Politics at the root of our laissez-faire approach to COVID numbers?
Is anybody else out there wondering why we’re not seeing more in terms of last year’s response to COVID with our high case counts of late?
The seven-day moving average of new cases in Virginia is 3,359, the highest level since Feb. 3, and the number of people in Virginia hospitals with COVID is 1,987, the highest level since Feb. 13.
Yes, there are vaccines now, and they are working. Breaking down data from the Virginia Department of Health COVID-19 data dashboard, 90.2 percent of the cases for the week of Aug. 28, the most recent week for which full data is available, came among those who are either only partially vaccinated or are unvaccinated, and 90.9 percent of the COVID hospitalizations are attributed to those two groups.
The data bear out that, if you are vaccinated, you’re a lot less likely to contract COVID, and then if you do, a lot less likely to develop a severe case.
Our vaccination numbers continue to improve, with a slight boost coming from the recent FDA approval of the Pfizer vaccine. VDH has us at 76.5 percent of the adult population having received at least one vaccine dose, and 68.1 percent fully vaccinated.
Still, we’re only averaging 16,654 new vaccines doses administered per day over the past seven days. At that rate, we’re nine months away from reaching even 80 percent vaccine saturation, including pre-teens and teens.
Another factor to consider as to why we’re not shutting things down, and in fact, if you watched any of the Virginia Tech-UNC football game last night on ESPN, with 66,000 people packed into Lane Stadium, we’re doing the exact opposite: wonder what impact on the decision-making there is from politics?
At the D.C. level, we have President Biden and Democrats reeling from the failure in Afghanistan and the inability to get an infrastructure package moving forward, with an eye on the 2022 midterms.
And then here in Virginia, we have an election for governor and for control of the House of Delegates, in what is, for the moment, anyway, a tight race.
Any return to where we were back in the spring with mask mandates and distancing requirements would be risky politically, at the least.
And so it is, our status quo, not likely to change for a while, unless COVID just up and goes away, which isn’t likely.
Story by Chris Graham