Case Update: December 29th, 2020; New UK Variant

Friends,
This is a case update and I’ll also talk about the new UK variant, VOC 202012/01. Wave 3b, the Thanksgiving wave, is receding, with numbers going down for the US since around the 18th. However, if Thanksgiving is an indicator, we may see a Christmas wave start this week after Christmas gatherings last week. Wave 3b was higher than 3a, but there’s no way to predict right now if a wave 3c will be higher still. The wave of new cases that began in the North this Fall is now receding for much of the country according to endcoronavirus, and the bulk of new cases are concentrated in the Southwest, East coast, and a pocket of cases in Oklahoma. LA County is continuing to experience an explosion of new cases, with 194 thousand in the past 2 weeks.

Graph is by me, from data collected from Johns Hopkins University COVID site.
Graph is by me, from data collected from Johns Hopkins University COVID site.
Endcoronavirus County Level Map, December 29th, 2020

New confirmed case numbers are starting to decline for California and San Diego County as well, but again, we may see a new Christmas related wave start this week.

Graph is by me, from data collected from Johns Hopkins University COVID site.
Graph is by me, from data collected from Johns Hopkins University COVID site.
Graph is by me, from data collected from Johns Hopkins University COVID site. “Active Confirmed Cases” numbers are calculated based on the assumption that patients confirmed to have SARS-2 virus at least 17 days ago have recovered.
Graph is by me, from data collected from San Diego County Public Health. See also regularly updated slides from SD County.
Graph is by me, from data collected from San Diego County Public Health. See also regularly updated slides from SD County. “Active Confirmed Cases” numbers are calculated based on the assumption that patients confirmed to have SARS-2 virus at least 17 days ago have recovered.

As we are tentatively seeing some improvement, remember that an epidemic is like a wildfire. When “containment” is achieved, diligence and caution is still warranted, since a change in the winds can cause a new flare up. We certainly saw this after Thanksgiving.

New UK variant: A new variant has arisen in the UK, perhaps in September, but began to be noticed in December. It has been given the useful but very uninteresting name of VOC 202012/01. VOC stands for “Variant of Concern”. The variant appears to have multiple mutations including one in the spike protein (N501Y) that may make it more contagious than the original version. However, it is currently thought to perhaps be slightly less virulent, but it may be too early to be sure. I have to confess that I haven’t read much primary research on it yet, and most of my current knowledge comes from radio stories and Wikipedia! I will study it more as its impact warrants!

Don’t fear, but be smart!
Erik

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