"Prediction is hard, especially about the future.” This quote, variably attributed to Yogi Berra (what quote isn’t?), physicist Niels Bohr, and a Danish cartoonist, fits well with the pandemic in Colorado at the moment.
The association between the rate of vaccination and mortality is clear; across the states, the mortality rate drops steeply and inversely with the vaccination rate. Put simply, our public health measures work and not using them causes avoidable hospitalizations and deaths; how many can be estimated, and inevitably someone will do so.
In many contexts, evidence and decision-making are paired with implicit acknowledgement that actions taken can be justified by what we know. Uncertainty about what is not known inevitably complicates decision-making, and the level of uncertainty needs to be understood in informing judgments about decisions.
The number of Coloradans hospitalized with COVID-19 has dropped and the latest modeling report shows that the effective reproductive number is also dropping. If the drop is sustained for a few more days, perhaps Colorado is on the verge of a decline in the fifth surge. Meanwhile, we await the FDA's decision on booster vaccinations after seemingly conflicting conclusions were released last week.
Modeling predicts a continued rise that could bring the peak to well above 1,000 hospitalized COVID-19 patients over the next few weeks. Fortunately, we are unlikely to overwhelm hospital capacity, but news reports speak to stressed healthcare systems and healthcare workers in Colorado.
Contrary to hope and expectation, COVID-19 is not in retreat, but resurgent, more than tripling the inpatient census of Coloradans with COVID-19 since July 1. And it’s been another bad week for the planet with extreme weather continuing. Reflecting this urgency, an editorial was published on Sept. 6 by 220 health and medicine journals.
Schools across the nation have started in-person, including the three campuses of the Colorado School of Public Health. Two recent posts in the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report address the pandemic and the safety of K-12 students and staff.
As science-based, community-oriented organizations, the Denver Museum of Nature & Science and the Colorado School of Public Health have recently updated our COVID-19 policies, recognizing that widespread vaccination is the best strategy for ending the pandemic. If you are not yet vaccinated, we urge you to do so for your own health and for the protection of our communities.
Colorado’s epidemic curve continues to rise without clear indication as to future direction. We remain with more than twice as many people currently hospitalized with COVID-19 than were hospitalized at the end of June. This week, I invited Bill Burman, MD, Chief of Denver Public Health to comment on this bruising 18 months for public health.
Healthcare providers and hospitals are again seeing a surge and anticipating with dread full intensive care units and COVID-19 wards. Marc Moss, Head of the Division of Pulmonary Sciences and Critical Care Medicine at the CU School of Medicine, wrote to me expressing concern about the impact of another surge on the providers taking care of the COVID-19 patients.
I start with two numbers: the first—268 Coloradans hospitalized on July 1 with COVID-19 and the second—408 in hospital on August 6, a 50% increase. In Colorado across the summer, the epidemic curve has moved from declining—to stable—to clearly rising.
This brief essay takes on a topic that returns about 9 billion hits with a Google search on the phrase Why Science Matters. Here, I offer comments that are framed in public health and that dwell on public health sciences.
The July course of the COVID-19 pandemic has been unfavorable. Over the last several weeks, the message of a return to using masks has been controversial, as the CDC released revised guidelines based on new evidence related to the transmissibility of the Delta variant.
Since the start of 2020, we have lived through momentous times: the COVID-19 pandemic, tumultuous political shifts, and a reawakening to the urgency of addressing structural racism and its reach throughout our society.
All states are experiencing a rise in case numbers and the 14-day change for the United States is +126%. Is misinformation causing people to not be vaccinated and leading to the deaths of some of the misinformed?
We might think that the COVID-19 pandemic has ended in Colorado and the United States. The 2021 Major League Baseball All-Star Game will be played at Coors Field on July 13 and Governor Polis ended all Emergency Public Health Orders on July 8. But I worry that the stain of politicization persists and is costing lives.
President Biden framed the July 4th holiday as a time to celebrate achieving independence from COVID-19 while continuing to speak about the urgency of vaccination. As a nation, we did not reach the goal of 70% of American adults getting at least one dose of an authorized vaccine by July 4th, stalling at 67%.
In the United States, the direct death toll from COVID-19 is now about 620,000 with many additional excess deaths resulting from indirect pathways. Not surprisingly, new estimates of life expectancy for the United States show a dramatic decline with an overall decrease of 1.9 years to a life expectancy of 76.9 years.
Two days ago, June 19, was the first celebration of Juneteenth as a federal holiday, after President Biden signed the enabling legislation on June 17. We should remember the end of slavery while not forgetting its legacy and move forward to reduce the lasting impact of structural racism. June is also Pride Month, commemorating the 1969 Stonewall Uprising in Manhattan.