Approve the vaccine for our kids. Delta is omnipresent, leadership is not only lacking, its counterproductive. Louisiana spikes for the 4th time and hits unprecedented levels of cases.

As some of you may know, in the early days of COVID monitoring, I posted on the worst counties in America. This measures how widespread COVID is impacting counties across America. i.e. not just looking at one or two large cities – but considering if the impact is more widely felt.

Criteria for the list is those counties with more than 100,000 population – and with new cases greater than 200 per million per day. In September 2020 we had managed to get the list down to 75; by Nov 2020 it was around 400; now in August 2021 we are back to 465.

Digest that for a moment. 465 large counties across America have elevated rates of covid transmission. Texas for example has 39 counties meeting the criteria above; Florida 36; California 34. (Tennessee has 13)

Now – some may argue that many are vaccinated; we are in a new wave where more infections doesn’t necessarily mean as many fatalities in the past. Well lets look at those counties with the highest current fatality rates:

Counties with highest current fatality rates:

StateCounty New Cases per million  New Fatalities per million County Pop
LouisianaEast Baton Rouge87013440,059
North CarolinaRobeson85713130,625
South CarolinaPickens96212126,884
LouisianaSt. Tammany125211260,419
North CarolinaGaston61510224,529
North CarolinaMoore61510100,880
South CarolinaLexington95710298,750
28 counties with the highest current fatality rates

Here’s a geographic map by state:

Mississippi and Louisiana are literally off the charts. Current per capital fatality rates in those states are almost 10x that of many other states.

Here’s the data in table form.

Louisiana – how not to handle COVID – worse than ever

The level of cases in Louisina is at unprecedented levels. Only in the very first wave (April 2020) did the fatality rate peak (13.9 deaths per million per day) – but current levels are very close to exceeding that level (12.2).

Here’s an easier to see monthly trend:

Monthly deaths peaked in April 2020 – at 1,665 – and came close to that level again in January 2021 (1,371). So far in August we are at ~900 – and likely to exceed 1200 by the end of the month.

If there was any reason not to have faith that we as a society will do whatever is necessary to protect our own self interest then Louisiana is the case in point.

As an example, East Baton Rouge has had 65 deaths so far this month in a population of 440,000. For more on Baton Rouge click here.

Little wonder the overall US fatality rate is rising

So far this month almost 13,000 people have died from COVID; that’s sharply up from 8,400 recorded last month. Average deaths are now 800 per day.

Its no wonder that the US is preparing to encourage booster shots. The current accelerating rate of infections and increased transmissibility of Delta – mean that case numbers are almost certain to increase significantly in the short term. Faced with news that the vaccine potency reduces over time; stepping forward with a wave of boosters – especially for the vulnerable populations is especially important.

If the US follows the same path as last year (through the traditional holiday period); its very likely COVID will still be around in Jan 2022.

Given the experience of Louisiana – is it even wise to hope for the best….far better to plan for the worse – and to assume we’re living with this thing next year. Under that assumption – its critical to approve the release of vaccine for our children.

If Governors of Texas and Tennessee can issue decrees banning the use of face masks in schools; on the grounds that parents have their own kids best interests at heart; then provide us parents with the tools to protect our children. At this point, many states (those in RED on the charts above) have proven they have lacked the ability to manage this crisis.

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