We’re Tired of COVID-19, But Staggering New Infections; Should Be Warning to Keep Safeguards and Get Vaccinated
Another article on COVID-19 – ah, heard it all, tired of hearing about it, many Americans might say. COVID fatigue is now an understatement; people just don’t seem to care enough, anymore. Hardly anyone is talking about it as last year, especially since vaccines are already available.
To many journalists, too, writing about the pandemic is exhausting. But here is the raw truth, the pandemic is far from over in the US and ignoring COVID, engaging in risky behavior and travelling have proven to be catastrophic of late.
The Christmas and New Year’s celebrations spiked COVID to staggering numbers.In the last, two-and-a-half months, contraction of COVID accounts for a whopping 60 percent of all cases since the deadly virus touched ground in the US last late January.
As of January 18, 2021 the US has 24,073,555 million cases and a staggering 398,977 deaths, according to the Johns Hopkins University Center for Systems Science and Engineering.
In California where many Hawaii locals have family is experiencing a frightening outbreak. It is the only state to surpass the 3 million mark. Los Angeles is now the nation’s new COVID epicenter with a grim 1 million total cases in that county alone. Hospitals are in an overcapacity crisis. Patients are being treated in hallways. The numbers of infections and deaths to COVID placed in the context by the minute perhaps is more terrifying. In LA County, 10 people on average test positive for the coronavirus every minute. Every six minutes, someone dies from COVID-19, reports LA county public health.
Why Hawaii residents should be concerned. Of all the states, California is most frequently visited among Hawaii locals. California residents are also among the top visitors to Hawaii.
COVID cases are rising in nearly ever state and deaths are consistently topping 4,000 a day, that’s about 120,000 deaths a month.
In Hawaii, the number of new cases in the past 14 days is 2,232, averaging about 130 new cases a day, according to Hawaii’s Health Department.
COVID-19 Variants, Higher Risks
By now most are aware of two COVID variants, the UK origin and South African origin. Back to California, the UK origin is already said to be spreading there.
Both variants are known to have higher rates of contraction by 50 to 70% from the original strain. At this time, researchers say there is no evidence that either variant causes more severe illness or increased risk of death. Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases said the UK variant will become the dominant strain in US by March 2021. Already it is found in 30 percent of states. This means higher rates of contractions are expected even as the winter surge is projected to subside.
And there is yet another variant emerging in Brazil, a third variant that researchers say looks closer to the South African variant.
The good news is that all variants to date are believed to be controlled by current vaccines available. But the bad news, researchers say, the longer in duration and more widespread COVID-19 and its variants are, the greater chances for further mutations to occur that could possibly require new forms of vaccination not yet created.
Should that happen, the current projections of returning to normalcy at the end of this year with existing vaccinations could be extended to who knows how long.
Latest Update on Biden’s COVID-19 plan
To assist with the rollout problems states are encountering, President Joe Biden is proposing to more than double the nation’s current investment in vaccination to $20 billion that will also go toward better partnering with states and counties to create vaccination sites.
Biden plans to invoke the Defense Production Act (something Trump refused to do) that will help to boost vaccine supply and launch a new 100,000-person public health force to assist with deployment.
Have Patience, Continue Safe Practices, Get Vaccinated
It will take teamwork, community awareness and cooperation for all of us to find our way out of the woods. Public health officials say a typical profile of new COVID-19 cases is someone who underestimated the possibility of getting the virus, have grown tired of COVID safeguards, and engaged in riskier behavior they wouldn’t have in the early days of the pandemic, such as traveling and attending gatherings.
The staggering spike is a result of behavioral practices; most likely attributed to impatience and a false sense of security over available vaccines before actually getting vaccinated. The general public must remember that 90%-plus immunity to the virus only kicks in after days from receiving the second shot for either of the available vaccines. Millions of Americans haven’t even received their first shots.
Especially as new variants of COVID-19 spread, it’s even more imperative that we all practice safeguards. And when the vaccine becomes available to you, you should get vaccinated.