by Elpidio R. Estioko
As the Russia-Ukraine war aggressively nears its 200-day, the war against the COVID-19 is also surging!
The latter’s war seemed to have been overlooked when the Ukraine-Russia war erupted. As such, people were just surprised when suddenly there was a surge of the pandemic in some states without us noticing it.
People thought it was over! Well, it’s not over yet, so we need to address it… just like before, with added precaution.
According to NBC News, the following states saw prolonged or dramatic case increases around the country: Alaska Arizona Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Guam, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina; North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, and Wyoming.
The report also named the states where cases are not rising: Alabama, California, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota. New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, US Virgin Islands, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia and Wisconsin.
While California has been reported to be not surging, there are some isolated cases I know happening in a school in the Bay Area where 44 students were quarantined and about 32 staff were likewise quarantined because they have shown symptoms or are already positive. This may not have been contained in the report or must have been overlooked in tracking the surge. I just hope this is an isolated case, but we need to address it just the same.
With Hawaii, it was not reported as surging, but we should not be complacent because the virus, just like the thief in the night, can strike any time.
In a related report by WebMD Health News: “Rising COVID-19 case numbers and hospitalizations likely mean we’re in a new phase of the pandemic. And the number of Americans dying from COVID-19 is also anticipated to grow, although the surge in the short term is not expected to look like previous waves.”
While states are surging, the team of experts from Johns Hopkins University told reporters that it’s not as severe as before. “In the short term, this new surge is not expected to be as severe as previous waves. But, they said, that all could change,” the report confirmed.
David Dowdy, MD, PhD, associate professor at Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, during the briefing said that “Cases rose threefold in the last several weeks compared to a 25% increase in hospitalizations due to COVID-19.”
He added: “COVID-19 still kills an average of 300 Americans per day, so we’re not done with the pandemic yet. People are still dying of COVID and we can’t rule out the possibility of a major wave in the coming months.”
While Dowdy said the average case of COVID-19 is getting milder over time, he said: “What this means is that for people who are still unvaccinated, don’t have that immunity built up, or who have weakened immune systems, this virus is still a very dangerous and deadly one.”
Exposure to the virus, sometimes people in the same household experience the pandemic differently, ranging from not getting sick to mild or even severe disease. This is a rare incident but we need to be aware of it so we can be ready for it.
“There can be many reasons for such differences,” Priya Duggal, PhD, MPH, professor of epidemiology at the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, said during the briefing. “Differences in exposures, immune responses, preexisting conditions, and how well a home is ventilated can all play a role. A person’s general health can also determine how well they fight off infections.”
Will there be a summer surge? Dowdy said, “It’s important for us to realize that in some ways we are already in the midst of a surge.” Apparently, there is a possibility that during the summer season, we may have to contend with the original preventive measures like wearing masks, isolation and social distancing.
This is concerning because Dowdy even said “there are indicators that the level of coronavirus transmission in the U.S. now is about the same as we experienced during the Delta wave and almost as high as the surge during the first winter of the pandemic.”
Well, this is scary, so we need to have extra care in our daily life and be cautious of what we do.
“So we are seeing a surge. Whether that’s going to require us to go back to the more restrictive policies, I think, still remains to be seen,” Dowdy said.
We should not be complacent. We need to put in more efforts, as we used to do, during the past two years. This is not the time to relax. We need to equally devote some time in addressing the war, not only in the Ukraine-Russia war, but also the war vs the COVID-19 pandemic!
The fight versus the virus is still on. Let’s combat the virus and win the war. Don’t panic but don’t be complacent too! We will win this war!
ELPIDIO R. ESTIOKO was a veteran journalist in the Philippines and a multi-awarded journalist here in the US. For feedbacks, comments… please email the author at firstname.lastname@example.org.
by Elpidio R. Estioko