Weather forecasts are nicer than the COVID-19 pandemic outlook

Too many residents in Floyd County are just like other rural areas who foolishly believe that the pandemic that strangled urban areas wouldn't happen here.
Pandemic won't happen here. It is happening now.

A little cooler today after the previous sunny days in the 60s. The National Weather Service forecast calls for a slight chance of rain on an overcast Friday with a high in the mid-50s and a low downs close to freezing overnight, followed by sunny and partly cloudy days with the highs climbing back into the high 50s and then 60s and 70s for the following week or so.

Not bad Not bad at all.

The weather forecast is certainly nicer than the outlook for COVID-19 and the Coronavirus pandemic front. With infections topping 8 million this week in the United States and closing in on 40 million worldwide, the virus is not slowing down but is peaking once again.

The Center for Disease Control says new infections in the United States exceeded 64,000 for the first time since late July while 44 states and the District of Columbia report caseloads higher than a month ago.

Europe this week set a new record for virus infections and a top World Health Organization says death rates on the continent could be five times worse than the April peak if people are not strict about masks and social distancing.

Many of the new infections, the CDC says, are in rural areas with limited or no hospital capacities — areas like Floyd County, VA, where infections increased by more than 200 cases since the summer and deaths are higher than three times higher than most populated and urban Montgomery County just next door.

In Virginia, new infections routinely top 1,000 cases a day (1,153 in Thursday’s report from the Virginia Department of Health) and deaths now are 3,388 with 11,704 total hospitalizations. The Old Dominion’s case count is now 164,124.

Much of the increases in rural counties like Floyd, virus experts say, come from people who ignore recommended, and required, safety regulations like wearing masks and maintain social distancing.

University of Washington Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation epidemiologist Ali Mokdad, in a recent report, says the institute’s modeling of the pandemic offers a simple explanation on why rural areas like Floyd County are seeing more transmission of the virus this late in the pandemic.

“When covid-19 came in the United States, it didn’t show up immediately in rural communities,” he said. “And then people in these communities felt, ‘That’s not us, that’s the big cities.’ They let down their guard.”

He adds: “It’s eventually going to spread everywhere in the U.S. … This virus is opportunistic. We make a mistake, that virus will win.”

“Inevitably, we’re moving into a phase where there’s going to need to be restrictions again,” David Rubin, director of PolicyLab at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, told the Washington Post.

“What we’re seeing as the increasing threat right now is actually acquisition of infection through small household gatherings,” says CDC Director Robert Redfield.

He’s telling people to avoid gatherings and “should not attend in-person holiday celebrations.” His worries extend to Halloween celebration and Thanksgiving.

Redfield said his three children will not be flying to Washington to spend Thanksgiving with him.

“It is unfortunate because that’s such a sacred part of American tradition, the family gathering around Thanksgiving,” Fauci said. “You may have to bite the bullet and sacrifice that social gathering.”

Try telling that to the pseudo-macho types who declare those who were masks “sissies” and strut into public places where they and everyone the infect have much to lose.

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