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Delta… is in decline?
Posted by: Speedy
Date: September 01, 2021 06:21AM
We investigate Covid’s mysterious two-month cycle.

Almost like clockwork
Has the Delta-fueled Covid-19 surge in the U.S. finally peaked?

The number of new daily U.S. cases has risen less over the past week than at any point since June.

Since the pandemic began, Covid has often followed a regular — if mysterious — cycle. In one country after another, the number of new cases has often surged for roughly two months before starting to fall. The Delta variant, despite its intense contagiousness, has followed this pattern.

After Delta took hold last winter in India, caseloads there rose sharply for slightly more than two months before plummeting at a nearly identical rate. In Britain, caseloads rose for almost exactly two months before peaking in July. In Indonesia, Thailand, France, Spain and several other countries, the Delta surge also lasted somewhere between 1.5 and 2.5 months.

And in the U.S. states where Delta first caused caseloads to rise, the cycle already appears to be on its downside. Case numbers in Arkansas, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi and Missouri peaked in early or mid-August and have since been falling:



Two possible stories
We have asked experts about these two-month cycles, and they acknowledged that they could not explain it. “We still are really in the cave ages in terms of understanding how viruses emerge, how they spread, how they start and stop, why they do what they do,” Michael Osterholm, an epidemiologist at the University of Minnesota, said.

But two broad categories of explanation seem plausible, the experts say.

One involves the virus itself. Rather than spreading until it has reached every last person, perhaps it spreads in waves that happen to follow a similar timeline. How so? Some people may be especially susceptible to a variant like Delta, and once many of them have been exposed to it, the virus starts to recede — until a new variant causes the cycle to begin again (or until a population approaches herd immunity).

The second plausible explanation involves human behavior. People don’t circulate randomly through the world. They live in social clusters, Jennifer Nuzzo, a Johns Hopkins epidemiologist, points out. Perhaps the virus needs about two months to circulate through a typically sized cluster, infecting the most susceptible — and a new wave starts when people break out of their clusters, such as during a holiday. Alternately, people may follow cycles of taking more and then fewer Covid precautions, depending on their level of concern.

Whatever the reasons, the two-month cycle predated Delta. It has repeated itself several times in the U.S., including both last year and early this year, with the Alpha variant, which was centered in the upper Midwest.

What now?
We want to emphasize that cases are not guaranteed to decline in coming weeks. There have been plenty of exceptions to the two-month cycle around the world. In Brazil, caseloads have followed no evident pattern. In Britain, cases did decline about two months after the Delta peak — but only for a couple of weeks. Since early August, cases there have been rising again, with the end of behavior restrictions likely playing a role. (If you haven’t yet read this Times dispatch about Britain’s willingness to accept rising caseloads, we recommend it.)

In the U.S., the start of the school year could similarly spark outbreaks this month. The country will need to wait a few more weeks to know. In the meantime, one strategy continues to be more effective than any other in beating back the pandemic: “Vaccine, vaccine, vaccine,” as Osterholm says. Or as Nuzzo puts it, “Our top goal has to be first shots in arms.”

The vaccine is so powerful because it keeps deaths and hospitalizations rare even during surges in caseloads. In Britain, the recent death count has been less than one-tenth what it was in January.

In a few countries, vaccination rates have apparently risen high enough to break Covid’s usual two-month cycle: The virus evidently cannot find enough new people to infect. In both Malta and Singapore, this summer’s surge lasted only about two weeks before receding.



Saint Cloud, Minnesota, where the weather is wonderful even when it isn't.
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Re: Delta… is in decline?
Posted by: Lemon Drop
Date: September 01, 2021 06:23AM
Not in South Carolina. Cases rose dramatically past few weeks and half are in school children. Pediatric ICUs are full.
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Re: Delta… is in decline?
Posted by: RgrF
Date: September 01, 2021 06:30AM
If they ever did to begin with, some places have just stopped counting.

If you stop testing the numbers go down quoteth the Orange Cult Leader
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Re: Delta… is in decline?
Posted by: mstudio
Date: September 01, 2021 07:07AM
I suppose that may be debatable. [www.miamiherald.com]
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Re: Delta… is in decline?
Posted by: Lemon Drop
Date: September 01, 2021 07:13AM
The 2 month cycle theory makes sense, will be interesting to see of that holds up to more study.

My fear is that we've offered up a new batch of victims to delta, school kids. They were removed from communal settings last year, and so protected. But now with homicidal anti mask maniacs like Gov. McMaster in charge, they are very vulnerable and the pediatric cases are piling up befor we get to Labor Day.
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Re: Delta… is in decline?
Posted by: Ombligo
Date: September 01, 2021 08:09AM
The Florida numbers are skewed. The Miami Herald reported that the state changed the way the numbers were reported to CDC and it will show a decline until everything evens out in a few weeks then there will be another spike.



