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View From the Editor’s Desk – Grim Statistic

Thoughts on a Thursday morning….

The United States has surpassed 680,000 Covid-19 deaths [1], and the number continues to rise at the rate of approximately 2,000 deaths per day. We have now passed the 675,000 deaths from the Spanish flu in 1918 – previously the worst pandemic in our history.

Not a good place to be.

“This is just the flu” doesn’t cut it.

No, it is not “just the flu.”

In 1918 there was no vaccine. In 2021 there is a vaccine so we have a way out of this pandemic.

The best doctors and scientists in the world worked at a record-setting pace to produce a life-saving vaccine, never imagining that Americans would not listen to their doctors but instead listen to misinformation on the internet or from friends, and decide not to vaccinate.

In my corner of the world, Staunton’s vaccination rate is just 57 percent; in Augusta County it’s even lower with less than 50 percent of residents vaccinated. Not good.

Our local hospital, Augusta Health, is overloaded and pleading with local businesses, local municipalities, churches, civic groups, and all others to support vaccine requirements for the community and continue to mask in public and follow social distancing guidelines.

Augusta Health went so far as to send out a public letter to the community [2] that included this bombshell info:

“Community testing positivity rates are an important indicator of the amount of COVID-19 within a community. Johns Hopkins has stated that a testing positivity rate greater than 5% is cause for concern.

“In May, the WHO stated that communities should not relax quarantine measures until testing positivity rates are below 5% for two consecutive weeks. The Staunton-Augusta-Waynesboro testing positivity rate is presently at 31%—the highest rate our community has ever experienced.”

We have a way out of this pandemic. Sadly, too many Americans refuse to inoculate. Healthcare workers warn that we are not near the end of this virus, and now there are concerns about winter with its cooler, drier weather that creates optimum conditions for the virus to spread.

Many pharmacies such as CVS and Walgreens as well as hospitals, doctors’ offices, and mobile clinics offer the FREE vaccine. Unfortunately, too many Americans continue to refuse it while countries around the world don’t have enough doses for their citizens. Many global neighbors want the safety provided by a vaccine.

Sounds like my family because that’s exactly what we wanted – the protection of a vaccine just like every other disease we’ve been vaccinated against over the years – and we all vaccinated as soon as possible during the spring.

So while we have plentiful supplies here, many are refusing it. The latest observations suggest another 100,000 could die [3] by December. That’s three months away. Think about that. Another 100,000 Americans won’t be at the Christmas dinner table. A second heart-breaking holiday season.

There has to be a special place in hell for the perpetrators of dangerously false information that has come from the deepest, darkest depths of the internet and caused so many good people to believe complete nonsense, endangering not only their health but also the health of the rest of us.

Almost three-quarters of a million Americans have already died [4]. Can’t we work to assure the rest of us come through this together?

Be well….