Some Thoughts on the Pandemic

Every day, I check the data for Covid New Cases and Covid Deaths comparing New York and Texas.

Why these two states? I live in New York, and, since March of 2021, Texas governor Greg Abbott has taken a diametrically opposed approach to New York's. New York has taken a very health conscious approach, with closings, required or encouragement of mask wearing and social distancing, and highly encouraging vaccines, Abbott and Texas have consciously tried to minimize any inconvenience encouraging business as usual, with no requirements for social distancing, no closures, prohibitions against mask requirements, and no strong incentives or encouragement for vaccinations.

Did it make a difference?

New Cases

Cavid Cases August 2021


Covid Deaths Aug 2021

Understand that Texas has about 30% more people than New York does, and also that the scales for the graphs that I’ve been able to obtain are different, so while the graphs show total cases, in this discussion, we will compare cases based on comparable populations.

Interestingly, in March and April, Texas actually showed about 20-30% fewer new cases and deaths than New York did. You can see in the New cases charts below that New York had a third peak in April.

In May and June, New York and Texas were comparable.

In July and August, Texas has been 2 to 5 times higher than New York. July and August are when the new Delta variant became dominant in the US. Currently the 7-day average for deaths in Texas is 108, which would be the equivalent of about 75 deaths in New York; but New York's average is 19. While 108 deaths may not seem much for a state with 29 million people, that’s over 39,000 deaths a year, while heart disease kills 45,000 people a year, cancer 41,000, and strokes are third with 11,000. On average, 168,000 Texans die a year, so 39,000 is a pretty significant number.

If Texas adopted NY-style policies, then, instead of 39,000 deaths due to Covid, there would be about 10,000.

So, it looks like Texas’s policies should result in roughly 29,000 preventable Covid deaths. If I were Governor Abbott, I’d switch to requiring masks indoors in public places (like schools), encouraging vaccinations and frequent testing, and maintaining social distancing.

Good job New York.

June 11, 2024

May 07, 2024

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December 19, 2023

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December 07, 2023

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