The “impending doom” of a 4th wave surge

I do not make predictions: I make observations and ask stupid questions.

We are seeing an uptick in positive daily test “cases” and a flattening out of the hospitalization curve.

One factor in the “daily positive test cases” may be colleges are resuming after their spring break sessions – and many then do Covid-19 tests of all students and staff during the first week or so. This seemed to cause a spike in my state’s daily positive test numbers during the 1st and 2nd week of January. This includes both true positives and false positives due to using a diagnostic test as a mass screening test on an asymptomatic population, and Bayes Theorem. Most colleges hold their spring break the 2nd or 3rd week of March; thus, this impact should subside in about one more week.

A related factor is re-opening of public schools in states where schools have remained closed. Some are testing all students once or twice per week.

Update Apr 1: Heh, an actual epidemiologist seems to agree with that thought!

Update Apr 2: Michigan rise in positive test cases is attributed to kids and teens, after schools re-opened. There is now much testing of asymptomatic individuals and it seems likely a proportion of these are false positives.

Hospitalizations are a better, but lagging metric. Hospitalizations have fallen roughly to where they were last summer but appear to have stopped dropping. Hospitalization numbers count everyone – those that are in for 1 day or 3 days or are “long haulers” for weeks or months. It is possible that the shorter stay patients have declined while long haulers, by definition, remain hospitalized for longer periods – and thus, won’t see a rapid decline.

These are items for contemplation. Remember, I am a brain injured idiot with no relevant experience.

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