We should focus on pandemic over everything else

Published 4:46 pm Friday, October 23, 2020

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We all recognize that we are in the midst of an election season. This realization is coming to the forefront as Election Day draws near.
Things are different this year, however. The election news has become, in a sense, secondary to the raging pandemic, which is resulting in around 1,000 American deaths per day and seemingly getting worse daily as we enter its second wave.
No, the coronavirus is not just going to go away, nor have we turned the corner on it as the leader of our nation has suggested more than once.
The news is concentrating on both the election and the pandemic. Yes, we need to take this election seriously, and by all means, vote! But, we also need to take this pandemic more seriously than what we have and are.
In Northeast Tennessee, the COVID-19 spread in the community is up 133 percent in one month. According to the Tennessee Dept. of Health, the rate of Northeast Tennesseans testing positive for COVID-19 has more than doubled in the past month.  A total of 240 new cases were recorded Thursday. New daily cases per 100,000 population – based on a 14-day rolling average – reached 35.0 in Northeast Tennessee.
Ballad Health is at its highest number of hospitalized COVID patients yet. Combined, the region’s seven-day average of new daily hospitalizations – 11.43 – is more than 50 percent above what it was Oct. 1. Within the past two weeks, Ballad Health officials say they have seen an 80 percent growth in cases.
The region wide total of 302 new cases Thursday was the fourth time in eight days the region has registered more than 300 new cases, but only the fifth time ever.
Just this week the Carter County School System announced that Cloudland Elementary School would return to virtual learning because of faculty/staff being COVID positive or on quarantine.
At Daniel Boone High School in Washington County, 128 students, and four staff members are in quarantine.
As of Thursday, the Tennessee Dept. of Health reported 19 new cases of COVID-19 in Carter County, bringing the number of active cases to 127. Over the past seven days leading up to Thursday, Carter County has averaged 148.6 tests per days with a positivity rate of 25.1.
If we aren’t concerned about the increase in cases locally, we need to be. It appears the second way – the fall surge – is beginning.
Maybe you are tired of us writing about it over and over again. If you don’t want to listen to us, listen to Dr. David Kirsch, medical director for the Northeast Tennessee Regional Health Dept.
“Those more vulnerable to contracting the disease need to exercise caution because the virus is still increasing in many of our communities right now,” he said. “If those more vulnerable to the disease go out in public and get infected, they are more likely to experience a more serious case of the disease and are more susceptible to death than their younger, healthier counterparts.”
Cavalier, flippant attitudes are going to get vulnerable people killed.
The only way this pandemic is going to go away is if we as a community begin taking it seriously – wear masks when we go out, practice social distancing, sanitize hands, avoid crowds and don’t go out when sick.

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