In New York City, the number of new cases of infected people with SARS-CoV-2 and the daily death toll have been dropping for the past five days. The gory spectacle of health care personnel hastily talking to the reporters while they are sweating profusely in their Mertian protective gear is fortunately gone from our evening news programs. So are the makeshift hospitals to take care of the patients and the refrigerated trucks holding the bodies of the victims. Some of the hardest hit hospitals like Elmhurst Hospital in Queens and Brooklyn Medical Center in the homonymous neighborhood have much lower Emergency Room visits and less admitted patients for the infection, an unexpected phenomenon that has puzzled Public Health experts and hospital administrators.[i]
Today in an unusually optimistic article in Les Echos—the most respected financial daily of France—Yves Bourdillon affirmed: “the pandemic wave is coming to a close, apparently. The new cases of the Covid-19 atypical pneumonias and the associated deaths decrease in absolute number in al the countries of the world during the past few days. This daily flux only represents no more than 1.2% on average of the total number of the registered cases and 0.5% of the deaths, according to the reference sites of John Hopkins University and Worldometers.” [ii]
Amongst the developed nations most affected by this pandemic, the daily rise of new cases has been 0.5% in the USA, 0.3% in Germany and 0.2% in France, Italy and Spain. Even though they register almost two-thirds of the deaths, their daily rate has significantly slowed down, except for occasional peaks—like yesterday’s surge in the USA that tallied 1500 deaths. We must consider that there must be many more cases than the officially counted ones, but the trend is unmistakable and gives hope.
There have been many hypotheses about this phenomenon, including the benefits brought by a change of weather with the arrival of summertime; however, in New Zealand located in the Southern Hemisphere, the same trend is observed, with hardly any new cases. The Social Distancing and Isolation have certainly contributed to the betterment of the statistics but this trend occurs in countries with differing policies; it is observed in countries like Switzerland and Norway that have enacted a light version of Social Isolation and countries like Japan and South Korea with more draconian versions.
Some scientists are wondering if this “ralentissement” [iii] is really an expression of a mutation of the virus to become a different infecting agent. Less infectious or more? Veteran physicians and administrators are warily watching the sudden decline of clinical activity in their now eerily vacant hospital beds and the spreading calm. Is it just a temporary reprieve before a second wave hits them? Nobody really knows.
What do you think? Please tell us.
Don’t leave me alone.
Stay distant. Stay safe. Stay beautiful.
[iii] Term in the French language that means: “slowing down.”