U.S. Pandemic Trends Since the November Election

February 23, 2021

February 22nd used to be a national holiday celebrating the birth of George Washington in 1732, but it was a solemn occasion in America this year, as the number of identified U.S. deaths from Covid-19 surpassed half a million people. That’s greater than the number of combined U.S. deaths from World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War, and it’s all transpired in a single year. This milestone seems an apt time to reflect onĀ  U.S. cases and deaths from Covid since the November election.

The earliest confirmed U.S. death from Covid occurred in early February 2020. The election on November 3rd was held nine months later at which point cases and deaths in the United States totaled around 9.5 million and 230,000, respectively. The final eleven weeks of the Trump presidency ensued and has been followed by the first five weeks of Biden’s presidential stewardship. Although Biden captured a substantial share of the popular vote, the margin of victory on the state-by-state winner-take-all archaic system by which U.S. presidential elections are decided was quite close in 2020 as such had been too in 2016. It’s fair to argue that the botched handling of the pandemic by President Trump was the catalytic factor that decided the presidential race.

The difference maker on November 3rd was people’s desperation to get America past the pandemic and despair that doing so required new leadership in America that would rely on science rather than faith that the crisis given time would run out of momentum and just disappear. U.S. case and death data underscore that the most authentic act of voter faith was the belief of those concluding that since measures against the pandemic hadn’t worked in eight months, it would be imperative to try a new and more hands-on approach.

In early November, the U.S. was experiencing its third pandemic wave and the most severe one of the three. On Election Day about 126k cases and 1,650 deaths were reported. During the eleven weeks of transition between the Trump and Biden Administrations, Donald Trump was consumed with a frantic effort to sell to the public and in the courts an alternative and discredited narrative of massive fraud that stole the election from him. While so preoccupied, the cumulative number of total U.S. cases since the start of the pandemic soared about 2.5-fold to over 24 million, and around 1.7 thousand more deaths resulted. Put differently, whereas the daily count of deaths and cases on Election Day had been about 1,650 and 126k, as noted above, those daily figures had spiraled upward to almost 2,900 and 182k.

Fast forward just another five weeks to yesterday, and one sees that the daily death count has been roughly halved to 1,450. Also, the daily total of new cases, some 59,460, has cratered by 67%. The third wave already has flattened much more sharply and more completely than happened after each of the first two waves. Abstracting from all other factors that were in play during the 2020 presidential election, enough people voted as if their lives depended on getting new leadership to handle the pandemic. Five weeks into the Biden Presidency, the data suggest that they were correct to frame the 2020 election as a matter of life or death.

Copyright 2021, Larry Greenberg. All rights reserved. no secondary distribution without express permission.

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