In reply to:

Mark: That’s a good question that I realize I didn’t touch on in the post. COVID mortality is definitely down since 2020, which is good (though could be improved). I am more concerned about long-term health issues like disability, chronic illness, and opportunistic infections due to repeatedly damaged immune systems. Research is increasingly showing that each infection increases the risk for long-term issues, regardless of whether the initial symptoms were mild. A recent one, “Experiences of Canadians with long-term symptoms following COVID-19,” showed that of people infected 3 times, 38% were reporting long-term symptoms. CDC has said that of US adults infected, 19% report long-term symptoms.

I don’t usually follow the number of COVID deaths closely, though I hear about them from COVID-conscious people especially during the surges. I think during this winter surge we just came out of, there were 1-2k people dying per week for many weeks in the US. That’s an improvement from past years, but not an acceptable new normal, in my opinion. Thousands more were hospitalized and some percentage of those infections will develop long-term issues.

I usually follow the levels of virus in wastewater more closely, via Dr. Hoerger’s and Since we don’t have good testing these days, wastewater levels are about the best stand-in we have for current levels of transmission. There’s a video on his site describing the methodology in more detail, but I like how he calculates the chances that anyone in X number of people is infectious, as well as comparing current levels to the historical levels. This last winter was the second highest levels we’ve had in the US, next to Omicron. There are many times in the year when wastewater levels are higher than in 2020.

I feel we are in a worse place than 2020 since most people don’t know these things and thus, somewhat understandably, don’t take any precautions. The virus spreads and mutates like wild.

Happy to discuss more, whether here or via email.