These last couple of months of semi-isolation seem to have changed me. Home just feels more safe and more like a haven from all that is going on out there. It is not like I want to be isolated forever. I miss the little things. Lunch with some friends. Catching up with dance friends at group class. Even just casual conversation with random people I tend to see on a routine basis – like the vendors at the farmer’s market.
I know these things will come back. But right now it still feels like so many people are still on edge that it is better to just avoid them as much as possible.
I did try to do some shopping today. Got a gift card at the bookstore for my birthday so I went out to spend that sucker. First problem is I normally like to get several magazines devoted to college football. Well given all that is going on there, most of the information in those magazines is going to be seriously out of date. I don’t know that I need a reminder of the season that never was.
Then, there was the message in the background to stay six feet away. I was browsing in aisle and a lady was at the end. I could tell she was interested in the same section. So I felt I had to move away quickly. Not that she was being rude or anything but it didn’t feel right to just be aimlessly browsing titles if she was looking for something specific.
I like to pick up a book and read the back cover description to get an idea of the story. Maybe read a couple of pages to see if I like the author’s style. I get to the counter and there was some bin to place books you weren’t going to buy. Was I not supposed to be touching anything? Again, that feeling like you are a piece of toxic waste that leaves a trail of radioactive slime on anything you touch. Kind of off putting.
Not to mention the mask. The combination of that and my allergies made my nose itch like crazy. In the end, I bought a magazine and one book but then came home and ordered three e-books. I like to make a shopping trip into sort of a leisure activity. Just wander around and look at things and maybe touch a few things here and there. In today’s world, that feels wrong and the mask just makes me want to get my stuff and get the heck out. Which is why home looks better and better all the time.
You are probably wondering where the numbers I spoke of in the title are. Well we’ve now come to that section. I’m trying to avoid putting on my super rose colored specs here but there is some reason for cautious optimism.
The trends are moving in the right direction in the Sun Belt states everyone was worried about. I don’t know that I would call a peak yet but they no longer appear to be in the exponential growth phase.
I’m just going by my 10 day moving average. Arizona hit a max on July 9 and the average number of cases is down about a third from the peak. Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina and Texas hit a max about two weeks ago and are down about 20% from that max.
Alabama, California and Nevada hit a max about a week ago and are down 10-15% from that max.
Which leaves Arkansas, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi and Tennessee that are still close to their maximum number of new cases. We’ll have a better idea next weekend if those states are also turning down.
Not to say that things can’t rise again because a couple of places (like my home state) are still seeing increases. What is true here though is that the number of hospitalizations and deaths is not what it was during the first peak in April.
As a whole, the number of positive tests decreased last week after six weeks of increases. The percentage of positive tests has dropped the last two weeks. Again, too early to celebrate and not enough to really say there is a trend nationwide. Deaths have gone up but that is to be expected. The pattern is always that cases peak first, then hospitalizations and then, finally deaths.
Right now, the five places that are really seeing the fastest growth are Hawaii, Alaska, Montana, Missouri and Oklahoma. Note, this is not the number of cases because the number of cases in Hawaii, Alaska and Montana is small. This is just the percentage growth which is important for measuring how fast the virus is spreading.