Wednesday, May 6, 2020

The Latest from Here

     I have a summary of the most recent Coronavirus news, from where I sit in a modest-size suburb in a large Northeastern state. I'm guessing our situation is at least somewhat similar to the one in your part of the world.

     We just got a notice this morning from our county health commissioner. There were 22 more COVID-19 deaths over the past few days. All of the victims had underlying health conditions. All but four were age 75 or older and residents of long-term care facilities. This confirms recent data showing that elderly residents of long-term care facilities are especially vulnerable to the disease.

     "We're going through a really bad phase right now in our nursing homes," said the director of the county health department. "We are hopefully near the peak of it, we are seeing more staff returning as they recover, and we are seeing more residents recovering in the nursing homes as well."

      At least 66 congregate living facilities in the county -- more than three quarters of the total -- have had outbreaks. "When this wave is over," the director continued, "I don't think we will have large outbreaks again because so many of the staff and residents will likely have some immunity."

     There were 85 new Coronavirus cases reported in the county yesterday. Of those, 56 were residents or employees of long-term care facilities, while only four cases were attributed to community spread.

     Altogether, our county has had 3,505 residents test positive for the virus since the epidemic began. There have been 280 deaths -- 80 percent of them long-term-care residents.

     Some 920 people have recovered and been released from isolation. But 192 patients remain hospitalized, 24 of them currently on ventilators and in critical condition.

     At the same time, the governor has announced a partial reopening of the state. On May 8, 24 of the more rural counties in Pennsylvania will be partially released from the state-wide lockdown. Stay-at-home orders will be lifted, but gatherings of more than 25 people will still be prohibited. So gyms, spas, theaters and casinos will remain closed. Organized team sports are not permitted. Retail stores may reopen with curbside and delivery the "preferred method of operation." Restaurants will still be limited to carryout or delivery.

     I live near Philadelphia, not one of the rural counties, so the stay-at-home orders remain. I'm not even sure what "stay-at-home" means exactly. B and I took a walk into our little town yesterday. Pretty much everything is closed down, except a few restaurants offering curbside take-out. We saw a few fellow walkers on the street. About half were wearing masks. (We were not -- we didn't get anywhere near six feet to anyone.)

     Regarding the partial lifting, the Pennsylvania health secretary said, "All the information we have suggests that if we release the mitigation efforts too soon in areas that are very affected by COVID-19, areas that still have significant community transmission, then we'll just go right back to that exponential rise, and it could even be higher than the rise before."

     Looking ahead, there is no decision yet on whether or not the schools in Pennsylvania, which have been closed since mid-March, will reopen in the fall. Officials from the Department of Education say there are no plans to keep schools closed, but "any future decisions regarding school openings will be grounded in the health and safety of our students." A hybrid attendance approach may be utilized to allow for social distancing, with a combination of in-person and remote instruction.

     Finally, a notice came out two days ago that Pennsylvania is preparing for a second wave of Coronavirus in the fall, citing federal officials including Dr. Anthony Fauci, who have been warning of the prospect of a resurgence of the virus in the fall. "I'm almost certain it will come back," said Dr. Fauci, "because the virus is so transmissible and it's globally spread."

     State officials are expanding testing capabilities, developing contact tracing systems to target potential outbreaks, and making sure hospitals and other medical facilities are prepared in case of a new outbreak.

     I guess, like all of us. they are preparing for the worst and hoping for the best. Good luck to all of you, and godspeed.

15 comments:

Snowbrush said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Snowbrush said...

Let me try that again: This is the first time that I've ever wished for the science deniers to be right and the scientists to be wrong.

DavidH said...

Hawaii is getting ready to open. The government policies have been very effective in minimizing Covid19. Out of a population of about 1.4 million we have 57 active cases with 17 deaths. Most of the active cases are quarantined at home. Testing has been about 33,000 with 1.8% positive. Due to the fact that we are an island state, the influx has been very well controlled. Most businesses will be open on the 15th with the vast majority by the end of the month. Hawaii is perhaps the safest place in the United States.

gigi-hawaii said...

The virus could come back with a vengeance in the fall.

DUTA said...

