A Harsh Reality, Ohio. Things Are Pretty Bad... But, There's Still Some Hope!

Jessica N. Abraham

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As vaccine eligibility opens to all Ohioans, ages 16 and older, the country is faced with the fear of a new “impending doom.”

There were only 1,019 new cases reported on March 28, a number that falls significantly below the 7-day average of 1696.

In the last 24 hours, we saw a new peak in Covid cases, with a reported 1,497 new cases, including more than 100, who were admitted to hospitals and ICUs all over the state.

A harsh reality, Ohio.

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These numbers, as low as they may seem, are five times what they were just a year ago -- a time where people were being more cautious, where our fellow citizens were less defiant and naysayers weren't basing their health and the health of others on so-called hoaxes and conspiracy theories.

We’re forgetting these numbers don’t include those that will now suffer from other long-term conditions, those survivors who unknowingly had the coronavirus, or those experiencing the aftermath of having such a condition.

These numbers don’t adequately tell the story of deaths caused either directly, or indirectly, by the virus. These numbers don’t tell the story of those who have never reported their encounter with the virus, those who suffered alone and got better, those who won’t know they have a long-term condition until they’re finally forced into an emergency room -- or those that died and were found weeks later -- with the cause of death to be listed as a heart attack or other underlying condition.

They don’t even include the number of people who were infected, asymptomatic, and passed it along to more than one other person, who has been counted in the greater number.

In December, the total number of cases in just one day peaked around 26K, 10K deaths, before dropping drastically in mid-to-late January.

Politics aside, this is our health. And, Ohio, we have a problem.

Cases are on the rise across the country -- and, it’s evolving.

Shared via Youtube. Courtesy of Bloomberg Markets & Finance.

There are currently more than 4,000 variants of COVID-19 already at our doorsteps!

Holding back visible tears and what's most likely heavy frustration during the midst of the pandemic, CDC Director Rochelle Walensky warns us of a similar pattern of the virus being reported as “the early beginnings” of Europe’s new spiraling Covid crisis. She spoke about how we’re essentially falling behind on our targets, as a country, and how covid cases are going up, sharply.

“The new 7-day average is slightly less than 60K. This is a 10% increase compared to the prior 7-day period. Hospitalizations have also increased, the most recent 7-day average about 4800 new admissions up from 4600 admissions per day in a prior 7-day period. And, deaths, which typically lag behind cases and hospitalizations, have now started to rise, increasing nearly 3% to a 7-day average of approximately 1000 deaths per day.

This is nothing to find peace with.

“When I first started at the CDC about two months ago, I said that I would tell the truth even when it was not the news we want to hear,” she begins.”Now is one of those times when I have to share the truth and I have to hope and trust that you will listen.”

Her voice begins to break in a very emotional statement:

“I’m gonna lose the script and I’m going to reflect on the recurring feeling I have of impending doom. We have so much to look forward to, so much promise and potential of where we are, and so much reason for hope. But right now I’m scared.”

She continues, “I know what it’s like as a physician to stand in that patient room, gowned, gloved, masked, shielded, and to be the last person to touch some else’s loved one because their loved one couldn’t be there.”

“I know what it’s like when you’re the physician when you’re the healthcare provider and you’re worried that you don’t have the resources to take care of the patient in front of you. I know that feeling of nausea when you leave the crisis standard of care and you wonder if there’s going to be enough ventilators to go around and who’s going to make that choice”.
“...And, I know what it’s like to pull up to your hospital every day and see an extra morgue sitting outside...”

Walensky applauds the “three historic scientific breakthrough vaccines,” as she pleads with the American people.

“I’m speaking today not necessarily as your CDC Director, not only as your CDC Director, but as a wife, as a mother, and as a daughter,” she pauses, “to ask you to just please hold on a little longer. I so badly want to be done. I know you all so badly want to be done. We are all just almost there, but just not quite yet.”

She cites our current situation and why it demands serious attention.

