Yesterday I reported that Cobb County had a spike in COVID-19 cases among 0-4 year olds and 5-17 year olds and a consequent increase in the number of COVID-19 cases per 100,000 population. The numbers were reported in the School Aged COVID-19 Surveillance Data reported every Friday by the Georgia Department of Public Health.
The trend in the previous weeks has been downward since the dramatic rise in the Delta variant ended, although we have remained in the high transmission area for the 5-17 age group of kindergarten, elementary, middle and high school.
In fact, that was a national trend. Of the four age ranges this particular report tracks, three increased, and the fourth (18-22 years old) was nearly unchanged for both the county and state numbers in yesterday’s report.
I’ve noticed a tendency since the rise of the Delta variant ended for the public to view the pandemic as over. It was a great relief for everyone to go from near capacity ICs to numbers on the low end of the high level.
My opinion is that this is due to disaster fatigue. Our brains are not equipped to handle large numbers when it comes to epidemics and pandemics, or really all disasters.
To give an example, in November 2019 there was a measles outbreak in Cobb County. When the first case was reported, there was almost panic and our first report on it at the Courier got 18,862 page views.
18,862 page views for an article in the Courier in 2019 was a huge amount of traffic. Our readership has increased significantly since then, but it would still be considered a top-performing article.
And measles cases never reached 10 in Cobb County in the end.
So we panicked about a disease that has largely vaccinated the public and that hasn’t reached 10 cases nationwide yet is willing to accept 1159 cases in the last two weeks of a deadly disease at a 48 percent complete rate. vaccinated people in the province.
COVID has so far resulted in 1,303 deaths in Cobb County (and 25,546 confirmed deaths statewide).
So, Larry, do you want us to panic?
So how do I want people to react to this rise in cases?
I was very happy when Cobb County’s COVID numbers started to fall after the Delta spike played out. I don’t like to live like a hermit.
I am 70 years old (a high risk age group), am an outgoing person who prefers my work outside the home, and I have had two cousins die from COVID-19 (one of them was 73 years old and one of the first deaths in Cobb County due to the pandemic).
So no, I’m not suggesting that Cobb County residents panic and retreat into their shells.
But I do want the anti-vaxxers to shut up and carry on with some harmless pseudoscience (maybe cryptozoology), I want vaccine mandates for any job that requires frequent contact with the public (especially health professionals)…
And I absolutely support the mask mandates in the schools. Until this pandemic is over, the school systems are the most consistent place for nearly all families in the county, where families interact and potentially spread any virus between students and then back to their families.
Finally, I want the public to start paying attention to these numbers again. It would be very easy for us to wake up one morning to headlines announcing a new wave of COVID such as the one Europe is already experiencing.
So the pandemic isn’t over yet, Cobb County is still a high transmission area and we need to get our heads out of the sand.