Put more simply, the number of new cases may look like they’re increasing, but that’s primarily a result of a far greater Illinois testing effort. Again, increased testing continues to produce fewer positive results as indicated by our short-term record 1 in 6.1 prevalence.
If you recall, less than a week ago, it took just 4.5 tests to produce a positive result.
With that in mind, let’s get right to the table:
Date Cases % Increase N Cases N Tested Prevalence Deaths
4/13 22,025 5.6 1,173 5,033 1 in 4.3 794
4/14 23,247 5.5 1,222 4,848 1 in 4 868
4/15 24,593 5.7 1,346 6,313 1 in 4.7 948
4/16 25,733 4.8 1,180 5,660 1 in 4.8 1,072
4/17 27,575 7.1 1,842 7,574 1 in 4.1 1,134
4/18 29,160 5.7 1,585 7,241 1 in 4.5 1,259
4/19 30,357 4.1 1,197 5,914 1 in 5 1,290
4/20 31,508 3.8 1,151 5,040 1 in 4.4 1,349
4/21 33,059 4.7 1,551 6,639 1 in 4.3 1,468
4/22 35,108 6.1 2,049 9,350 1 in 4.6 1,565
4/23 36,934 5.2 1,826 8,969 1 in 4.9 1,688
4/24 39,658 7.3 2,724 16,315 1 in 6 1,795
4/25 41,777 5.3 2,119 11,985 1 in 5.6 1,874
4/26 43,903 5.0 2,126 12,975 1 in 6.1 1,933
Our second-best testing day did, indeed, produce our second highest daily case total, but only by a scant 7 positive results, which made our daily new case percentage drop back to 5 percent. To put this in perspective, when the pandemic first hit Illinois, coronavirus cases doubled every day, but just a month later, it’s taking two weeks for the same thing to happen.
We’ve tested 214,592 citizens at this point, and due to that expanded testing, we moved up to fourth place in the national rankings.
But the best news was, again, our mortality rate stood pat at 4.4 percent, and the mild increase in COVID-19 occupied ICU beds and ventilators support our decelerating disease trend:
Date ICU Beds %+ Ventilators %+
4/23 1,225 709
4/24 1,244 1.5 763 7.6
4/25 1,267 1.8 772 1.1
Since an astute reader asked, for reference purposes, Illinois hospitals offer 3,631 ICU beds and 3,326 ventilators. Though we’re still not nearly at capacity, but the Illinois Department of Health isn’t saying how many ICU beds and ventilators are being used by non-coronavirus patients.
Since one of our statistical mottoes is “nothing happens in a vacuum” and I’ve been regularly repeating “the cure can’t become worse than the disease,” per yesterday’s report, I do want to discuss how the fallout from the various state shutdowns will likely be far worse than anything the disease can produce.
First, according to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, 26,000 Americans die due to a lack of health insurance every year, and with 30 million newly out-of-work Americans rendered insurance-less, that number is bound to skyrocket!
Then there’s the economic and mental toll.
Some suicide and substance abuse hotlines are reporting an 80 percent or more increase in March calls, and the folks who track suicide rates are convinced they’ll soon see a pandemic spike, and that spike will likely last for years.
For those who do make it through this in one emotional and physical piece, the media’s persistent and unabashed fear peddling, the fear of the disease itself, and dealing with the kind of isolation most humans beings weren’t built to endure will exacerbate even the most minor preexisting condition and that unique stress will have a long-lasting impact.
Most of my generation grew up with grandparents who lived through the Great Depression, and we all know how that specter haunted them for the rest of their lives.
And please tell me, exactly what are we going to come back to? I’ve spoken with a number of Tri-Cities small business owners and they were beside themselves when the Governor extended the shelter-in-place order into May.
Not nearly every landlord is willing to forgo two month’s rent, the federal stimulus package isn’t helping the small businesses it was intended to help, and those business that do survive will have to rebuild their customer base at a time when many people will continue to retreat in fear of the virus.
Yes! Americans are resilient as one local elected official put it, but if you’re forced to close a business as a result of the shutdown, it’s probably not coming back. And small businesses employ 48 percent of this country’s workforce.
Not only did Dr. David Katz superbly cover much of we’ve been discussing here in his recent interview with Bill Maher, but he introduced the medical concept of “doing less harm.” As he put it, when you’re left with two bad choices – shelter in place or reopening the country – you always want to choose the option that does the least amount of damage.
Echoing the conclusion of myself and many readers, Katz recommended making an immediate effort to protect the most vulnerable and then move to reopen the country. It’s an interview well worth watching.
So, aside from encouraging you to stay safe, I’m going to leave you with a passage from Bruce Springsteen’s remarkable song, ‘Devils and Dust.’
What if what you do to survive
Kills the things you love
Fear’s a powerful thing, baby
It can turn your heart black you can trust
It’ll take your God filled soul
And fill it with devils and dust