Virginia’s spike of COVID-19 cases could add 400,000 new infections in 2021

Even with vaccines starting to arrive in the Old Dominion, holiday travel and ignorance of safety recommendations are expected to easily top the 300,000 plus new cases this year.
(Courtesy of The University of Virginia Biocomplexity Institute:)

If the University of Virginia is right, the post-Thanksgiving increases in COVID-19 infections that have driven cases over 300,000 total cases of infections in Virginia will continue to rise and with Christmas and New Year’s travel and continued ignorance of safety procedures like wearing masks and social distancing will increase Friday’s spike of new cases daily from 3,564 to 14,000 by early February.

Even with vaccines now starting to arrive, the new peak will be close to 12 times the average 1,079 daily cases we saw in summer.

Reports this week by the UVa Biocomplexity Institute:

Cold weather, time indoors, and pandemic fatigue, spurred by holiday travel and gatherings, increase the risk of transmission. Meanwhile, the impact of new vaccines, while promising, will not be felt for several months

If compounded with surges accompanying Christmas, Hanukkah and other winter holidays, it could be a long, cold winter.

The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) reports the Commonwealth’s daily increases of cases have topped more than 3,000 for the past two weeks, with one day going over 4,000.

While Virginia topped 300,000 in Saturday’s report from VDH, increases projected by UVa’s model predicts more than 402, 731 more cases in 2021.

In Southwestern Virginia, the university shows eight zip codes in Southwestern Virginia in the top 10 areas of infections, including Dryden (second), Bland (third), Weber City (fourth), Salem (fifth), Daleville (sixth), Hiwassee (seventh), Austinville (eighth) Jonesville (ninth) and Elk Creek (tenth).

“Southwest has a considerable concentration of high prevalence zips,” the report says.

Even a small population county like Floyd is seeing sharper than normal increases in cases. Saturday’s VDH report shows 10 new cases as of 5 p.m. Friday to a total of