Memorial Day: Is it safe out there?

COVID-19 is surging again as an estimated 39.2 million Americans hit the road to also face record gas prices

As we approach Memorial Day, the recognized start of summer, vacations and more, COVID-19 cases are once again on the rise. The Centers for Disease Control reports infections are up 26% daily in the United States, with a 12% increase in deaths and a 29% rise in hospitalizations.

At the same time, vaccinations are dropping nationwide. CDC says only 31% of Floyd County’s residents are considered “vaccinated” without boosters, and only six percent have received even one booster (even though many are eligible for three). Nationally, 78% are vaccinated, with 31% “boosted.”

Having all the vaccinations will protect anyone from getting the virus. My wife and I are recovering this week from COVID-19, and we are both vaccinated with boosters, but we are not in the hospital or facing death, in large part because we are vaccinated even though we both have threatening “underlying complications.”

We will spend Memorial Day weekend at home, watching the Formula One Monaco Grand Prix, the Indy 500, and that “other race” in Charlotte.

Not so for many others. AAA estimates about 39.2 million Americans will travel over the four-day holiday weekend and most will be on the road, dealing with record-high gas prices on top of surging Coronavirus cases.

“We believe this is due to pent-up demand from the last two years when people chose not to travel,” says AA spokeswoman Ellen Edmonds.

Reports The New York Times:

Americans are hitting the road in big numbers, despite a steady surge in coronavirus cases. Over the past week, an average of 110,000 coronavirus cases has been reported each day in the United States as of Thursday, an increase of 26 percent from two weeks ago, according to a New York Times database. Hospitalizations are up 29 percent over the last two weeks, to roughly 26,100 per day, and new deaths have been at an average of fewer than 400 a day over the past two weeks.

Paula Twidale, a senior vice president of travel at AAA, said that Memorial Day was a reliable indicator of the summer season.

“Based on our projections, summer travel isn’t just heating up, it will be on fire,” Ms. Twidale said in a statement.

New York Times

Is it safe? One week ago, Virginia had a total of 1,755,290 COVID-19 cases since the beginning of the pandemic — an increase of 3,847 new infections in just one day. Floyd County reached 2,600 new cases.

Today, as we start the Memorial Day weekend, the Old Dominion’s virus case count stands at 1,777,813, an increase of 22,523 new cases in one week. Floyd added 22 new cases in the same week. Floyd used to rarely have even four or five in a week.

The pandemic has hospitalized more than 51,000 in Virginia and the infection rate is closing in on two million total cases, probably by fall.

If you choose to venture out this weekend, please pause to remember those who died in service to our country. Let’s be careful out there.