It is January 2, 2021. Two days into the new year. It’s been a little while since I have written about where we are with COVID, so I thought I would check in, and describe where I think we go from here. As of today, there are (or were) approximately 20,451,302 infected in the United States, more than 200,000 new infections every day, and 354,000 dead. From the Worldometers website:
The first COVID vaccine was administered in the U.S. two weeks ago (December 14). Since then, (as of December 30, a little more than two weeks), 2.8 million Americans have been vaccinated with the first of two shots (approx.. 1.4 million/week) . From the CDC website:
That is way too low a rate of vaccination. At that rate, it would take us 142 weeks (almost 3 years) to administer the first shot only to 200 million people (less than two thirds of the U.S. population), and another 3 years to administer the second shot.
Let’s assume that we can increase the rate of vaccination to….5 million shots a week. That is a tripling of the initial rate. That would mean that it would take us 40 weeks to administer the first shot to 200 million people, and another 40 weeks to administer the second shot. Or some variation of that, in order to get 200 million people vaccinated. To get 2 shots to all 200 million people in 40 weeks would require 10 million shots a week.
Did you notice that I didn’t say “in order to vaccinate the entire U.S. population”? That is because the entire U.S. population isn’t willing to get vaccinated. What percentage is willing? Your guess is as good as mine….my guess is 70 percent, or about 230 million of the total 330 million population.
The U.S. population is approximately 330 million. In order to achieve her immunity (which is basically a protection of everyone, because the large majority have been vaccinated), we will need 70-80% of the population to be vaccinated.
So here is our current status, and what is coming next:
- 20,000 people are dying every week from COVID in the United States.
- 20,000 will continue to die every week until we achieve herd immunity.
- We aren’t going to achieve herd immunity until a large majority of the population get vaccinated.
- And we are either never going to reach that number (because of anti-vaxxers) or it will take us close to a year to get there because our vaccination rate is so slow.
So let’s say, for estimating purposes, that it takes us 9 months to vaccinate 230 million people. 39 weeks x 20,000 dead/week=780,000 dead this year, in addition to 350,000 dead already.
So you’re thinking that I’m sounding kind of doom and gloomy? What I’ve shared with you is my optimistic view. 20,000 dead per week is on the low side. We have had some days near 4,000 dead per day, and we haven’t seen the expected increase of fatalities that will occur after the Christmas break, when people have come home for the holidays. We can easily reach 30,000 dead per week in the next 3-4 weeks.
In addition, there is a new virus variant (first identified in the U.K. but also identified in the U.S.) This variant is more contagious than the first strain, and will cause higher infection numbers in the next few weeks. The net effect of the post-holiday spread, and the virus variant, is that infection numbers and fatality numbers are going to go up from here.
What do I think? From where we are (350,000 dead, 20,000 more dying every week)-I think that 1 million American dead from COVID is guaranteed. I wish it weren’t so, but our collective behavior doesn’t change. I do not see the possibility of our behavior changing, and I don’t think enough people are going to get vaccinated quickly enough to prevent 1 million dead Americans.
If we don’t get serious about COVID, we are going to continue from 1 million dead to something even worse than that. If, for example, 150 million Americans refuse to get vaccinated, we could easily reach 100 million Americans infected, and as many as 1.8-2 million Americans would die as a result.
All of those infections, and all of those deaths, were and are preventable.
One last thought. I hear people say “I am not going to live in fear”. For my readers, I am not living in fear. In the pandemic, my business has grown from one client to eight. I had the best financial year in 2020 that I’ve ever had. I exercise more, eat better, and enjoy my family life as much as I ever have. We made a fortune (I do mean fortune) in investment income in the last 9 months.
My family and I are planning to get the shot, dust our passports off, and Theresa and I are going to start traveling again. In the next year or so, I’m going to scratch “7 Continents” off of my bucket list. I’ve been to six continents (42 countries), and I am not letting Covidiots interrupt my life.
I am not living in fear. I am living in reality. The kind of reality where 20,000 Americans die from a preventable virus every week, and many Americans aren’t willing to take the precautions needed to prevent it.
Go back and look at my essays from last March and April. I have been posting “viral doubling” charts for several months now. This isn’t new. The numbers get larger because viruses spread when people don’t take precautions.
Happy New Year.