Here is Dr. Gerald’s Weekly Report. At least things aren’t continuing to get worse. Below is his narrative intro:
In a bit of an unexpected change, conditions markedly improved this past week. Cases as well as hospital and ICU occupancy were lower. Like everyone else, I am looking for a glimmer of hope but don’t want to get my (or your) hopes up as I don’t really understand why things are better. I worry there is the real possibility that this improvement could be short-lived.
It is tempting to speculate what might be occurring. Importantly, improvements appear to be country-wide (see Rt.live). This suggests a common thread independent of geography, climate, or local policy. This thread is likely to be a behavior that is structurally and/or culturally imposed. So, here is me crawling out on a limb…I’m going to put my money on university and K-12 closures over the holiday period (see Haug 2020 Ranking the Effectiveness of worldwide COVID-19 Government Interventions which identifies educational closures are the second most effective mitigation policy).
Arizona basically exited the exponential curve the first week of December following university closures. We saw an actual decline in cases beginning the first week of January following closures of K – 12 for Christmas. Yes, I know actual school activities varied widely across school systems but still. Agree or disagree, I am happy to hear your thoughts. If my hypothesis is true, cases could increase in the coming weeks as schools resume their pre-holiday level of activities.