It seems like a paradox, but it is not. There are at least five reasons that explain why more cases of COVID are being reported in the United States, but at the same time, deaths are declining.
The daily percentage of COVID-19 deaths has dropped 75% since April. But the cases continue to set records: 62,000 in a single day, between July 7 and 8.
- The 11 symptoms of COVID
These are some of the reasons that, according to the scientists, explain what seems to be a discrepancy in the epidemiological data.
1. More tests are conducted nationwide
After faltering for months, the flow of evidence for COVID-19 has been increasing. As states have been reopening, anyone can get tested. In fact, an average of 500,000 tests are being conducted nationwide per day.
This has made it possible to detect more cases early, and also mild cases that require less invasive treatments. They are not fatal cases, but they add to the public health statistic.
2. The virus is spreading in younger demographic groups
One of the main reasons why cases have skyrocketed in recent weeks is because of the early reopens of states like Texas, Arizona and Florida. And the first to resume social life without too much protection were young adults.
The result: At the beginning of the pandemic, the average age of people with COVID-19 was 50. Today is 35.
This demographic group tends to be healthier and young people tend to have stronger immune systems, so they generally outperform COVID-19 without the need for hospitalization, and without suffering a severe or fatal form of the disease.
Although some 850 people under the age of 35 have died from COVID complications in the country, tens of thousands of deaths have been in people over 50.
Data from South Korea, Spain, China, and Italy suggest that the case fatality rate for COVID-19 in adults over the age of 70 is more than 100 times higher than for those under the age of 40.
3. There is a better understanding of the condition, resulting in fewer deaths
As the virus runs its course, doctors begin to have more resources to treat COVID-19, even though there is no official therapy or vaccine yet.
This means there are fewer deaths in hospitals.
The phenomenon that is being registered in the United States also occurred in other countries. A study conducted in a hospital in Milan, Italy, published in the scientific journal Pathogens and Global Health, found that COVID-19 mortality had gone from representing 24% in March to 2% in May, with no significant changes in the age of the internees.
The same has been observed in hospitals in other European countries, according to an analysis by the University of Oxford.
At first, the coronavirus took health professionals by surprise: they simply had no idea how to treat it and how to cope with immune and respiratory system reactions that seemed impossible to control.
Now they know what medications, for example steroids, can be used to tackle an out-of-control immune system. Or, for example, that the plasma from people recovered from COVID-19 may be helpful in treating the infection.
There is still a long way to go, but in these little more than six months of the pandemic, much has also been learned.
5. Other theories: summer and the viral mutation
A scientist recently said that “viruses don’t like heat.” Therefore, the arrival of summer and the supposed more “consumption” of vitamin D in the northern hemisphere by exposure to the sun, could theoretically weaken the coronavirus.
Scientists are also looking at its ability to mutate, and it could be that the coronavirus is mutating into a more contagious, but less deadly form.
Masks and social distance
Faced with all the theories, the reality is that the coronavirus is still spreading, and the end of the pandemic is far away.
So you don’t have to let your guard down with measures that have proven to be highly effective in stopping the spread of the coronavirus and COVID-19 cases: wearing face masks or face masks in public places, keeping the distance of 6 feet ( 2 meters) between people, and wash your hands with soap and water frequently.
A mathematical model developed by epidemiologists at the University of Washington found that the massive use of masks could prevent between 17,000 and 28,000 deaths across the country before Oct. 1.
Sources: CDC, University of Washington, local health departments.