calendar December 10, 2021 in Public Health

What Is Going On With COVID Right Now?

New COVID infections are rising sharply across the Southeastern Pennsylvania Synod’s five counties, with new case rates between 34.2 and 44.2 new cases per 100,000 residents.

Infection rates continue to be high, ranging from 1.12 to 1.24. A rate of 1.24, for example, means that for each 100 infected persons the disease is spreading to 124 people, a sign of increased growth to come. At the same time the percentage of the population fullyvaccinated hovers just below 60% except in Chester County (63.1%).

Click to enlarge.


The CDC reports that 99.9% of current infections are due to the highly transmissible delta variant. While the newly identified omicron variant appears more infectious, it is too soon to definitively say whether it will evade the protections of vaccines and previous infection.

In his Dec.9 podcast, Dr. Michael Osterholm notes that delta cases and hospitalizations are surging in the Northeast, including Pennsylvania. Deaths are ticking up as well. At the current rate, 38,000 individuals would die in the course of a month. Initial and tentative information about the omicron variant: Omicron is approximately four times as transmissible as delta. Omicron may be the dominant variant in the US by Christmas. Early indications are that disease may be less severe than delta; it will take 1-2 more weeks for better data. The third dose of the mRNA vaccines and second doses of J&J are critical, Osterholm says. Individuals with one or two doses are more vulnerable to breakthrough infections.