We are in the middle of a worrisome scare here this week. Ambrose’s college just opened up to on-campus students last week. He only has two in-person classes, on Mondays and Wednesdays. Monday, he went to these classes, and by Wednesday, he found out that one of his profs had come down with covid. Ambrose had been wearing a mask and was in the back of the classroom, but that’s still worrisome. It just shows how hard it is to truly plan for this disease. A potential two-week incubation and infectious period pre-symptoms is just nuts. How many people were potentially exposed? What if Ambrose, who shows no symptoms, later develops them, and the rest of us have been exposed in the meantime? What of the doctor’s office that I was at on Tuesday, in a busy waiting room – could I have spread it to another couple dozen people? It’s so hard to deal with a disease that’s so silent and invisible for so long! Hopefully, the vaccine and masks and other protocols we use will keep us all safe, but sometimes it feels like we’re waiting for the other shoe to drop. It’s been 18 months now, and somehow the four of us have been lucky. How long can that luck hold out?
This week’s numbers:
- Cases: 302,154 (+6,201)
- Deaths: 4,162 (+145)
- Seven-day rolling average: 808 (-175/day)
- Positivity rate: 7.1% (-0.5%)
- Cases per 100k: 44.5 (-6.5)
- Hospitalizations: 960 patients including 330 in ICU **Note: A quarter of all hospital patients in our county are covid patients.
- Vaccinations: 1,458,525 first dose (87% of eligible population, 73% total); 1,191,883 fully vaxxed (71% of eligible, 59.5% total)
The school number situation has gotten a bit more complicated. We got a notice this week that said due to parent outcry, weekly counts per school would be available on the district website. This is likely due to the difficulty of getting a clear picture of what’s going on when you only find out about cases that are in your kid’s class(es). I mean, what do they do about lunch periods, when a quarter of the school is all in one place? Does that count as a “class”? The potential contact across the room in a cafeteria is far different from one in a small classroom, or an after school club! It gets especially confusing when we get notices that say things like this:
If we quarantined Laurence every time we got a notice home, he’d be a virtual student. We get at least two notices per week! And then there’s the fact that after 20 days at home, it’s considered an absence. So we couldn’t do that anyway. Besides, this is all in the process of changing, because Abbott decided he’d rather go back on outlawing virtual school rather than on outlawing mask mandates in schools. So suddenly school districts across the state are being required to offer virtual options with no planning and no infrastructure, because the time when they do all that (the summer break), they weren’t allowed to. It’s a MESS. Anyway, Laurence doesn’t want to return to virtual school, and since he’s vaccinated, we won’t make him, but we’re also not going to quarantine him every time we get a letter home! Sheesh.
But going back to the school numbers. The district put up the weekly positive case counts for all 70 campuses for Week 3 last week. We don’t have the data from before that. But our high school, one of 70 campuses and NOT the highest in student body, came in with the highest total number of student cases in the entire district (31). To give some perspective, the entire school year last year, there were 160 total cases at our school. So we almost hit a fifth of that in a single week. Looking at the feeder middle and elementary schools, they’re also very high, so it looks like my little area of the city is being hit hard with covid at the moment. Sigh.
- In L’s classes: 1 student, 0 staff
- Cumulative: 5 students, 6 staff
- Week 4 for our school: 12 students, 0 staff
- Cumulative: 43 students, 2 staff <– This is less than the above because they gave us no numbers for the first two weeks of school in the total school cases. Sigh.
That’s how I plan to track the school numbers going forward.
There’s not a lot of other news this week. The big one is that Pfizer released a timeline of applying for EU status on its vaccines for kids (ages 5-11 by the end of this month, ages 6-mo to 5 in early November). I will feel much better once this has been approved and there’s less danger to all these kids going to school!! Especially since the school situation continues to remain stupid. There’s the above notice from our district, and the state is re-suing the district here in SA that is requires vaccines. Not sure how they plan to get away with it since the state’s no-mandate directly conflicts with the federal yes-mandate. But that’s for the politicians and lawyers to hash out.
Meanwhile, people continue to do and say that stupidest things. Newest trend: ingesting or gargling Betadine, which is a topical anti-bacterial solution for cuts and scrapes. It’s what they use on stitches post-surgery, and it has a lot of iodine in it, so the people ingesting it are getting iodine poisoning. OMFG, the idiots. There are anti-vaxxers complaining about being “bullied” because the public health directors keep talking about needing to get the vaccines and wear masks, because they’ve clearly never been bullied in their lives. Then there is this bit of beautiful stupidity.
Seriously, this kind of thing could be an art installation: A Tribute to American Uneducation. (Yes, the misspelling is on purpose.)
Not much else to report. Sadly, a football coach at one of our local high schools passed away from covid this week. He was 29 and had been in the hospital for months. And one of our performing arts centers has found a creative way to handle vaccinations, which circumvents any politics. They are letting the artists who come decide how strict they require the center to be with patrons. So for some performances, you might have to provide proof of vaccination, and others, a recent negative test might do. I guess that’s one way to do it!