Thursday, May 13, 2021
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Did Elections Contribute To Covid Surge?

Courtesy: https://twitter.com/RajeevJayadevan/status/1388914045164560386

Did elections contribute to the COVID-19 surge? We are always tempted to say yes. I decided to do a comparison. Surprisingly, the graphs I obtained from election & non election states are near-identical. This suggests that the wave is a seasonal surge in a geographic region.

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The two images represent election states (where big outdoor gatherings occurred) on the right, and comparable non election states on the left. I have included two sets of pictures. The names of the states are on the graph. If you compare the timelines, it is near-identical.

The question is whether the surge would have occurred anyway, by pattern, and maybe the large election rallies amplified it to an extent. This virus behaves in a wave-like pattern in most nations. The reason for the steep upward slope is exponential increase.

Exponential curves are gentle at first, when numbers are small. As they increase by geometric progression, the time taken for a large number to double is the same as for a small number to double. Hence it turns steep after a long and gentle rise.

As the surge breaks, the downtrend that follows also is exponential. That is an exponential DECLINE. After the peak, the transmission apparently stops suddenly; the graph shows a steep downward slope (reason is unclear: definitely not “herd immunity”, weather or lockdown)

The same pattern is seen in multiple nations and might reflect the behaviour of the virus in a region. Human intervention is not enough to explain the sudden drop, as not all nations have done the same measures such as “lockdowns”. See my graph below that compares 6 nations.

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I am writing this thread just to show that our understanding of repeating waves of the pandemic are far from perfect. Why the virus only “hangs around” in a region only for about 3.5-4 months, and returns 2-3 times a year is a mystery.

Solving this mystery might give us the key to outwit the virus & the pandemic. e.g. Do a swarm of viruses have an genetic activation key that turns itself off at a particular time point? Do they reactivate themselves into hyper mode after a period of quiet endemic spread?

Finding solutions requires out-of-the-box thinking. My instinct is that there is something very important about viral behaviour that we are missing altogether. It might be the elephant in the room.

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