“The trajectory of the pandemic in the United States looks similar to many other countries in Europe, including Germany, Italy, and France [sic] looked like just a few weeks ago. And, since that time, those countries have experienced a consistent and worrying spike in cases. We are not powerless. We can change the trajectory of the pandemic. But, it will take all of us recommitting to following the public health prevention strategies consistently while we work to get the American public vaccinated."

Most recently, 27 European member states, or countries, have been pointing fingers at one another, as the pandemic begins stirs deep resentments that aren’t likely to heal any time soon. These problems stem from the lack of vaccines available to the public, the lack of uniform prevention, political cooperation, supply chain disasters, and a complication in the crossing of borders.

It’s important to note that many of these countries are the size of US states and territories and that it’s not unusual to cross into other territories for school, work, or family. Citizens of these countries often hold permits to regularly work and play in other member states.

President Joe Biden, quickly interjects.

Shared via Youtube. Courtesy of MeetKevin.

This afternoon, prompted by the earlier warning by the Director of the CDC, President Biden held an emergency press conference to address the pending concerns on Covid and to provide a strategic plan of action to be held in alliance with leadership across the country.

He begins by addressing those actions taken since January 20th to curve the virus, notating that in the last ten weeks, he led vaccinations for people aged 75 and older from just 8% to 75% with most recipients receiving at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine from one of three vendors (a few with a second dose pending). This week, he claims to have released “more doses for seniors than ever before.”

His plea to the American public continues, as follows:

“I’m calling for every Governor, Mayor, and local leaders, to maintain and reinstate the mask mandate. Please, this is not politics. Reinstate the mandate that you let down. Businesses should require masks, as well, if we’re to take this virus seriously. This is precisely what got us into this mess in the first place -- more risks, more cases, more deaths.”
“Look, as I do my part to accelerate the vaccine distributions, I need the American People to do their part as well. Mask up, mask up. It’s a patriotic duty. It’s the only way we ever get back to normal… to cheer together in stadiums full of fans… to gather again, on holidays again, safely... to go to graduations, weddings.”
“I announced on March 11, I directed every state, tribe, and territory to provide the vaccine to all adults, no later than May 1. I issued that order because moving on priority groups, to enable all adults to get vaccinations, is closer to having a July 4th that’s closer to normal.”
“I want this to come as quickly as possible.”
“I want to thank the Governors, Democrats, and Republicans, who have responded to this directive. In fact, a vast majority of Governors have said ‘open access days’ even earlier than the deadline on May 1. But, in this race against the rapidly spreading virus, as fast as we’re going, we need to go faster. So, to make it easier for Americans to get vaccinated as the supply grows and vaccination eligibility expands, I’m directing my Covid team to ensure there’s a vaccine site within 5 miles of 90% of all Americans by April 19 .. three weeks from today.”
“Look, we’re going to do this by going from having 17K pharmacies giving out vaccination shots to nearly 40K pharmacies doing it within the next three weeks. That’ll more than double the number of pharmacies where you can get vaccinated. We’re not stopping there.”
“In the next three weeks, we’ll add 12 more federally-tun mass vaccination sites. Every day these sites, tens of thousands of people, are able to drive up, get a vaccine shot while in their car, and leave within less than an hour.”
“And, over 60% of the shots given at these sites goes to minority communities. Because they’re in minority communities, we have to reach out. They are the ones the most affected by both the vaccine and also the pandemic.”
“We’re also going to send more aid to the states to expand the opening of more community vaccination sites. More vaccines. More sites. More vaccinators. All designed to speed our critical work.”
“We’ll also need to make it easier for those who want shots but can’t access vaccination sites to get vaccinated. This is also where we’re focused on the seniors most immediately. I have made incredible progress in starting to vaccinate nearly three-fourths of our seniors. And, now, putting vaccination sites within 5 miles of 95% of all Americans -- that still isn’t enough as far as we’re concerned. We know that there are a number of seniors and people with disabilities who may be isolated and have a lack of access to transportation. And, there are community groups that van help and are trying to help now.”
“Fourth announcement today, I’m sending out millions of dollars through the department of health and human services to provide assistance, including transportation so more vulnerable seniors and people with disabilities can get their shots… to get help, to physically get the shot.”
“Neighbors, helping neighbors. What a truly American effort.”
“We cannot let transportation be a barrier to any senior getting a vaccination. And so, where does this put us? We’re making progress in vaccination. But, cases are rising and the virus is spreading in too many spaces, still. That’s why today, I’m taking these steps to make our American turnaround story, our vaccination program, move even faster thanks to all the work we’ve done these past 10 weeks. As fast as we’re going, we still have a long way to go. In fact, we’re not even halfway yet.”

