Quarantine Diaries – Week 78

Let’s get right to it. I don’t have pics for this week, so I’m going to sprinkle this post with lots of cute kitten photos instead. Heh. This week’s numbers:

  • Cases: 295,953 (+8,542)
  • Deaths: 4,017 (+81)
  • Seven-day rolling average: 983 (-295/day)
  • Positivity rate: 7.6% (-3%)
  • Cases per 100k: 51 (-10)
  • Hospitalizations: 1,159 patients including 365 in ICU
  • Vaccinations: 1,435,702 first dose (86% of eligible population, 72% total); 1,162,982 fully vaxxed (70% of eligible, 58% total)
  • Our school: 1** student; cumulative school-year total: 4 students, 6 staff

**This was clarified for us this week: We will only get a notice if there is a case in our student’s class or activity. So all the numbers I’m reporting here are people my son took classes or other activities with. Great!

I’m going to be honest – I’m terrified of what’s coming. Maybe I’m just paranoid, but I feel like we’re in the eye of the storm, so to speak. Number-wise, things are improving on almost all fronts. In fact, the city downgraded our community from “severe (stable)” to “moderate (improving).” However, when you look at what’s happening in the school systems, this is what you see. The week of August 18th, there were 173 self-reported positive cases. The next week, that was up to 5,167; the next was 18,111; and the next was 27,033. A total of over 50K cases in schools, and that’s only self-reported, which is under-reported. I can’t tell you how much is in our county alone because I believe those are statewide numbers, but either way, those are insane jumps from week to week, and those kids and staff members are then spreading the virus at home. It feels like things are just going to get worse at some point, when we reach some kind of apex. I don’t know.

Already, schools are in rough shape. I mentioned a few that closed down last week, or extended the holiday weekend, or canceled sporting events. Another nearby closed an elementary school this week, and another voted to have a mask mandate after they had nearly 800 students out of school in quarantine (with 200+ active cases, nearly all from students). At one school just north of the city, every single kindergarten teacher tested positive, and a 3rd grade teacher is in the hospital. The school didn’t even notify the parents – they found out from each other, and then the story broke in the news. All those five- and six-year-old kids, exposed from their teachers, and no one even told the parents. This is what they’re calling “freedom.”

Speaking of which, some crazy lady began following Judge Wolf around with a camera as he was leaving HEB this week, shouting that he was a traitor and a communist because he puts masks on children (clearly the woman has no idea what a communist is), won’t allow “freedom,” and says that she follows true science, which isn’t paid for by money (um, what kind of “science” doesn’t require money? Science is expensive, y’all!). She yelled about how he was a devil worshipper and paid off in bribes and the election was rigged and soon he’ll be locked up in jail and hanged like at the “Nirenberg” trials (that’s the mayor’s last name, but it wasn’t meant to be a pun, she just flubbed the name of the Nuremberg Trials – and I’m SURE the “connection” of the names has been made in crazytown circles). It was f–king insane. She’s so deep into q-anon that she doesn’t know her head from her foot. It’s people like her that are continuing this pandemic.

There’s some good news this week, though. First, there’s a slight possibility that the governor might approve funding for virtual programs at schools. I think he’d rather do that than back down on the mask thing. Second, the $100 HEB gift card incentive program has been approved, though I’m not sure it’ll really convince anyone who is truly anti-vax to get the shot. Third, studies have shown that vaccinated folks who catch Delta are infections for a much shorter period than unvaccinated people (just another reason to get the shot!). Fourth, President Biden has announced a plan through OSHA that all employers with 100+ employees must either require the vaccine or weekly negative covid tests. (Abbott has already initiated legal action to try to prevent this, saying – without realizing the irony – that it’s a “power grab” by the government. Um…) I hope that is the extreme up-the-nose test – how many times will people suffer through that horror before they give in and get shot?? I’ve seen more and more employers drawing lines in the sand, like American Airlines:

Woohoo! I heard of another employer, also an airline (United, maybe?) that says sure, they’ll “look into” people’s bogus religious exemption claims, and if they determine that you have a real religious exemption, you’ll be approved as an employee who isn’t required to get the vaccine. Then you’ll be placed on unpaid leave of absence until the virus is at low enough loads that it is safe for you to be working with the public again. With the risk of being put on unpaid LoA again if the virus surges. If only all employers were being so sane!! More power to the ones that are forcing consequences on folks who are just whining children at this point.

On the home front, last weekend’s note from our school district says that last week’s student case count, district-wide, was 409, up from 291 the week before, and that most of those cases are at the elementary school level (what a surprise!). Ambrose began in-person classes today, which means that even though he’s been vaccinated, he has to start getting weekly covid tests, since the college can’t require masks per Abbott. My friend whose son got covid last week, and who tested positive herself at the end of the week, are both recovering well. My friend Stephanie’s nephew also tested positive, which is just crazy given that he goes to school on an Air Force Base where masks are strictly enforced and vaccines are mandatory for eligible people. But both her nephews are under the vaccination age, so one got it, and so far it seems as if their quarantine measures are working well as everyone else is still testing negative. Fingers crossed!

About Amanda

Agender empty-nester filling my time with cats, books, fitness, and photography. She/they.
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2 Responses to Quarantine Diaries – Week 78

  1. gricel d. says:

    The dashboard at my university is all kinds of a statistical witchery, but the number of calls to the contact tracing unit show the real increase across campus. It’s so frustrating and, you’re right, it feels like we’re just waiting for the next shoe to drop…

    All the cases I’ve been in personal contact with have been vaccinated folks, so I can confirm that they all reported much shorter cases than the stories I hear in non-vaccinated accounts. The last person who tested positive in my office didn’t pass it on to anyone in her home, and her symptoms were mostly of the asymptomatic kind. She tested out of an abundance of caution and was shocked when she learned it was positive, so that shot definitely did its job.


    • Amanda says:

      I think I’ll feel better as soon as I can get my booster shot! I’m just too far out from the original vaccine to feel as safe now. Especially since the twice-weekly news broadcast on covid numbers continues to drop the percentage of unvaccinated hospital cases. (Meaning, since I know that sentence isn’t entirely clear, that a month ago they were saying that 90% of hospital patients were unvaccinated, now it’s down to around 80%. Of course, that 20% of “vaccinated” patients include folks who have had a single dose, and they haven’t split that up, but STILL.)


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