Monday, December 14, 2020

Hospitals can be busy with flu

Agitated by stories of hospitals with COVID-19 patients? For example:
Hospitals across the state are already overburdened. In southern California, the capacity of intensive care units has dwindled down to 10%. In Santa Clara county in the Bay Area, just 31 ICU beds remain for 2 million residents. San Francisco is projected to run out of ICU beds by 27 December.
But the article does not say whether it is any worse than a bad flu season. See this Time magazine story from only a couple of years ago:
The 2017-2018 influenza epidemic is sending people to hospitals and urgent-care centers in every state, and medical centers are responding with extraordinary measures: asking staff to work overtime, setting up triage tents, restricting friends and family visits and canceling elective surgeries, to name a few.
NPR Radio reported, a couple of weeks ago:
The actual number of coronavirus infections in the U.S. reached nearly 53 million at the end of September and could be approaching 100 million now, according to a model developed by government researchers.

The model, created by scientists at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, calculated that the true number of infections is about eight times the reported number, which includes only the cases confirmed by a laboratory test.

If that is true, then we could reach herd immunity a lot faster than what the experts are predicting.

Update: The CDC has a page on the differences between COVID-19 and flu. They are minor, and a test is required to distinguish them.

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