The week in numbers: 118% ICU capacity in Miami-Dade County, 100% antibody results in vaccine trial

Over the past week, uplifting news of COVID-19 vaccine developments on Tuesday was deflated by reports of overcrowded ICUs in Florida by Friday as cases surge in the state.

Georgia Tech launched a COVID-19 Event Risk Assessment Planning Tool, which highlighted the risk of encountering a person infected with COVID-19 at events of different sizes in counties across the United States.

And while the United States still leads the world in overall COVID-19 cases, one South Asian country crossed an unfortunate COVID-19 case milestone, news outlets reported on Friday.

Here is a look at the week in numbers:

1,000,000

That’s the most recent milestone number of confirmed COVID-19 cases crossed by India, the Associated Press reported on July 17.

The nation is now one of only three countries who hold COVID-19 counts above the 1 million mark, the other two being the United States (over 3.6 million) and Brazil (over 2 million), according to Johns Hopkins University.

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The country imposed a nationwide lockdown in March to address the growing pandemic, but rising case counts prompted renewed restrictions. 

While cases have been primarily centralized in the states of Maharashtra, Delhi and Tamil Nadu, the Associated Press reported that rural parts of the country with less robust health care options are also experiencing rising case counts.

45

That’s the number of participants in a recent vaccine trial who developed COVID-19 antibodies, according to the Associated Press.

While 45 may sound like a small number, it’s the total amount of people who participated in the March vaccine trial from Moderna and the National Institutes of Health Sciences, a welcome sign that the vaccine candidate can provide protection against the novel coronavirus.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s leading expert on the COVID-19 pandemic and a person unafraid of speaking harsh truths regarding the development and severity of the pandemic, told AP that “no matter how you slice it, this is good news.”

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Despite the positive vaccine development, there are still larger concerns on efficacy of a widespread COVID-19 vaccine, due to individuals who may not take it, such as anti-vaxxers. 

That’s one of the reasons why we have to make sure we engage the community as we’re doing now,” Fauci said in a June CNN interview. “To get community people to help us, for people to understand that we are doing everything we can to show that it’s safe and that it’s effective, and it’s for the good of them as individuals and in society to take the vaccine.”

The next step for the vaccine is a 30,000 person trial slated to begin later in July. As of July 17, there are four vaccine canddiates in the large scale efficacy test phase and 11 that have entered expanded safety trials, according to the New York Times.

99

That’s the percentage of likelihood that there will be at least one person with COVID-19 at an event with 100 people in Clark County, Nevada on July 17.

If that location, date, risk level or amount sounds oddly specific, that’s because it’s just one of the many risky hypothetical group gathering scenarios that people can explore using the COVID-19 Event Risk Assessment Planning Tool from Georgia Tech and Applied BioInformatics.

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The tool enables users to explore their risk of encountering at least one person with COVID-19 at events ranging from 10 to 10,000 individuals. In New York City, for example, the risk level for encountering someone with COVID-19 at a 100-person event on July 17 was 42%. For gatherings of 500 or more, that risk level for counties in the U.S. is generally above 99%.

The issue of understanding risks associated with gatherings is even more relevant as many kinds of businesses, including sports and universities, are considering how to re-open safely,” said Joshua Weitz, a professor in the School of Biological Sciences and founding director of Georgia Tech’s Ph.D. in Quantitative Biosciences program, who helped develop the tool.

118.91

That’s the percentage of ICU bed capacity for Miami-Dade County in Florida reported on July 17.

Florida has become a major COVID-19 hotspot in recent weeks, with repeating concern that hospitals in the state were running out of ICU beds due to rising COVID-19 cases. The state was among the earliest to reopen in May and captured national attention for breaking records for new daily confirmed COVID-19 case count. One doctor called Miami the new ‘epicenter’ of the pandemic.

The issues experienced in Florida reflect a larger concern that as case counts surge, the health care system will become overwhelmed. 

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Some health professionals, though, say that they’re more worried about staffing numbers than bed availability. FOX 13 Tampa reported on doctors at Sarasota Memorial and Manatee Memorial hospitals who expressed concerns over staffing.

"It is a concern of overwhelming the system. We have 100 ventilators. We’ve got the capacity to significantly increase the ICU beds. And the question is, what staff do we have," said Dr. Kirk Voelker, the critical care specialist at SMH. 

14,000,000

That’s the global COVID-19 case count milestone that was crossed on July 17, according to data from the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center. As of July 17, there were more than 600,000 COVID-19 deaths were across the world. 

On Monday, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of the World Health Organization "(WHO), said that too many countries "are headed in the wrong direction" with their pandemic response.

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"If governments do not clearly communicate with their citizens and roll out a comprehensive strategy focused on suppressing transmission and saving lives," he said on Monday. "Every single leader, every single government and every single person can do their bit to break chains of transmission and end the collective suffering."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.