COVID 19 – 6 months in

It is hard to believe that it has been almost six months since a COVID 19 pandemic was declared on March 11th. Our governor issued a ‘Stay Home, Stay Healthy’ order on March 23rd

Since this is a novel virus not a lot was known way back then. And there still is a lot to learn. 

Some things I THINK we know:

  • This virus can be spread by infected people who don’t have symptoms
  • It probably is spread by aerosol, in addition to droplets (making it more easily spread)
  • Surfaces probably aren’t the culprit we thought they were (but still keep them clean and wash your hands)
  • Masks make a difference (cover your mouth and nose)
  • Hospitalizations and deaths aren’t limited to older people and those with underlying health problems, younger people and children are getting seriously ill
  • This can be a horrible disease!
  • To achieve herd immunity (which stops the virus from spreading), it is estimated that we would need to have about 60% of our population to get an infection. Very few places now have more than 20% infected.  To get to 60%, we would have LOTS more hospitalizations and deaths!

Some of the questions I still have:

  • What are the long-term effects of an infection? On adults? On children?
  • How long is a person is considered immune after being infected (it looks like it is about 4 months)?
  • How common is reinfection?
  • How safe is airplane travel?
  • Is six feet separation enough to prevent infection?
  • Will there be an effective vaccine and when? Will people get it?
  • How long will the pandemic last?  Here is a link to a CNN interview with Laurie Garrett.  She predicts 36 months.

Things we should have figured out by now, but haven’t (Grrrr):

  • How to test people efficiently with easy access and rapid turnaround
  • Getting the PPE to everyone who needs it
  • How to prioritize getting kids back in school over motorcycle rallies
  • A stable safety net for people impacted by COVID
  • A coherent national strategy for managing this pandemic

Instead of wrapping my week with a look at King County, by request I am going to focus on WA state. Looking at COVID 19 here, this is a pretty interesting dashboard

There are 39 counties in WA.  The goal is to have less than 25 newly diagnosed cases per 100,000 – 7 more rural, sparsely populated counties have met that goal.  Another goal is to have less than 2% of those tested be positive – 10 counties have met that goal, again those less populated. I can’t imagine how those goals are going to be met statewide, particularly in the Puget Sound! The good news is that the health capacity is good to go in most places around the state.

I think we are only going to know what really worked to control COVID in hindsight.

On that note, have a safe Labor Day weekend with your masks, hand sanitizers and physical distancing.

Back on Monday,

Allene

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