Eric Hickman: 4th-Wave Of COVID-19 Will Push Rates To Zero

Eric Hickman discusses why we should beware of the 4th-Wave of Covid-19.

I know everyone is tired of hearing about the virus. Some think it is overblown by the media, many want to focus on the positives, and others have had their lives upended and want to forget.

There are reasons for optimism. It is a new year with longer days and warmer temperatures. People continue to get inoculated with increasing speed. The approval of new vaccines continues as new cases, deaths, and hospitalizations from the third wave fall (see below). The 1918 Spanish Flu had three waves over about a year; the COVID-19 pandemic has had three over a year as well.

Indeed, this is about over, right?

COVID-19 Wave Rates, Eric Hickman: 4th-Wave Of COVID-19 Will Push Rates To Zero


Tuned Out?

It isn’t over, and financial markets don’t accept that yet. I realize suggesting anything negative about the virus is misanthropic, but the truth matters and the optics are misleading.

New cases decrease in the third wave because we are past the holidays, not because of vaccinations. It is a common misconception the decrease we’ve seen in the virus is due to vaccinations. The two aren’t related, at least yet.

“The decline in cases is likely a natural drop after record travel followed by indoor holiday gatherings triggered a surge in infections.” – Dr. Sarita Shah, associate professor at Emory University’s Rollins School of Public Health.

“We’ve seen these rises and falls in the COVID case counts now a few times, and they seem to really track along holidays or people’s movements,” Shah said.

To Early

“COVID-19 symptoms take between two to 14 days to appear after exposure, and cases peaked precisely two weeks after the Christmas holidays.” – Brittany Baker, undergraduate program coordinator and clinical assistant professor at North Carolina Central University.

Dr. Wafaa El-Sadr, professor of epidemiology and medicine at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, said the falling case numbers couldn’t get attributed to the COVID-19 vaccine. Not even a tenth of the population has gotten vaccinated, according to the CDC.

“We’re vaccinating our most vulnerable populations right now, but once we start to move into the broad population, the population that’s driving the numbers. That’s when we’ll start to see an impact on the overall numbers,” Shah said.

She said Americans might start to see the vaccine’s influence on case numbers as early as the summer, but it will be more evident in the fall.

U.S.A Today, 02/06/2021, “Coronavirus cases are falling in the U.S., but experts say it’s not from the COVID-19 vaccine yet.”

New Sars-CoV-2 variants

As with all replicating biological entities, viruses change over time with random mutations to their genetic code (genome) when reproducing. Most mutations do not affect or are detrimental. Still, every once in a while, a random change (or series of changes) will alter a trait that increases its biological fitness – its competitive advantage in its environment. Beneficial mutations get carried forward to new generations, which crowd out the inferior older genome. Such is natural selection.

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