Covid Update 3/24/21: Surge Continues
Good morning all,
Covid cases and hospitalizations continue to rise in Michigan. School outbreaks are increasing dramatically, and kids are bringing it home and making their parents sick.
This shouldn’t be surprising. When cases are up in the community, they go up in schools as well, and then the loop feeds on itself. Good precautions in schools (such as masking, ventilation, and distancing) help tremendously, but — possibly due to new viral variants — we are seeing the highest numbers since the Christmastime spike.
And even though we are protecting more and more of our elderly population, vaccines haven’t been available for kids and for the adults who they live with (those adults are usually too young to have been vaccinated). After April 5th, we hope to be able to get parents and kids over 16 protected, but that’s going to take a long time, and smaller kids won’t be vaccinated for many months at least.
If we want to be able to keep schools open, we must control community spread (and I feel like a broken record, although most people under 40 probably don’t know what that is). Restaurants are busy. This must stop. Restaurants and bars are inherently dangerous, even with distance between tables. We are literally doing everything we can to encourage the virus to spread, all in order to treat the depression and malaise we all feel from being locked up.
But if we continue to dine out, to go into public places that are crowded or unmasked, we will be stuck with closed schools, closed businesses and rising hospitalizations. Vaccination cannot keep up with this rapid rise. We don’t yet have enough shots, we can’t yet vaccinate kids under 16, and the vaccines take weeks to become fully effective. (Quick digression: let’s say we immunize 200 million people with a vaccine that is 90% effective, and then half of them end up getting exposed to covid. About 10 million will get sick, despite having been vaccinated. This is why we need to vaccinate enough people to reach herd immunity levels.)
I’m not your parent (unless I am, right girls?) and I can’t make anyone behave safely but please stop! Stop going out to restaurants and bars. Stop gathering kids together for birthday parties and indoor play dates. Just stop.
And given what we are seeing, once vaccines are widely available to kids, there is no way we should let them go to school without their shot. About 25% of the US population is under 18 years old, and if they aren’t vaccinated, herd immunity may not be possible, meaning we will never get out of this cycle of surge →hospitalizations →deaths →closures.
So please, do your part. Wear a mask, keep you and your kids safe.