Today there were some positive mentions of how Oregon is doing in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic.
This should encourage Oregonians to keep on with physical distancing (better term than social distancing), as hard as this is on both people and businesses.
In the White House coronavirus briefing, Dr. Birx, the White House coronavirus coordinator, praised Oregon, Washington, and California for the good job they're doing.
I recall that she was referring to cases per 100,000 population, but that figure depends on the amount of testing each state is doing, which varies a lot.
Deaths per 100,000 population as of April 7 show that Oregon and California have a low rate of just 1 death per 100,000 population. Washington is at 5 deaths per 100,000 population, but much of that seems to be due to the deaths of 26 residents of a single long term care facility as of March 11.
Ari Melber interviewed Oregon Governor Kate Brown on his MSNBC show this afternoon. She had nice things to say about the Oregon spirit of working together that is making a difference through her Stay Home, Save Lives order.
And the projected total coronavirus deaths for Oregon has dropped significantly since I first wrote about the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) model that has become the most widely cited approach to forecasting the impact of the pandemic.
Partly this is due to changes in the model's assumptions, as more data comes in from around the world on the outbreak. However, almost certainly another factor is how well Oregonians are practicing physical distancing.
This is the current April 7 total death forecast for Oregon through August 4: 171 COVID-19 deaths.
This was the forecast as of March 30: 469 COVID-19 deaths.
In the current forecast, the 171 deaths are reached on May 25, then level off with no additional deaths through August 4. Maybe this is unduly optimistic, but we all could use a healthy dose of optimism right now.
Perhaps this points to June 1 as being a date when Gov. Brown's Stay Home, Stay Safe order could begin to be relaxed.
Until new deaths drop to zero for a week or so, it's difficult to see this happening. Deaths lag new infections by about three weeks. Thus if Oregon stops having COVID-19 deaths, that's a sign physical distancing has been working well for almost a month.
NEXT DAY UPDATE: On the 11 pm news last night there was a mention that Gov. Brown wants to see no deaths for 10 days before she starts relaxing the stay at home order.
Of course, until a vaccine is widely available, likely coronavirus outbreaks will continue to occur, so I suspect that we'll be seeing masks worn and the six feet rule followed by many Oregonians through at least the end of 2020.
But hopefully restaurants and bars can reopen considerably sooner, albeit with initial restrictions on how many people can be seated at one time.