ABC News: 'No Major Increase' in Worrisome COVID Data in States That Started Re-Opening in Early May

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Posted: May 29, 2020 1:05 PM
ABC News: 'No Major Increase' in Worrisome COVID Data in States That Started Re-Opening in Early May

This is excellent news in nearly every way, given that ABC News' data-based conclusion is drawn from information gathered over nearly four full weeks.  There may still be serious outbreaks, secondary waves, or changing trajectories that could require fresh mitigation efforts -- but so far, these are very positive developments for everyone except for those clinging to doomsday predictions about the impact of gradual state-level reopening strategies:


Most, but not all, of those states are governed by Republicans, which almost certainly contributed to the tone and tenor of the news coverage of their strategies.  As the above tweet indicates, ABC examined not just a single metric (for instance, the misleading category of total cases, given increased testing), but an array of measuring sticks: Percentage of positive tests, hospitalizations, and deaths, the last of which is a lagging indicator.  Their verdict?  "No major increase[s]" in any of those categories, in any of the states mentioned, all of which started easing stay-at-home (or similar) restrictions on or before May 4th.  It is now nearly June.  These hysterical, fear-mongering takes were published in late April:


The dire proclamations, coupled with intensely negative coverage of GOP governors (Democratic leaders who presided over early re-opening processes strangely seemed immune to similar condemnations) must now be revisited.  Again, it's still premature to declare any semblance of victory over the disease for full vindication (we should keep an eye on bumps like this), but some very important trends continue pointed in the correct direction:


Texas' senior Senator notes that as his state approaches 1 million COVID tests administered, infection rates continue to decline, despite a potential minor uptick in hospitalizations.  Relatedly, this interview with Dr. Gottlieb is worth reading. Among his points: "I think there will and should be an attempt to open schools in the fall. I don't think schools are going to remain closed until we get a vaccine."  Speaking of schools and the question of children as Coronavirus vectors, there's this new data point:

Sending children back to schools and day care centres in Denmark, the first country in Europe to do so, did not lead to an increase in coronavirus infections, according to official data, confirming similar findings from Finland on Thursday. As countries across Europe make plans to exit months of lockdown aimed at curbing the virus outbreak, some parents worry that opening schools first might put the health of their children in danger. Following a one-month lockdown, Denmark allowed children between two to 12 years back in day cares and schools on April 15. Based on five weeks’ worth of data, health authorities are now for the first time saying the move did not make the virus proliferate.

More than 100,000 Americans have died from this virus, a staggering percentage of whom contracted the disease in nursing home and long-term care facilities.  This is a humanitarian disaster, and the results have been, and will continue to be, deeply tragic.  Positive news and hopeful trends cannot erase these losses, but they can help shape our policy decisions moving forward, given the enormous public health and economic stakes.  I'll leave you with several debunkings of the latest wild conspiracy theories, amplified by irresponsible hacks who are so wedded to the 'Bad Florida' narrative that they're spreading misinformation (some have since deleted their false posts):