The National Emergency We Have Forgotten

chris field
Any Writers
Published in
8 min readSep 17, 2021


A person wearing white rubber gloves prepares a needle to inject. The camera if focused on the needle.
Photo by: Joshua Bamidele, from
Burst, Some Rights Reserved

The kids are back to school, the ballparks are at capacity, and people are flowing out of bars and restaurants again. The economic engine of the country is oiled and pumping. It makes me glad to see so many people having fun and living their lives. Normal is what we have all been wanting. It is finally here. Something about it keeps nagging at me, though. It is not the web headlines or the evening news. It’s the data.

The Silent Return

Last fall in the United States during mid-September, we had a seven-day average of 35,074 new COVID-19 cases. It was scary, and people took action. Many schools went online, venues remained largely empty, and stadiums had strict attendance limits. This week, our seven-day average is 172,404. We now have almost five times as many daily cases as we did a year ago, and that daily count is increasing each day.

Later in the year, on January 8th, 2021, we peaked with 300,777 new cases reported. By July, we expected to be out of the worst of it. Vaccination rates climbed, and new case counts plummeted. But in our exuberance, we missed something. Just last week, on September 7th, we hit 301,138, an all-time high in new single-day cases, exceeding the worst of last year’s post-holiday travel season. And the fall has just begun.