“No persons are more frequently wrong, than those who will not admit they are wrong.”
-- François de La Rochefoucauld

Growing older is mandatory. Growing up is optional.
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Re: Delta… is in decline?
Posted by: pdq
Date: September 01, 2021 08:10AM
Normally, I’d expect the curve to keep coming down. But unvaccinated kids going back to school without masks (in some areas) may mess it up.
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Re: Delta… is in decline?
Posted by: space-time
Date: September 01, 2021 08:14AM
I just saw that NYT email in my inbox and I was about to post it. Interesting, I hope it starts to decline, but don't forget there are more variants coming. We're not out of the woods yet. Not even close.
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Re: Delta… is in decline?
Posted by: cbelt3
Date: September 01, 2021 09:08AM
Epidemiology 101:
Viruses mutate. The more hosts it gets into, the more it mutates. They either mutate into something less virulent, or kill their hosts and burn themselves out. When the hosts are working to deliberately enable viral transmission... well... that's what we've got.

Delta is worse than Alpha and Beta. Gamma is appearing to be worse than Delta. This is not a good trend.

[www.cdc.gov]

Eventually we'll get to Zeta, which turn the infected into Juggalos.... /s
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Re: Delta… is in decline?
Posted by: N-OS X-tasy!
Date: September 01, 2021 09:56AM
OP should attribute his source. This is from the New York Times, correct? Specifically, its newsletter?



It is what it is.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 09/01/2021 09:57AM by N-OS X-tasy!.
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Re: Delta… is in decline?
Posted by: Lemon Drop
Date: September 01, 2021 10:12AM
Quote
N-OS X-tasy!
OP should attribute his source. This is from the New York Times, correct? Specifically, its newsletter?

Has Delta Peaked? [nyti.ms]
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Re: Delta… is in decline?
Posted by: Speedy
Date: September 01, 2021 10:49AM
LD, thanks!



Saint Cloud, Minnesota, where the weather is wonderful even when it isn't.
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Re: Delta… is in decline?
Posted by: JoeH
Date: September 01, 2021 11:49AM
The second possible theory of people tend to live in clusters, and when people leave and return to those clusters for things like holidays cases go up for a while makes some sense to me. Looking at the NYT national figures cases are still increasing, but at a slower rate. But they have reached about 2/3 the level off the peak late last year when the holidays brought on travel to be with family, etc.

What I am waiting for is how one of the biggest mixing events other than Summer vacation travel plays out. Millions of college students have gone back to classes, many in state but also many traveling quite a distance out of their home state.. They are young, rebellious, and away from home. Many schools have mask mandates but I am reading of significant resistance to those.
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Re: Delta… is in decline?
Posted by: neophyte
Date: September 01, 2021 12:20PM
I concur with LD. This graph is from the NY Times own website, showing new cases in my county (which has held the state record for new cases for more than 2 weeks). The text "7-day average" is over the bar for August 9. The last bar on the right is for August 31. I don't see a dip, do you?

In regards to the OP, my observation is that human behavior plays a significant role; many people here do not wear masks. And do not tune in to the news concerning the prevalence or virulence of the Delta variant. An unmasked guy came into my business yesterday, right through the door with a sign "Face Mask Required, Thank You" and loudly proclaimed "I don't have a mask". I told him to go get one and he asked "from where"? I told him "from your car". He said he didn't have one in his car. That speaks volumes to me, and is not atypical.

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Re: Delta… is in decline?
Posted by: Bill in NC
Date: September 01, 2021 05:36PM
Lets all stop this pussyfooting around & go for broke.

I want my Krippin Virus, or Trixie, or maybe Human Cortico-Deficiency Virus

Surely there's a Chinese lab working to weaponize something similar?



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 09/01/2021 05:38PM by Bill in NC.
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Re: Delta… is in decline?
Posted by: N-OS X-tasy!
Date: September 01, 2021 10:43PM
“Delta Down”

(apologies to Tanya Tucker)



It is what it is.
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Re: Delta… is in decline?
Posted by: testcase
Date: September 04, 2021 01:57AM
Quote
Lemon Drop
Not in South Carolina. Cases rose dramatically past few weeks and half are in school children. Pediatric ICUs are full.


Same here in TN according to NBC news just a day or three ago.


This is just one of the problems; CONFLICTING information / reporting from what should be reliable sources BUT, obviously are NOT reliable. old fogey smiley
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