Author’s Note: We are on a 1,000+ mile road trip, so my opportunities to post have been few and far in between. My apologies for the delay, and I hope to be back on my regular posting schedule tomorrow. This COVID-19 update is going to be a bit shorter than usual as a result.
The big COVID-19 headline in the past week has been the CDC’s relaxation of the mask mandate for people who are “fully vaccinated,” which it defines as having had both shots with at least two weeks have passed since the last shot. Multiple states quickly relaxed their guidelines.
Close to 60 percent of the population has had one shot, but my observation is that far more than 60 percent of people have immediately stopped wearing their masks. This was based on traveling through rest stops, fast-food restaurants, gas stations, and convenience stores in a piece of Virginia, a section of Tennessee, a chunk of North Carolina, a large section of South Carolina, through Georgia, and into Northern Florida. This was to be expected in Florida, where Gov. Desantis has relaxed rules for some time, but it was a surprise to see masks discarded so quickly in many other parts of the Southeast.
I’ll talk more about masks and the gas shortage in my next post.
Lower and Lower Numbers
The case count in the U.S. continues to plunge, with only 16,616 reported on Sunday, April 16. That’s the lowest number since March 2020, when numbers were suddenly surging upwards. Hospitalizations and deaths also continue to drop.
In Europe the recovery also continues to do well, as we can see in the table below.
Below is a look at how the 20 countries with the highest number of cases have performed over the past week. These 20 countries give new meaning to the 80/20 rule, as they account for about 79 percent of the global cases.
India continues to be in the worst shape with a 12 percent increase in cases, despite its rate of growth declining by 2 percent. India’s 2.66 million new cases since last week’s report is more than ten times as many cases as were reported in the U.S.
Germany passed Spain, which must embarrass the Germans considering Spain had a huge head start and was once one of the worst-hit countries on the continent. That was the only change in ranks this week, but the Netherlands are poised to overtake South Africa for the number 20 spot.
About a third of the countries saw increases, including Russia, Argentina, Columbia, South Africa, and the UK, although the latter continues to have the lowest rate of case growth among the top 20 countries.