People’s CDC COVID-19 Weather Report

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The Weather: As we’re figuring out how to display COVID transmission in an accurate and accessible way, please know that about 98% of the US population lives in an area with substantial or high transmission, according to the CDC transmission map

On Variants: BA.4/5 currently makes up 94% of cases nationally. BA.4.6, another Omicron variant, has been slightly increasing throughout the past few weeks since early July. It is not yet clear whether it will surge.

A bar chart shows data for the weeks of 5/7/2022 through 8/13/2022 with levels for each viral lineage shown vertically. In mid-May, BA.2.12.1 and BA.2 were the dominant variants, almost 50-50, with slightly more of the former. By 5/21/2022, BA.2.12.1 overtook BA.2 as the dominant variant. However, it began to be edged out by BA.4 and 5, starting in late May. By mid-June, BA.5 comprised almost 30 percent and BA.4 11 percent of the variant pool. They continued to grow exponentially throughout the weeks. As of 08/13/2022, BA.4/5 now represent more than 90 percent of cases, with the predominant strain being BA.5, at 89 percent. BA.4.6, another Omicron variant, has been slowly inching up throughout the weeks, appearing in early to mid-June, and now comprising 5 percent of variants found nationally.

A new study summarized by Dr. Liji Thomas suggests COVID will continue to evolve through mutations that improve its ability to escape prior immunity, making clear – once again – that herd immunity is not a reasonable expectation or strategy.

Wastewater Monitoring: National wastewater data from @BiobotAnalytics shows a continued decrease from last week, though levels continue to remain higher than before the Omicron surge.

A graph with overlapping lines indicating wastewater viral concentration in dark blue & daily clinical cases in light blue from January 2020 to August 2022. The x-axis is time & the left y-axis states “Wastewater: Effective SARS-CoV-2 virus concentration, copies per mL, or milliliter, of sewage” and the right y-axis shows “Clinical: daily new cases.” The clinical cases & daily average have fairly consistent peaks & valleys, though the lines are discrepant, with the wastewater levels consistently higher than the daily clinical cases, especially during surges. In this year so far, the wastewater level was lowest in mid-March at 107 copies per mL. From March onwards, it steadily climbed up. In June, it appeared fairly steady, ranging from around 730 to 780 copies per mL. In July 2022, the viral concentrations spiked, cresting to 1,075 on July 20th. In August, numbers have been dropping to June levels. Source: “Wastewater data from Biobot Analytics, Inc.; Clinical data from USAFacts.”



A line graph shows the concentration of COVID virus in wastewater in four regions of the US: the west including Alaska and Hawaii, the midwest, the south and mid-atlantic, and the northeast throughout the pandemic, from March 2020 to August 10, 2022. Levels in all regions are decreasing slightly since peaking in mid to late July. In the west, the concentration is 586 copies per mL; the midwest 771; the south 851; and in the northeast 877. Data from Biobot Analytics.

Hospitalizations: Although hospitalizations show a slight decrease nationally for the first time in months, that decrease is very slight.

A line chart with “New Admissions of Patients with Confirmed COVID-19, United States,” as its title, “New Admissions per 100,000 Population” on its y-axis, and dates ranging from August 1, 2020 to August 9, 2022 on the x-axis. The graph contains 8 lines, which include 7 age groups and the All Ages line. The 70+ age group consistently has much higher hospitalizations than other ages, especially during peaks in hospitalization, which are in mid-January 2021, late August 2021, mid-January 2022, and late July 2022. Since April 2022, the 70+ disparity has been greatly increasing compared to the other age groups. In early August, there is finally a slight drop in hospitalizations, indicating a potential downward trend in the current wave, but admissions are still high at almost 8 new admissions per 100,000 population for the 70+ age group.

It’s important to note, however, that many hospitals have changed how they record COVID hospitalizations. For example, some are only recording those that require certain antiviral drugs

Deaths: From August 4 to August 10, 2,940 people died of COVID nationally. On average, more than 400 people are dying of COVID each day in the US; this average has not dipped below 400 since mid-July. 

