The best estimates we have on data:
We hit peak last Friday, and we should begin to see decreases in the number of cases.
How will we track numbers?
We are at about 458 deaths in Virginia. The estimates are about 750 total deaths in Virginia moving forward, which is down about 25% of what the initial estimates were.
We have been doing tests, we have done 80,000 tests so far. Those tests are coming back positive 20% of the time or less. On the VDH website, 80,180 people have been tested, and the total number of positive tests is 13,535. If the denominator is who we have tested, that is not a reflection of the prevalence of the illness in Virginia because there are a lot of people who haven’t been tested and who are positive. As we have access to more swabs and can do more tests, we might discover more people who are positive, but that does not speak to how we are fighting this.
When we talk about what numbers inform us as we go forward in handling this crisis, the #1 formula we are using is gauging how many hospital beds we need, how many ICU beds we need, and how many ventilators we need. Right now, we have capacity to handle the volume of patients that are in the hospital. For me, the most important factors include how many people are hospitalized, how many people need ICU beds, how many people need ventilators, and how many people are dying. You can find this information on the VHHA website HERE.
Going forward, I hope we can agree on what data points we need to follow to know that we are ready to get back into work and still have hospital capacity to meet the need. I feel strongly that a lot of precautions will need to be taken, such as staying in groups of less than 10, and wearing masks to prevent the spread.
How do we use widespread antibody testing?
I don’t know the best algorithm to use for that. I think that will be valuable for being able to know where they stand on antibodies. I don’t know how to use that information to help us get back to work. Even if you are antibody positive, we should still be using universal protections.
Can you speak to what was recently said about reaching phase 1 taking two years?
That statement was retracted. A vaccine may take 18 months to 2 years in a normal situation. But we will likely see a fast track for a lot of vaccinations, and I am hopeful we will see a vaccination this winter.
What about schools?
I think it is necessary for kids to go back to school. I think we can find a way to have kids go back to school safely. However, I am not creating the plans. I am only interpreting the data that’s been given, and I will challenge the plan if it isn’t justifiable. I feel strongly that kids should go back to school because we were not prepared for this, so kids are missing out on education. My goal is still to have kids go back to school when that comes around. However, there is still a lot of information to be gathered before that.
Question 4: Will restrictions on groups of more than 10 be lifted on May 8th?
I can’t imagine that those restrictions will be lifted because as we move into phase 1, those guidelines still require small groups.
If antibody tests at Canterbury are accurate, and 6 out of 10 employees were positive, how can we trust the test and is it more widespread than we thought?
I don’t know if antibody tests were used at Canterbury. The information I had was that 60% of those tested were asymptomatic positive. I believe it is far more widespread than we think, and a lot of people are out there that have had it.
When are we going to know how long the antibodies will protect you?
That is something we will learn over time. Like vaccinations, sometimes a booster is needed. Antibodies presumably protect you, but it isn’t impossible that you’ll never get it again.
I’ll have more information for you by Wednesday. Don’t forget to look at the information on my website HERE. Don’t forget the biggest fear right now is food insecurity, and please look for ways to get involved and help.