There is not much positive to say about last Saturday’s KHPI end-of-week update. New reported daily cases set new daily record highs four days in a row. Discounting the approximately 1500 Fayette County cases that had been unreported prior to last week, a new weekly high was also reached. This rise in new reported cases can also be visualized by inspection of the 14-Day rolling average of daily cases– also at a new high. (The 7-Day rolling average of new cases was so distorted by low reporting over the 3-day holiday weekend and the bolus of 1500 delayed cases, that this previous helpful metric was invalid.) Reported deaths last week reached the highest levels since the week ending September 12. That latter week reflected new infections from July suggesting we should anticipate increasing deaths in the coming weeks independent of additional new cases. Confirming that the increases in new cases and deaths are real, reported hospital and ICU admissions for Covid-19 disease are at their highest since the beginning of the epidemic. All of these markers of disease spread and impact are going in the same (wrong) direction.
You can inspect a full panel of interactive data visualizations on KHPI’s Covid-19 Update portfolio which is generally updated daily on Tableau Public.
I cannot bring myself to simply repeat all of my earlier musings. We are not doing very well despite the best honest efforts of Governor Beshear and his administration. It doesn’t help that so many elected state and federal (almost entirely) Republican party officials are doing their best to torpedo sound health policy approaches to combating our current lethal epidemic. As a former state and federal lobbyist, I learned early the maxim that the only thing better than doing something effective is to make your opponent look bad. Through my lens as a physician and medical scientist, I can only appreciate political selfishness.
What will it take to turn this ship around? Those seeking political advantage attempt to convince us that the application of public health measures means the same thing as comprehensive lockdowns. That is manifestly not the case. As a community we must be willing to tackle the spread of disease locally where we live and to accept that no one’s personal beliefs place them above the law with respect to their actions.
Today is the first day that Frankfort will report the percent-test-positive rate in a new way. The justification of this change seems very reasonable to me. I will address this topic additionally at a later time.
Peter Hasselbacher, MD
Emeritus Professor of Medicine, UofL
October 19, 2020