, including in the south where the weather is quite warm, are now reporting increasing numbers of hospitalizations for COVID-19. Even more states are reporting increasing numbers of confirmed infections and illnesses. Other states report no change or a decrease. Everywhere, however, new cases continue to be found when testing is performed.
Descriptions of this evolving state of flux of the pandemic across America include “spikes” in the first wave, a “patchwork”, and an early “second wave”. Given that COVID-19 is the first coronavirus pneumonia pandemic, and is clearly not an influenza pandemic, then perhaps use of a new image to capture the ongoing evolving pandemic, specifically in the United States is warranted?
One such novel image would be “high-tide waves and low-tide waves”. This image would capture the ongoing differences in the size of the continuous waves of cases, rising and falling and now in some places rising again, across our entire country in 2020.
Daniel Lucey, M.D. MPH, FIDSA, FACP, is an infectious diseases physician and adjunct professor of infectious diseases at Georgetown University Medical Center, a senior scholar at the Georgetown University O’Neil Institute, Anthropology Research Associate, Smithsonian Museum of Natural History and a member of the Infectious Diseases Society of America Global Health Committee.He has served as a volunteer medical responder to outbreaks that included the West Africa Ebola crisis. He has collected information on outbreaks starting in 2001 with cases of anthrax in 2001, and including smallpox vaccination 2002, SARS 2003, H5N1 Flu 2004, MERS in 2013, and Ebola in April, 2014, He has gathered, and updated information on the spread of the coronavirus here since Jan. 6.