Kentucky’s Exploding Covid-19 Epidemic Must Not Be A Spectator Event.

Kentucky’s Covid epidemic, already awful, marches across the state seemingly unchecked.  KHPI’s analytic week runs from Saturday to Sunday. Therefore, we will not have today’s case counts or other statistics until next Monday evening.  Even so, with 10,972 cases added to aggregate case totals in only a six-day week, Kentucky is already back to our disastrous November of 2020!  The same can be said of current hospital utilization and Test Positivity Rates. This explosion of cases is especially dramatic because the current pool of vulnerable Kentuckians is smaller than in November!  Vaccination and previous infection/recoveries make new or reinfections much less likely.  Indeed, it is said by Public Health authorities here and nationally that the great bulk of new cases are occurring in unvaccinated individuals.  At this point in the pandemic, this means we expect to see a larger proportion of children and younger adults getting sick.  Such vulnerable folks are well seeded throughout the Commonwealth where non-medicinal public health measures are applied to widely varying degree or not at all! 

Some public health and preventative behaviors are changing.  More people are getting vaccinated and tested.  Ominously however and based on actual new-case counts since July 1, 2021, unless public behaviors or other factors change faster and extent, KHPI projection estimates that Kentucky could hit 5000 new cases daily as early as August 17.  I want that to be in error, but earlier KHPI projections over the past year and even the past month have on or near targets.

The reader can view KHPI’s trimmed down portfolio of data visualizations on Tableau Public.  Here are a few examples.

Weekly cases Covid-19 in KY. Most recent week of 6 days is incomplete.

Cases and Deaths. Covid-19 in KY. As of 8-6-21.

Hospital & ICU Utilization. Covid-19 in KY. As of 8-6-21.

Test Positivity Rate. Covid-19 in KY. As of 8-6-21.

This next visualization displays the relationship of Test Positivity Rate and 7-Day new case rate for each day since October 1, 2021. The string of data points running across the bottom labeled July and August displays the values since July 1, 2021. We are aggressively approaching the same relationships as in January 2021. A companion display shows the relationship between TPR and hospital utilization. (The viewer can see both and adjust the range of dates displayed on the interactive Tableau Public website.)

Test Positivity Rate & 7-Day Case average and Covid-19 in KY. 10-1-20 to 8-6-21.

I have little more to offer this Saturday morning. Get vaccinated as soon as possible.  Wear masks whenever abound other people you do not live with, especially when you do not know of their vaccination status. Avoid situations where there are a lot of people either inside or out.  Listen to Governor Beshear and Doctors Stack and Fauci. Support and protect people and entities who are doing the hard things asked of them. This includes our hospitals and healthcare workers who are getting both swamped and burned out. Why wait until things get even worse?

Peter Hasselbacher, MD
Emeritus Professor of Medicine, UofL
President, KHPI
Saturday, 7 August 2021

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