Over a year ago I began making graphs related to the COVID-19 epidemic. It’s not controversial to identify the most basic number to tell the story: how many new cases each day, per capita? Medical personell tend to express this as cases per day per hundred thousand population, but I prefer to use cases per day per million population. Call me quirky.
I (like many before and since) decided to color-code some of my graphs, with “red” reserved for the most severe outbreaks — so many new cases each day that it will strain the health care system in a week or less, and before too long will crush it, while filling up the morgue to overflowing. I did a little research (translation: looked around on the internet, not peer-reviewed research, but at least I used “reliable” sources like Johns Hopkins Univ. School of Public Health) and concluded that since the so-called “experts” seemed to think that was 25 cases/day/100,000 people, that’s what I’d use — but I’d call it 250 cases/day/million population. Call me quirky.
Here’s today’s map for the states of the USA:
Only 8 of 50 states are below the “critical” level.Some are so bad, and have been so for so long, that people are rebelling — especially since the number of children afflicted and killed by this disease is startling. Folks in Florida have nicknamed their leading anti-mask-mandate politician as “governor Deathsantis.” In Texas, a middle school closed until after labor day after not one, but two of their teachers died in a single week from COVID-19.
For a while I thought I was lucky because I live in Maine. As of today, we have the 5th-lowest infection rate in the nation (average over the last week); we’re one of those 8 under-critical states. But — we’re knocking on the door at 235 cases/day/million population, and lately I’ve heard from people in the health care industry that the local system is under severe strain, the kind you get from those uber-critical levels.
I was lulled into false security by not looking more closely. I live in Penobscot county, Maine, and the levels here are much higher: the average for the last week is 444 cases/day/million population.
The other startling statistic in all this, is that the infections and deaths are mostly among the un-vaccinated. Yes, there are “breakthrough” cases of vaccinated people getting COVID-19, but they’re comparatively rare and clearly milder too. Fewer cases, fewer ICU beds needed, far fewer deaths. So now, the health care workers, so overworked for so long, with neither the thanks nor the pay they deserve, who have done so much for so long with so little, have to deal with another severe outbreak.
If we had taken our medicine and worn our masks, we would be DONE with this disease. It would be an unpleasant memory, not a present crisis. Anti-vaxxers, anti-maskers, IT’S YOUR FAULT.
Teachers across the country are scared, especially in states like Florida and Texas and Georgia and others who don’t even want local school boards to protect kids in school with mask mandates. When I hear people object to covering up “God’s perfect breathing system,” I suspect that “God’s perfect thinking system” isn’t so perfect.
If we had taken our medicine and worn our masks, we would be DONE with this disease. It would be an unpleasant memory, not a present crisis.
ANTI-VAXXERS, ANTI-MAKERS, IT’S YOUR FAULT.
This blog is made possible by readers like you; join others by donating at My Wee Dragon.