Floyd County has had 27 new cases of the COVID-19 virus in five days

The pandemic is not over. It's growing again while most Americans ignore even basic safety precautions.

Floyd County has suffered 27 new cases of COVID-19 in just five days, bringing the total count in our rural locality to 2,762 infections with 49 deaths.

Virginia’s virus count topped 1.9 million on Tuesday and the total count Wednesday stands at 1,905,474 with 20,772 dead.

The COVID-19 pandemic is not over. Even worse, the count of cases is increasing once again.

Floyd County reported 10 new cases in Wednesday’s daily report from the Virginia Department of Health. That’s more than three times the normal daily count. The report from last weekend was 11 and six on Tuesday.

Virginia’s Department of Health at least continues to report updates at least five days a week. The Centers for Disease Control faults 23 states for reducing their reporting frequency to just once a week.

Notes Andrea Garcia, Director of Science, Medicine, and Public Health of the American Medical Association:

More states have actually stopped giving daily data updates, and that’s created a blurrier view of where we stand with cases overall. And as we see states report less frequency, changes in the trajectory of the virus become less apparent. Nearly every state, when earlier in the pandemic, reported new COVID cases, hospitalizations and deaths five days a week or more. And now, we have about 23 states that are releasing that data only once a week.

 If we look at The New York Times to give the virus report, I think that number of new known cases of COVID continues to look relatively stable. We’re averaging around 100 and 117,000 cases per day. Of course, we talk about this pretty much every week.

The key word is known. Our numbers have always been an undercount, and that’s low this week, of course, as we’ve talked about before due to the reporting delays from the holiday. I think the keys here really are the test positivity rate in the U.S. is rising. It’s at about 18%. And then, of course, the new dominant BA.5 subvariant that is really growing and in places around the country and, of course, leading to new outbreaks. And so, even with that delayed reporting, more than half of states are seeing slightly higher cases now than two weeks ago.

Absolute protection is not possible but the situation makes the virus threat worse because most Americans now have stopped wearing masks, even in places where they are recommended. While more than three-quarters of Americans are vaccinated, the percentage drops when it comes to the need to obtain booster shots. Adults, CDC says, should have had both boosters by now.

Dr. Garcia says we must not forget the children. She adds:

An open letter from the AMA, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Academy of Family Physicians, encouraging all parents and caregivers to talk with their physician about getting their children vaccinated against COVID. The letter says that doing so will help ensure your family is protected before this fall, when we know there may be another surge, as schools resume and people spend more time indoors.

It also explains how COVID is unpredictable, and we do not know which children will suffer severe, long term, or debilitating symptoms. And we know that children can become severely ill from COVID-19, be hospitalized, or even die. In addition to talking to a physician, the letter provides parents with helpful resources to answer their questions. Those include getvaccineanswers.orghealthychildren.org, and familydoctor.org/vaccines.

Let’s be careful out there.