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Our COVID numbers are staying down

Let’s keep this going.

While the East Coast struggles with a fourth wave of rising COVID-19 infections, Texas experts say the state is doing “reasonably well” as case rates stabilize across the state.

Case rates and hospitalizations have plateaued in the region in recent weeks, averaging roughly 3,500 new daily reported cases, the lowest it’s been since early-to-mid September. The decline in hospitalizations has been an even more welcome trend, with fewer than 3,000 patients hospitalized for COVID, the lowest it’s been since June.

Medical experts such as Dr. Carl Vartian, an infectious disease specialist and chief medical officer at HCA Houston Healthcare Clear Lake and Mainland hospitals, suspect the winter freeze, increasing vaccination rates and the prevalence of antibodies in Texas’ population have kept case rates low over the last month.

[…]

“Texas is doing better than most states, which are seeing a pretty sharp rise in the number of daily new cases,” said Ben Neuman, a virologist at Texas A&M University.

The lower rate of infections doesn’t mean that Texans can let their guard down, though. Fewer than 37 percent of state residents have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, and just over 20 percent have been fully vaccinated.

“You have to plateau before you rise, and I think that’s where we’re headed,” Neuman said.

The flat line of case rates starts with a sharp drop-off in testing. According to data from the Department of State Health Services, results from PCR testing dropped sharply during the winter freeze in February, and have not rebounded. As of April, Texas is testing at just half the rate it was before the state iced over.

While the number of daily tests has declined heavily, so too has the positive test rate. It’s now under 5 percent, and the second-lowest it’s been since the start of the pandemic, according to state data. Even with the reduced number of tests being conducted, fewer people are testing positive for COVID.

The low number of tests mean there could be a lag before a potential surge, Neuman said.

In Houston, medical experts are cautiously optimistic there won’t be a rise.

Usually, case rates spike first, followed by hospitalizations the week after and ventilator demand and deaths after that. So far, all three have stayed low in Houston, Vartian said.

The freeze was basically a one-week lockdown in the middle of February, and that no doubt helped keep infections down. I don’t know what it’s like anywhere else, but at least in my little part of the world people are still masking up, despite the Governor’s order. I won’t extrapolate from such a limited data point, but I feel hopeful that at least in the big cities people are still inclined to be cautious.

And I take heart at the progress in getting shots into arms. The Astros are getting their shots. The Rockets are getting their shots. Judge Hidalgo has gotten her first shot. People are celebrating the ways that their lives have been improved by getting vaccinated. (Can confirm, by the way.) I’m hopeful. We still have to be careful, but I can see the road ahead, and it’s going someplace good.

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16 Comments

  1. Jason Hochman says:

    The freeze being a one week lockdown didn’t keep cases down. Because lockdowns every where else didn’t work. The Maskless Mandate seems to have worked. All of the mask states have a surge, likely caused by them wearing a mask and touching their faces.

  2. Jen says:

    I am curious, do the rocks move around when you nod your head?

  3. Bill Daniels says:

    Jen,

    A couple of suggestions for you.

    ~Stop using so much blue dye in your hair. The dye, especially when it comes from China, seems to be causally linked to insanity.

    ~Next time you get a piercing, like the bull ring in your nose, insist on medical grade stainless. I’m pretty sure at least some of your current piercings are lead based, and are causing cognitive impairment issues.

    All the Best,

    Bill

  4. Jen says:

    L’ Oreal Superior Preference. The conditioner that comes in the kit is the best conditioner ever, it will fix any hair, anywhere, and one tube will last a year. Mostly water, glycerine, and candelilla wax (from Mexico or Texas).

    The reason masks work is that the aerosols containing the virus are entrained in the breath, which is slowed down by the mask. The warm breath containing virus particles then rises rather than going towards the person one is speaking to.

    But you guys don’t care about facts.

  5. Jason Hochman says:

    THe warm breath then rises? Well that’s some junk science there. What if I am talking to a taller person and the warm breath rises right into him? And don’t the virus particles descend back to earth at some point?

    Also, if you don’t have Covid virus, then your mask isn’t stopping anything. That is mind control, in which we all pretend that we are sick. Too many people have too much to gain by keeping this going.

  6. Jen says:

    If you are talking to a taller person who is several feet away from you, he will not be exposed, that is why mask plus social distancing works.
    If inside, air movement from ventilation plus filtration will reduce virus numbers.
    Outdoors, virus particles will be dispersed and rendered harmless by UV rays from the sun.
    No one can know for sure they don’t have the virus, it causes a high number of asymptomatic infections, the best insurance is to get vaccinated.

    No one has anything to gain by keeping this going.

  7. Jason Hochman says:

    No one has anything to gain? The government has gotten tons of new powers, and seen how easy it is to get the people to obey. There are billions of dollars of stimulus funds being handed out. Some may be legitimate but even Donald Trump got paycheck protection benefits for his businesses. And then I see many people who defrauded the stimulus programs to get sports cars, boats, new houses.

    The tech companies are raking in cash. Amazon made more money than ever. It is in their interests to keep us at home staring at a screen and clicking to send them money. Amazon also owns some of the major media. The major media gets all kinds of power and attention from their fear porn.

    You are probably too young to remember, but real activists such as I, remember the AIDS pandemic. The pink triangles and the Silence=Death campaign. Everyone in college had a pink triangle with Silence=Death on their jackets. They had marches against Wall Street, the NIH, and Fauci. The founder of ACT UP conveniently died last year. He wrote an open letter to Fauci back in the 1980s about how Fauci killed millions and admitted that he was an incompetent idiot. So now, Fauci is an international hero, portrayed by Brad Pitt, on the cover of fashion magazines, and on TV all the time, telling everyone to wear up to five masks at once. I am sure he is high on his own fumes.

