Former FDA Chair Says COVID Is “Clearly Slowing” In Louisiana
Louisiana has been dealing with an uptick in COVID-19 due to the "Delta variant" for over a month. Though the focus on the variant and its wake haven't really been heavily noted for the last 3 weeks. But how long will this "surge" last?
If you look at other countries who have dealt with the "Delta variant", it seems like 3 weeks is about how long the surge typically lasts. In Scotland, their "Delata variant" surge lasted about 19 days. Using the math from their surge, it would suggest that Louisiana is nearing the peak, and plateau, for this particular surge. Even though that is purely an anecdotal suggestion for a time-frame, new evidence backs up the theory.
On Sunday, former FDA Chairman Dr. Scott Gottlieb joined Face The Nation to talk about the "Delta variant" surge. Even though he barley focused on Louisiana, the mention he did make turned some heads. Gottlieb said:
"I think you're going to start to see improvements, particularly in the South. There is evidence that the rate of growth in the cases in the South is starting to decline. I think that this week you may see some of the states that have been the outbreak states start to tip over in terms of showing less cases on a daily basis. The rate of expansion, the epidemic is clearly slowing in states like Florida, Louisiana, Arkansas, Missouri."
The former FDA Chairman said "clearly" the epidemic is slowing in Louisiana. But where does he get his information from?
Based on his Tweets on the subject, Dr. Gottlieb is relying on information from a joint effort between the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Yale School of Public Health, Harvard School of Public Health, and Stanford Medicine. They have put together a predictive model that relies on various data points, and historical pandemic reference points, to develop a trajectory for the disease spread.
Their latest information on Louisiana's COVID spread shows a leveling off of their predictive "fitted cases" in their model. Additionally, their research shows that the "rate of spread" for COVID in Louisiana is on the decline. They measure R0, or "r naught", and add "time" into the equation to form their "Rt metric". They explain it as "Rt is the average number of people who will become infected by a person infected."
Their "Rt" number shows that Louisiana's rate of spread has been declining for about 2 weeks.
There's even one more piece of evidence that suggests Louisiana's "Delta variant" spread is slowing down. But this one is a lot less scientific, but much easier to understand.
In the past, the amount of people using Google to look up "COVID symptoms", or related searches, directly correlated to the "waves" of the virus. Here are some examples from most of 2020...
So what do our current Google searches in Louisiana say for our COVID trends? Good news if we're going to see the same trend as last year...
Do the Google searches provide us with any kind of hardcore evidence? No. But the 2020 trends were pretty impressive.
Now if you mix the anecdotal evidence of other countries, the scientific math from Dr. Gottlieb's sources, plus the Google trends, you might start to get more confident that Louisiana may be about to "tip over" as Dr. Gottlieb said.
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