The Vaccine May Already be Helping!
COVID-19 newly-confirmed case counts and hospitalizations are down sharply in the US. No one seems to know why. My working theory is the vaccine is having an impact earlier than it was thought.
As evidence of this, new cases are down dramatically in Israel, The UK, and the US. These countries have administered 58, 14, and 10 doses per 100 residents respectively. Case counts are not down in The EU where they have administered 3.
There's never just one way to look at the data. It's possible the EU's case counts aren't falling because they are already low. We'll know the answer to that soon.
If the vaccine is responsible for recent improvement, then one or more of the following may explain why:
1) More people have been infected with virus than the CDC's view of 25%.
2) The people who are most vulnerable to the virus have been infected at higher rates than the rest of the population.
3) The presumption that we can't fight the virus by focusing on specific populations of people is invalid.
Here's a place to look for the potentially missing infections.
This CDC page indicates that ~15% of cases in the US are asymptomatic: https://www.cdc.gov/.../2019-ncov/cases-updates/burden.html
This paper (December 2020) from a study conducted in The UK indicates the number of asymptomatic cases ranged from 45% - 65%: https://www.thelancet.com/.../PIIS2468-2667(20.../fulltext
That's quite a disconnect. It is reasonable to have expected these sort of analytical gaps to have been narrowed by now.
Like everyone, I'm still concerned about the potential impact of the increasing number of COVID-19 variants; but for now the trends here are positive.