    There are many people who benefit by keeping this going. Let me ask you, when has humanity, in all its history, ever tested this much for any illness? If there wasn’t constant testing would you even notice that there is a pandemic? If the virus causes a high number of asymptomatic infections then how serious is it, really?

  8. C.L. says:

    Dr. Hochman, you’re absolutely correct – Amazon is behind the pandemic and is (not so secretly) behind the push for no one to wear masks, to not practice social distancing, and to not get vaccinated.

    My guess, and yours as well I presume, is because they weren’t making any money prior to Jan/March 2020. This past year has been all part of their evil pan. Oh yeah, and Fauci’s as well. Can’t forget him. Two top members of the COVID Cabal.

  9. Bill Daniels says:

    Good post, Jason. I agree with most of that. This is about power and control, winners and losers, same as always.

  10. Jen says:

    Which college was it where they were wearing silence=death pins? Kramer ended up calling Fauci a hero.

    The only people who are keeping this going are those who refuse to wear masks and get vaccinated, and who encourage others to do likewise. Like you and Bill.

  11. Kibitzer says:

    IMPUTED IQ

    Speaking of mental acuity, Senator Huffman apparently thinks that the entire appellate judiciary, and the appellate bar, is mentally impaired.

    Here is how her reasoning for SB 11 and companion bills goes:

    Problem: A few trial courts in the 254 Texas counties can be subject to conflicting precedents because appeals from them go to either one or the other of two possible courts of appeals. Some judges are therefore “confused” because they don’t know which COA’s caselaw they are supposed to follow.

    Solution: Let’s merge seven of the existing 14 courts of appeals out of existence and append their territories to 7 successor courts so that *all* trial courts in Texas will be subject to COA precedents of at least 2 courts of appeals (courts whose caselaw will remain on the books after they have been abolished and their members reassigned to the new courts).

    Problem: The respective caseloads of the existing 14 courts are not always evenly balanced, which makes it necessary for the Supreme Court to periodically transfer cases from busy courts to not-so-busy courts so that each justice will roughly have the same number of cases to work on.

    Solution: Let’s create a new specialty court that can only receive exclusive- jurisdiction cases (from any one of the current 14 districts, and any of the proposed 7 mega districts in future) and cannot participate in equalization transfers because its jurisdiction is restricted to certain types of cases.

    Problem: The current court of appeals system is not efficient enough. Two COAs even occupy the same courthouse.

    Solution: Let’s set up two more courthouses so judges on the new super-courts don’t have to sit in the same courthouse together, and let’s spend a few million dollars on the new facilities and computer & communications gear so that the justices can interact with their peers in the other courthouse for the same mega appellate district remotely.

    Problem: We have too many courts of appeals.

    Solution: Let’s merge 14 existing courts down to 7 and require their respective chief justices to work it out among themselves, with the Supreme Court as final arbiter in chief vs. chief admin squabbles. And let the 3-member panels on the new mega courts proliferate and run the full gamut of combinations, with any conflicts among them to be resolved through en banc sittings of the entire super-court.

    Bottom line: Senator Huffman has made a good case for being awarded the next Bum Steer of the Year award.

  12. voter_worker says:

    Jason, your references to Larry Kramer and ACT-UP make me think that you might want to see (if you haven’t already) the new documentary film abut the artist David Wojnarowicz. The MFAH is currently streaming it. It’s a very provocative look at the culture war aspect of the 80s during the first years of the AIDS epidemic.

  13. Jason Hochman says:

    C L, you certainly made a wild interpretation of my comment. I never claimed that Amazon is behind the pandemic, or that it the pandemic is created from whole cloth. But Amazon has been making a huge profit from the pandemic.

    The better question that you should ask: why are Amazon workers complaining about poor conditions and low pay? If Bezos didn’t need more billions than he could spend in 100,000 lifetimes, why doesn’t he pay workers better? And give them better conditions? IF he cared about transforming the world, he could lift the boats of all workers. If Amazon payed better, the best workers would go there, other employers would have to be competitive to get good workers. Do you think that someone this greedy would want the pandemic to stop?

    Jen, the better question to ask, is, at that time what colleges and universities didn’t have student activists wearing pink Silence=Death triangles. Funny thing is, I never saw an interview or video of Kramer calling Fauci a hero. Funny thing is, Fauci rose to fame, and Kramer died, and Fauci said that Kramer eventually praised him…maybe Kramer’s death was a coincidence. But he couldn’t contradict Fauci.

    voter-worker, maybe I will watch the documentary, I looked at the trailer and it does look interesting. Thanks.

  14. voter_worker says:

    Jason, I hope you do. I’m still thinking about it.

  15. Jen says:

    Jason as usual you are lying, making up porkies. At UT Austin in the late 80’s there were no such pins, and I never saw any of my gay friends wear one. You were never any kind of LGBTQ activist.

  16. Jason Hochman says:

    Jen, I am not “making up pokies.” If you would look up the Pink Triangle campaign, you would see that it was big, and the Pink Triangle was based on the Nazi symbol for homosexuals.

    UT Austin must have been extremely backward and out of the loop. ACT UP had marches on Wall Street and NIH. It was a Big Deal at the time. Maybe at UT Austin it was not safe to wear such a symbol.