When I was young, I used to think that only the elderly without family opt for living in nusing homes and various care facilities. However, the prosperity of these facilities during the last two decades have changed my mind about that.
Now, the coronavirus is probably going to end that 'prosperity'.

Olga said...

We need to take care of ourselves as best we can. And we need to take care of others as best we can. Life never did come with any guarantees.

DJan said...

My county has had 29 deaths and 305 people test positive. Today I will be allowed to visit a state park for a nice hike, just opened on Monday.

Tom said...

Hmmm, maybe I should have retired to Washington or Hawaii ... it sounds less dangerous there.

Janette said...

Your neighbor here. We should be WAY more locked down (rising positives and deaths)- but are opening because we have to go with the people north of us. Summer home people are emerging and you cannot ticket wealthy people for going to their own houses. Beaches are closed, except they are not. Hair salons are closed-except to essential people and people who can afford to pay "back door" prices. The President has mandated that the chicken plants reopen---the suggestion is that if you are unemployed that is where you should get a job. Of course they pay less then min wage and do not provide health insurance.... ah the joys of undocumented employment. And killing hundreds of chickens by hand---ewww.
My kids tell me to rest up. When schools open MD is planning on only teaching 1/2 the kids at a time.. Makes sense, children and their under 50 yr old parents die from this. I might be watching kids as parents work. How will that protect me--or them??? How about those kiddos in our ghettos? (I forgot, we don't have ghettos, do we in the North East?)
Science drives the East.
Oh well, I am happy. I have DE tags, I'll take a fishing pole with me to the beach. Go for a long walk and thank GOD this happened before we ever put money into a Continuing Care Community. This is going to be a very long summer for them if they want to protect themselves. We certainly are not going to do it for them anymore.

Arkansas Patti said...

My county has only had 8 cases with 8 recoveries and no deaths. My neighbor and his wife being two of those. Somehow that doesn't make me feel comfortable. We are a small county.

Linda Myers said...

We spend winters in a retirement community in Tucson. We're still here for the time being, as we're pretty spread out and safe, and will go home to Washington State when it seems like the time. This day-to-day business is not something I would ever have anticipated. It is interesting though somewhat scary.

Karen D. Austin said...

Thanks for your update. I live in SW Indiana. While Indy, Ft. Wayne, and Gary have had a lot of cases and deaths, COVID-19 has only a small presence here. Sadly, it has broken out in two nursing homes, causing 16 deaths there. My husband is a university administrator, and they are preparing for 3 or 4 various models for instruction in the fall. They won't announce which model they will implement until they are about a month ahead of back-to-school. The virus is too unpredictable (well, human behavior). I'm reading books about past pandemics, and I'm reading info from WHO, CDC, Kaiser Family Foundation and CIDRAP to see what the experts are saying. All my best to you during this challenging time. KDA

Anonymous said...

you boomers are shutting down the entire economy because you're afraid of a flu. Seriously, can you boomers kill yourselves? You are the most selfish generation to ever exist. You don't give a shit about climate change, why should we young people give a shit if you get sick and die of some virus? I HOPE the virus gets much stronger and kills you all.

Do you boomers realize how universally hated you are? There is not one single demographic that does not hate you- white people, black people, asians, mexicans, indians, chinese, millennials, GenX, GenZ. Something tells me that you boomers are not going to have a very comfortable or easy retirement, especially once you end up in the retirement homes.

Can you baby boomers hurry up and fucking drop dead? Enjoy your retirement homes cause we younger people will not take care of you even if we wanted to, due to the shitty economy you boomers created. Do you boomers realize that the younger generation is simply waiting for you to fucking drop dead?

You are all going to end up in retirement homes and we all know that the elderly gets treated pretty badly in retirement homes. Well, that's what you get for ruining your own children's lives. Even if your children WANTED to take care of you, they couldn't, due to you boomers destroying the economy. So I hope you enjoy the retirement homes, boomer scum!

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sue said...

Have to wonder if anonymous lost his or her job/business/house/family because of... what? A freaking flu - that's what! Nothing but a crazy-making set-up, to further divide people. An agenda straight from the pit.