• Andrew Walsh MD PhD

Have the protests started the second wave of Covid-19? (update after 8 June data)

See original blog here

Overall the US data showed a big drop today inline with its 7 day seasonality. The combined daily rate of all states is flat now 14 days after George Floyd's death.

Minneapolis daily cases continue to drop showing no sign of increased rates after the rallies.

Washington DC shows the same pattern: daily rates continue to drop.

Yesterday Los Angeles looked the most vulnerable to showing an increase in daily rates but it too is showing signs it may also start a downhill run.

Atlanta had an increase in daily rates yesterday but in isolation this means little in terms of the overall smoothed trend which is still down. It would take several days of increased daily rates to reverse the downward trend.

New York continues to decline but looks to be settling somewhere around 500 new cases per day for the time being.

As a reminder, my hypothesis is that outdoor transmission of the new coronavirus is likely to be much lower than indoors (of the order of at least 20 times lower according to prior research). In the rallies people did everything wrong: largely ignored social distancing, wore masks incorrectly if at all, shouted, yelled and sang. Some were also locked up indoors. This behavior goes against all the rules authorities have given us, so if daily rates in cities that held rallies goes down, perhaps the advice given about social restrictions should really apply in closed environments and not outside? If this is true, maybe we can return to the parks, the beaches and to watch sport outside, which would be a major relief for many of us.

It is too early to say for now but the evidence is encouraging.

I also think it is more relevant to consider individual cities which held rallies rather than overall US data as the latter includes areas perhaps more remote that are lagging other areas.

I am also not advocating relaxing restrictions entirely if current trends continue. There is no point throwing the baby out with the bathwater! My point is that outdoor areas should be treated differently. 70% of people with the virus do not pass it to anyone and most community transmission comes from super-spreaders at indoor gatherings.

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