As we suspected, Monday proved to be a stunning day when it came to COVID-19, but there's a hopeful silver-lining in the data. Texas produced more than 140,000 new cases in just three days, including 51,000 on Monday. How the week will play out is anyone's guess? And if COVID hasn't gotten you, cedar fever certainly is charming this year.
SO YOU MENTIONED THE SILVER LINING?
Peterson Health said 102 people tested positive for COVID-19 after the three-day New Year's holiday weekend. There may be a silver lining in the news — omicron will be annoying, but not as horrible as other variants.
With 12 people hospitalized at Peterson Regional Medical Center, omicron is living up to its label as "milder" than the alpha or delta variants. The delta variant proved to be a handful for Peterson Regional Medical Center — keeping most people in the hospital for a week or longer.
By comparison, Peterson reported 74 cases on Sept. 7 — after Labor Day. On the same day, Peterson said it had 46 hospitalizations, and the ICU was full of COVID patients.
AND HOW'S THE STATE LOOK?
After three days of not reporting due to the New Year's holiday, the Texas Department of State Health Services unleashed its COVID-19 report Monday, with 154,000 new cases since Thursday and more than 7,000 people hospitalized, including 279 children.
See @Cleavon_MD's post on Twitter.
See @DrEricDing's post on Twitter.
BUT HERE'S WHERE WE HAVE SOME CONCERNS
The staggering stat of the day; was this — 33% positivity for those taking molecular COVID-19 tests. That's the highest positivity rate for Texas during the pandemic.
YEAH, IT'S JUST LIKE A COLD
We love internet trolls, and COVID-19 brings out the best of them — or the dumbest. A woman commenting on one of our posts said it was just a "cold" or "cedar fever." She seemed to be parroting an equally dumb statement by U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Florida). However, it made us want to go back and look at the old flu vs. COVID argument. Do you remember the one? Yeah, it's just the flu. The three days of positivity blows away anything the flu did in Texas over the last five years before COVID arrived. The caveat here for the flu folks is that Texas' surveillance on flu isn't as robust as COVID data. However, positivity for those who thought they had the flu was often between 12% and 21%. And, once again, the danger of a massive number of COVID infections, even mild, is the impact on hospitals. Here's a look at the data from the past flu seasons:
WHEN IT COMES TO MINIMIZING, LEAVE IT TO KERR COUNTY
We've never considered Kerr County takes COVID-19 seriously, but today's news release from Dub Thomas was a new low in minimizing. On a day when there were 51,000 new cases across the state, here are the nuggets we got, along with The Lead's annotations:
ACTIVE CASES PART 1
- KERR COUNTY: Although Kerr County's active cases of COVID-19 remain low this week.
- THE LEAD: No one knows how many cases there are. Even if you take Peterson's numbers, there are probably at least 150 cases.
- THE COUNTY: The infusion centers provide monoclonal antibody doses free and to all Texas who test positive for COVID-19 and have a doctor's referral.
- THE LEAD: Texas has run out of these monoclonal antibody doses, and as we've mentioned previously, they are not a substitution for vaccines, which are considered more effective, cheaper and readily available.
ACTIVE CASES PART 2
- THE COUNTY: New active cases of COVID-19 in Kerr County, as of Monday, Jan. 3, number 142, which is 12 cases fewer than the 154 reported in the county's last update on Dec. 22.
- THE LEAD: Uh, as we mentioned, these numbers from the Texas Department of State Health Services make zero sense. Ask them; they can't explain it either. Bottom line: Nobody knows what's going on.
- THE COUNTY: "Fortunately, Kerr County has not recorded another loss of a permanent county resident to the virus. Its pandemic death toll to date remains the same as it was nearly two weeks ago — at 142."
- THE LEAD: This one is a true whopper. It would be nice if the county would take the time to look at the numbers and determine when these deaths occurred. As we've exhaustively reported, the Texas Department of State Health Services hasn't counted a death at Peterson Regional Medical Center in a year. That's more than 20 deaths. We also don't understand what "permanent resident" means. When we ask, it's crickets.
BUT THERE HAD TO BE SOME GOOD THINGS IN THE COUNTY REPORT?
Yes, the part about how the monoclonal antibody drug Sotrovimab is effective against the omicron variant is absolutely on the money. The journal Nature described it as the best of the infusion therapies to help those sickened by omicron. You can read the report here: https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-021-03829-0
AH CEDAR FEVER
For many, this has been a miserable time of year; the website pollen.com tracks the cedar pollen and points out that last weekend's cold snap helped tamp the conditions down. However, pollen.com expects with warming conditions this week, especially by Wednesday, the tree pollen will be in the medium-to-high outlook. Yuck. One simple reason for the cedar fever woes — record high temperatures from Christmas to New Year's Day.
SPOTTED ON CNBC
Andrew Gay, of Texas Hill Country Advisors, spotted on CNBC Monday morning that Kerrville musician Robert Earl Keen got a shoutout during a discussion about the stock market's future. George Ball, the chairman of Houston financial firm Sanders Morris Harris, quoted Keen's "The Road Goes On Forever." In Keen's lyric: "the road goes on forever, and the party never ends." Ball said the financial boom we've been seeing would undoubtedly end at some time. CNBC host Jonathan Ferro admitted to Ball he had never heard of the song. So, here's a reminder:
SPEAKING OF FINANCES
Gay and his business partner Gilbert Paiz will be our guests on Wednesday's return episode of The Lead Live. We're back at Pint Plow starting at 9 a.m. Paiz and Gay will be giving us a rundown of some smart financial resolutions to make as we head into 2022. Here's one of Paiz's tips: create a personal balance sheet.
"So, if you start 2022 by preparing a personal balance sheet, next year at the end of 22, beginning of 23, you do the personal balance sheet and compare the two," Paiz told The Lead. "Am I making progress? And with the personal balance sheet is for those of you that maybe haven't seen our previous podcast. It's a way to measure something that we call your net worth. And your net worth is the best measure of how you're making progress and building your wealth."
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