No, COVID is not over, there are new cases every day

Published 1:56 pm Friday, February 11, 2022

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As much as you want to believe it, COVID is not over. Every day, there are new cases. The Tennessee Department of Health now only reports cases on a weekly basis — each Wednesday. This past Wednesday, the department reported Carter County had 755 cases for the seven-day period from Jan. 30 to Feb. 5 for a daily case rate of 191.3.
The department reported the positivity rate for Carter County over the seven-day period at 45.5 percent. The total deaths claimed by COVID thus far in Carter County has been 295.
However, people act as if COVID is over. There is little masking at big box stores, very little social distancing, and yes, there is coughing, sniffling, and sneezing. And, if you listen to the evening news, some states are removing mask mandates and doing away with COVID safety protocols despite the fact that people are testing positive every day for COVID.
Worldwide, many people still have not been vaccinated. That means the prospect for the next Omicron-type variant getting here is far from zero. A new variant has been detected in Africa and in time you can bet your dollar, it will be here in the states.
Many people have given up on COVID. Not all, but many. A lot of people in relatively compliant Elizabethton are completely exhausted, tired of COVID, tired of conversations about COVID, tired of fights about masking, of restrictions, and of constant reminders to get fully vaccinated.
Why? Partly lousy messaging from politicians and public health authorities. People don’t believe that the virus can be contained. So some say, Why bother? Moreover, they keep hearing Omicron is mild. Again, why bother? There are good reasons for hope. There is some evidence, scientific and anecdotal, that the Omicron variant is starting to wane. New antiviral pills are showing promise in treating people infected with COVID.
Still, it is too soon to simply give up. The No. 1 thing to do is get vaccinated — three doses, and four if you are in a high-risk category. Vaccination with three shots has been shown to reduce your risk of death by more than 94 percent! Whatever you see on the internet questioning vaccine safety, that 94 percent ought to be the final word on what to do.
What else? Keep testing. If you are able to get COVID tests, use them. If you are positive, stay home. Also, if you are positive, you need to call a doctor to see if you need antibodies or antivirals.
If you work in high-risk settings, keep masking and try to avoid poorly ventilated, crowded spaces.
Yes, we all are tired of COVID. But, it isn’t yet time to surrender to COVID just because we are tired of avoiding it. Not when it is easy to do simple things that lower your risk of death. How long will this go on? Who knows? But just because we see many deaths from viral infections doesn’t mean we shouldn’t keep trying to reduce them.

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