Thank you for allowing me to spam your timelines with my daily COVID report – I hope it helped you in some way – but now it’s time to focus on all the other good things.
Johannesburg, South Africa (03 January 2022) – It’s been exactly 581 days since I first started publishing the Good Things Guy COVID number breakdown, but it’s time for the daily report to retire.
I have spent over 500 hours capturing data, creating graphs, generating infographics and highlighting the numbers I believed were “important”.
My aim? To share the data that I believed mattered: Active Cases and Recoveries. And ultimately to help the Good Things Guy readers navigate the “noise”.
For some reason, the government and mainstream media were focusing on the “total positive cases” number, which when reported sounded like millions of people were sick and being hospitalised. It was (and still is) massively disconcerting how we weren’t looking at the numbers that mattered, like who is actually positive RIGHT NOW, and more importantly, who was being hospitalised.
Well, come rain or shine, hangovers or I don’t feel like it days, I have reported on the stats for 19 months now, and it’s been quite a journey.
I have had random people throw their anger at me because they didn’t like the numbers that day, I had people argue with me “for being wrong” when their maths wasn’t too right, to begin with, I have even had death threats thrown my way because people called me pro-lockdown or something along those lines (still not sure what that means or why they were targeting me with their fears and bizarre ideas)… but none of that mattered. Not a single negative response deterred me, and I have continued delivering these important stats.
Why? Because above everything else, I have received the most amount of love and kindness for helping other people navigate the “noise” of the pandemic. And that’s all that matters.
But why am I stopping?
An article recently published by the Guardian stated that some infectious disease experts and public health officials are questioning whether to continue using the number of coronavirus cases as a metric for determining which mitigation efforts are appropriate, as data suggests Omicron is less severe but much more contagious than previous variants.
Those experts argue that the US has reached a stage in the pandemic where reports of dramatic surges in case counts prompt unnecessary worries and that government officials and the public should instead review death and hospitalization data when considering precautions. Case counts “are causing a lot of panic and fear, but they don’t reflect what they used to, which was that hospitalizations would track with cases”, said Dr Monica Gandhi, an infectious disease specialist and professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco.
“It seems to be less virulent for two reasons,” said Gandhi. “One, we seem to have so much more immunity in December 2021” than during previous waves, and “there are now five laboratory studies that show that it doesn’t seem to infect lungs very well”.
In reporting data on Covid, health departments should now take the same approach as they do with influenza, Gandhi said. That means releasing hospitalisation and death data but not numbers concerning case counts because, like with the flu, it’s not possible to eliminate the virus; therefore, we should only focus on its severity, she said.
“Once you have accepted the virus is endemic, just like influenza, then you never track cases because we never screen like this for any other viruses, we track what is causing disease and getting people hospitalized,” Gandhi said.
It’s been a bizarre two years and traumatic for so many… we have lost our sense of normality, our incomes, businesses and loved ones. We are all dealing with the “most” but what I’ve realised is that we all just want this to end. We’re all just trying to find our way through this.
The narrative about whether or not to report on numbers may be an American conversation, but it is no different for South Africa as the case counts continue to cause a lot of panic and fear here too, when they really shouldn’t.
- COVID has mutated and become less severe.
- The death rate is much lower than any of the other waves (like MUCH lower).
- Our hospitalisations are not even close to what they were before. In fact, they are half of what they were in the third wave, and most COVID patients are being treated for mild symptoms.
- The majority of people who are getting the new variant, hardly get sick. And this is a global trend.
The people who wanted to get vaccinated have (and there are over 15 million of them in South Africa), we now have over 3 million South Africans with some form of immunity (as they have recovered), we have learnt to keep some distance, to wash our hands, sanitise and try to think of others who may be immune-compromised.
I think we could all use a little less panic and fear right now. And by retiring the daily report, I feel like I am doing just that, lessening the panic and fear in South Africa.
My hope is that we are nearing the end of the pandemic. My hope is that 2022 will be better than the last two years. And my hope is that we all find our way through this, not only surviving what we have been through but thriving from it. Thank you for allowing me to spam your timelines with my daily COVID report – I hope it helped you in some way – but now it’s time to focus on all the other good things.
It was Nelson Mandela who said, “may your choices reflect your hopes, not your fears”… so let’s do that.