On Long COVID: A recent piece in Nature describes the difficulties facing Long COVID researchers and patients. Proper federal funding is needed to more quickly pin down the causes of, and treatments for, LC.

Of particular importance from this Nature piece: graded exercise therapy does not work, may make things worse, and should not be recommended for patients with Long COVID.

Despite funding-related hurdles, research into Long COVID is ongoing. Read a breakdown of a preprint examining the immunological features of LC, which provides evidence that LC is real and biologically-based, in this Twitter thread from Prof. Akiko Iwasaki (@VirusesImmunity). 

We want to lift up the work of The Patient Led Research Collaborative (@patientled) for conducting Long COVID research, pushing policy, and ensuring that research involves and centers Long COVID patients.  

Forecast: We are experiencing sustained and uncontrolled COVID spread, a worsening Long COVID crisis, and a deteriorating US healthcare system.

What’s more, The CDC itself predicts deaths will “remain stable or have an uncertain trend” in the coming weeks. 

This line graph, titled “National, Combined Forecast” shows new weekly deaths starting in June through September 15 2022. The recorded deaths, black line on the left side of the graph, fluctuate weekly while rising over time, starting from about 2,000 in early June to about 4,000 on August 8th, the latest data shown. From mid-August to early September, the graph displays brown bands of predicted deaths based on forecasts from independent teams, on the right side of the graph. This area has three parts: a line of predicted deaths in the center, whose data points hover just below 4,000, surrounded by a dark brown band whose values range from about 3,000 to 4,300, which itself is surrounded by a lighter brown band that has a range from approximately 2,000 to 6,000. Given the increase in predictive uncertainty over time, the band is narrower in mid-August, then widens in early September. The inner and outer bands are called “50 percent and 95 percent prediction intervals,” respectively.

Despite this, the CDC published a horrifying set of new, relaxed guidelines last week, which places even more responsibility onto individuals than ever before and ignores all COVID-related outcomes they classify as “not severe” (including Long COVID).

These updated guidelines underscore the CDC’s refusal to control or prevent disease, and send a clear message that they believe 400+ deaths per day are acceptable.

The CDC is asking us to continue allowing our children, neighbors, coworkers, and friends to die; to surrender to the “inevitability” of Long COVID; and to accept that those of us who are disabled must endure ever increasing isolation and harm – all in the name of a wretched economy. 

In fact, they’re already being praised by the capitalist class, who are happy to have us back to our “pre-Covid behaviors” – spending more money, working through illness, and unable to take time off following exposure – at the price of the public’s health.

To name it clearly, the CDC’s policies are eugenic – they rely on and promote the indefensible stance that disabled and elderly, poor and working class people are disposable, unworthy of care, and unworthy of participation in society. 

And the failures don’t stop at the CDC. Rob Wallace, an epidemiologist and fellow PCDC volunteer, offers an in depth breakdown of the current lack of public health measures, noting similarities between both administrations’ pandemic responses.

The state of COVID nationwide, especially as schools are set to reopen with little to no covid safety measures in place, are a cause for concern.

Not only are children at risk of catching and spreading COVID, but children with a prior COVID infection are at increased risk for blood clots, heart problems, diabetes, and kidney failure, according to a new report by the CDC itself.

But there’s hope somewhere in the understanding that we *can* protect each other. This starts by recognizing that those of us who wish to keep eachother safe are not a minority.  Unmitigated spread, eugenics, and individualism as policy are not inevitable. We must demand and work towards a different future. 

Register your objection with the president. Once again, @watermelonpunch has gotten us all started: https://teamshuman.substack.com/p/the-cdc-is-supposed-to-control-and?r=21wmy&s=w&utm_campaign=post&utm_medium=email

Join us in pushing for the return of mask mandates. Mask mandates protect children and staff in schools, helping us to “avoid potential depending of educational inequities.”

You can read a breakdown of this mask mandates in schools study from one of its authors, Dr. Ellie Murray (@EpiEllie), in this Twitter thread

Finally, remember that you are not alone. Consider registering for CovidMeetups.com, a service “designed to help COVID careful individuals and families connect in their local area.” 

Let’s keep each other safe this week. 

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