The US is headed straight for its third COVID-19 spike, however in keeping with President Donald Trump, it is nothing to be involved about. He has repeatedly made the declare that there is a easy cause behind the surge. “Instances up as a result of we TEST, TEST, TEST,” he tweeted on Oct. 26, dismissing any argument on the contrary as “A Pretend Information Media Conspiracy.” He additionally used this reasoning in a CBN News interview in June in addition to through the second presidential debate on Oct. 22.
In fact, we have heard Trump make wildly inaccurate claims about COVID-19 earlier than, statements that fail to carry up below nearer scrutiny. And whereas the oft-used “extra assessments equals extra circumstances” argument appears to make sense on the floor, a deeper look exhibits that he is off the mark as soon as once more.
Let’s get into the numbers for a second. US case numbers have risen to record-breaking new ranges over the month of October. Based on a CNBC evaluation of information from Johns Hopkins, over the previous seven days, the US has reported a mean of 68,767 new circumstances every single day, the highest seven-day average recorded yet. A median of 775 folks per day are dying of COVID-19 within the US, in keeping with the New York Instances, which has known as the state of affairs a “third surge” of the virus.
It is true that complete testing numbers have climbed steadily since April, when assessments have been scarce and inaccurate and plenty of People have been discouraged from taking one until completely needed. But it surely’s the check positivity price we have to regulate right here: the proportion of these assessments which can be truly coming again constructive.
Based on Johns Hopkins knowledge, the US peaked with a 22 percent positivity rate in spring, when, once more, there have been fewer assessments being taken and the one folks examined have been those that had the very best probability of returning a constructive. As testing has expanded, positivity charges have roughly adopted the development of general case numbers. The nationwide positivity price dipped in late spring and early summer season, rose once more in July and August, and fell in September. All this time, the variety of assessments — the one knowledge set Trump is banking his reasoning on — climbed steadily upwards.
If the virus was below management with complete assessments rising, we would probably see the positivity price falling or staying flat, mentioned Dr. Sten Vermund, dean of the Yale Faculty of Public Well being, in an interview with ProPublica in June. In different phrases, as we check extra folks and forged a wider web, you’ll count on a decrease share of these assessments to come back again constructive if the state of affairs was actually enhancing; that might replicate falling numbers of circumstances within the common inhabitants. “Now that assessments are available, folks can get examined, whether or not they have signs of COVID-19 or not,” ProPublica defined. “This consists of the ‘anxious properly,’ which means folks with no identified publicity and no signs who’re nervous that they could have the virus.”
However the positivity price isn’t declining, and it isn’t staying flat both. Over the previous week, the US positivity price has risen a full share level to six.2 p.c, the very best it has been since mid-August. Zeroing in on particular states can present an excellent bleaker image. In Wisconsin, the place complete check numbers simply hit an all-time excessive of 18,231, 16 p.c returned constructive. Kentucky is at 8.4 p.c constructive. And as of Oct. 25, CNBC reported that COVID-19 hospitalizations have been rising by at the very least 5 p.c in 34 totally different states, with 15 hitting document highs.
Exams are going up, case numbers are going up, hospitalizations are going up, and positivity charges are going up. Once we have a look at the entire image, as an alternative of drawing inaccurate conclusions from one knowledge level of elevated testing, two issues are clear: the virus isn’t but below management, and dismissing the proof (and blaming it on conspiracies) is not doing something to assist.