Washington State’s Governor, Jay Inslee, who just won an unprecedented third term, is shutting the state down once again. Inslee said during a press conference on Sunday, “This spike puts us in a more dangerous a position as we were in March.” Yes. That’s a verbatim quote. But just how dangerous is the position we are in? Just a week ago, the state took a day off from testing for Covid on Veteran’s day. But suddenly the entire economy must stop? It’s worth a close look at the numbers to see whether the shutdown is justified.
The first time Inslee shut down our state was March 16. At that time, Washington state had performed 24,500 tests in total, and there had been 366 deaths in which Covid or Covid Probable was listed as an underlying cause. Currently, Washington is doing around 33,500 PCR tests (test encounters) per day and we have had a total of 2,571 Covid-related deaths since January.
As of November 11, we have tested 2,813,081 out of a population of 7,170,000 and found 134,000 positive cases or probable cases. Of those cases, as I just mentioned, 2,571 people have died. But they died not wholly from Covid but with Covid (or probable Covid) listed as an underlying cause. That is to say, Covid was ONE of the reasons these people died. The other reasons included old age. Exactly 50% of the dead were over 80 years old.
1.9% of the 134,000 confirmed cases died with Covid as a contributing factor. Only .09% of the people who have been tested have died with Covid as an underlying cause. It is unclear whether anyone has died simply from Covid.
Is there really a spike in cases? If we average the 2,571 deaths out over the past ten months, since January, we would expect to see around 257 deaths on average. Over the past month, 110 people have died with Covid-or-Covid-Probable-related illnesses.
News reports on King5 and Komo 4 and Q13 claim that hospitals are overrun or could be overrun. But currently, there are only 572 people in the entire state hospitalized with Covid or Covid Probable symptoms. Considering that a total of 9,425 people have ever been hospitalized in Washington State with Covid or Probable Covid, and we have 1,434 ICU beds in the state, it hardly seems like we’re overflowing. And many of those patients do not need ICU beds but once stabilized can be moved to an isolated part of the hospital
There seems to be no record of how many of these 9,425 cases were confirmed and how many were probable. Below is the definition used by the CSTE for “ever been hospitalized.”
• Meets clinical criteria AND epidemiologic evidence with no confirmatory laboratory testing
performed for COVID-19.
• Meets presumptive laboratory evidence AND either clinical criteria OR epidemiologic
• Meets vital records criteria with no confirmatory laboratory testing performed for COVID19.
I am no scientist, and I’m definitely no epidemologist, but it seems to me that we have to look at more than just case count. Just because more people are testing positive doesn’t necessarily mean we have a bigger problem than before. First, we are doing an incredible amount of testing (thanks for the Trump Coronavirus Task Force). More testing means more cases. It is entirely possible that earlier in the year, we had more cases, but they just went undiscovered because we couldn’t test for them.
As I was doing this research, I took up my phone to use the calculator and when I did a Bible verse from “Verse of the day” popped up. It said “Is any among you afflicted? Let him pray.”
I have reached out to Governor Inslee’s office with questions regarding his rationale for the shutdown. Will update if I hear from his office.