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Is the Midwest Peaking?

By November 24, 2020Commentary

It is pretty apparent looking at epidemic curves around the world that the virus tends to zip up and zip back down in a matter of weeks.  The Midwest, especially the upper Midwest, and the Rocky Mountain states have been the primary source of the case surge this time.  No reason not to expect the same pattern.  Look at the chart below, a moving average of cases in this area. (The last few days likely reflect test reporting lags.)  Testing patterns may account for a little of the variation but the reality is that everyone is testing like crazy, for no real purpose.  Interesting to see that the further south a state is, the lower the case level is, giving some credence to various weather variables being a driving factor in viral hardiness and activity.  These states all have a variety of approaches to mitigation, and no clear pattern due to that.  Note that Wisconsin got going a few weeks before Minnesota and looks to have plateaued, with Minnesota maybe a week or so away.   We will see what the effect of Thanksgiving is, there will be much less testing, so probably fewer cases, but maybe all those get togethers will cause a case bump.

Join the discussion 11 Comments

  • Garry says:

    Kevin, I have looked at a lot of these charts from around the world and they all end up looking similar. Regardless of mitigation strategy, each “spike” seems to last roughly 8-12 weeks and South Dakota’s line on the chart above looks classic. My guess is that Minnesota is about 4-5 weeks behind South Dakota and will be well on the downside when our Governor’s “pause” ends Dec. 18 (guess who the media will credit for this?). Are you seeing this 8-12 week spike trend as well or is it just me? Also, my hypothesis is that this is that the weather variable that drives this is… does the weather encourage people indoors? Extreme heat of the Florida and Arizona summers produced a spike. Similarly, just when it started to get cold in the upper Midwest cases accordingly rose. My theory is that this virus likes dry, climate controlled environments just like us.

  • Ellen says:

    People are sick with flu or corona? Thought flu came first… followed in Jan by corona?

  • Rob says:

    Cold and flu season strikes the northern latitudes before the southern latitudes? You mean the stuff we’ve known for centuries is actually true? The next thing you’ll tell me all the successes of mitigation efforts in the spring and summer had nothing to do with actual mitigation and just the normal pattern of respiratory viruses.

    Sorry for the cynical sarcasm but I’m sick of bureaucrats, so-called scientists, and their sycophants dressing up common knowledge and long-known facts as new discoveries.

    • Kevin Roche says:

      Clearly somewhat consistent with the pattern, but also different in some ways. maybe something about the virus? maybe something about all the hysteria contributing to faster behavior change?

    • Ellen says:

      Well said, Rob.

  • Kate says:

    Since the Strib long ago stopped inviting comments on a variety of articles that might encourage diverse reactions, in particular articles describing the brave battle waged by the state of Minnesota against the formidable COVID, Ima suggest people start composing emails to the reporters linked at the bottom of each article. Keep it brief, just a few lines pointing out some obvious discrepancy, or asking any old question it seems a curious reporter would have pursued. Is it possible they are oblivious to the shortcomings in their work because not enough of their audience is telling them it is shoddy?

  • Peggy A Lewis says:

    To Kate’s comment. Yes. I’ve sent several comments directly to staff asking that they show some journalistic bravery in reviewing other scientific viewpoints….no response.

    Today, because I’m a masochist, I read the Star Tribune. The Headline story “Resurgent COVID-19 races through Minnesota senior homes spared in the spring” made my blood boil. Mostly because I wasn’t able to focus on the sweet, fragile elderly dying but instead I was treated to this nonsense:

    “Minnesota health officials said the chief culprit is the sheer amount of coronavirus cases that surround senior care communities, even in rural areas. Young people who visit bars and restaurants contract the virus and spread it to health care workers, who unknowingly bring it into senior homes.

    Rampant community transmission “creates a double threat of more opportunities for unwitting introduction of the virus into facilities,” said state infectious disease director Kris Ehresmann. “At the same time, more staff are getting sick or being quarantined, which puts a greater burden on the existing staff and makes it harder to maintain infection prevention.”

    This comment amounted to exactly this: We told you it was the young people visiting bars, so we were RIGHT in closing them down! It couldn’t be that the lock downs don’t work, the Governor is useless and that the virus is spreading as virus’s do. What were these two women actually doing (Aside from blaming everyone under 40 years of age and doing news pressers) to get the rural community facilities prepared? They had months worth of data, trial and error and TONS of chances to see what Florida was doing..

    Why aren’t all the rapid tests going directly to facilities with the infirm? Why wouldn’t you use these tests to test staff at the door? And why didn’t the MDH along with Tim Walz throw everything they had at the problem so that the ones actually dying had a chance? Test. House. Bonus. Rinse and repeat. They put their focus on housing homeless people but it just never dawned on them to house Health Care staff? Test them daily and offer bonus for their efforts. Instead, he sent all the servers, hairdressers, etc. home and created a budget shortfall.

    They’re doubling down now and they don’t seem to care that it is visible to the human eye.

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