He’s confident that in the next three weeks, we should have a lot of hope going forward and continues to cite vaccines, social distancing, and masks will be a big part of it.

“We also have so much to be sorrowful about,” he continues. “Nearly 1,000 Americans a day are still dying of Covid-19, as we approach 550K deaths in a single year. Until this country is vaccinated, each of us has to do our part -- or even obligation, patriotic obligation. Wash your hands. Stay socially distanced. Wear a mask as recommended by the CDC. And, get vaccinated. Get your friends and family vaccinated when you can help. Now’s not the time to let down.”

Concluding his message, he provides a stern warning to both Americans, across the country and abroad, while sharing his sentiments that some states should “pause” their reopening efforts:

“Now’s not the time to celebrate. It is time to do what we do best as a country -- our duty. Our jobs. Take care of one another. And, fight this to the finish. We can and will do this. But, don’t let up now. Don’t let up now.”

“All deaths over the first 100,000 could have been mitigated” - Dr. Deborah Birx

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Last night, Dr. Sanjay Gupta sat down with Dr. Anthony Fauci and Dr. Deborah Birx to look back at the US response to the Covid-19 pandemic. They discussed the endless ways our former administration drove the pandemic to be plagued with mixed messages and unnecessary depopulation.

Everything was laid out on the table. Things like data manipulation to hide fatalities, death threats from leadership, false narratives, and the suppression of key data that would generally guide hospitals during a time of critical decision-making. They discussed the arrogance and candor from those that should care most and those who received special treatment, while otherwise telling the American people that “this hoax” was really nothing to worry about.

At this point, politics or not. Hoax or not. Our lives have changed drastically and people really are dying. Despite claims that there have been no colds or flues reported this year, we are dealing with something that cannot be contained. And yes, the common cold and flu are still in our lives. But due to similar methods of prevention, we are seeing fewer of these cases being reported and healthier immune systems coming about from those who’ve been listening.

The State of Ohio is sponsoring 18 mass vaccination clinics for Ohioans, aged 16 and up.

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As these vaccines become more widely available, all Ohioans, from Cincinnati to Warren, will be able to receive one of three vaccines, per the Ohio Department of Health’s plans for vaccination, and can do so at any of Ohio's mass vaccination sites.

Anyone from the ages of 16 to 17 must have parental consent for any vaccine to be administered. Currently, only Pfizer holds the authorization to vaccinate minors and they must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian to receive their first and second dosage.

The Pfizer vaccine is shot in the upper arm and will require two separate doses, scheduled 21 days apart. Side effects are reported to include pain, redness, and swelling. You may also experience fatigue, headache, muscle pain, chills, fever, and nausea.

You can go to VaccineFinder.org to find covid vaccine sites nearby, a portal provided by Boston Children’s Hospital.

Because this vaccine is so new, some people will choose to get the vaccine, now, while others will wait until much later. Please do not shame anyone for choosing not to get the vaccine, especially if they’re doing their part to maintain the health and well-being of others.

For those who decide to get the vaccine...

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Stay hydrated before, during, and after your visit. This means, due to long lines and possible wait times, you might want to use the restroom before going for your vaccination. The health department also recommends eating and getting a good night’s sleep the day before.

Expect to wait for an upwards of 30 minutes after your shot, so that you can be monitored for any side effects that might flair (Remember, this is a new vaccine. So, there will always be a few unknowns). Because you are still able to carry the virus, please remember your neighbors in post-vaccination planning. This means, continue to mask-up when possible and maintain social distancing. Wash your hands as much as possible, especially after eating, touching things in public, and using the bathroom.

...and, by all means, vaccine or not -- enjoy the beautiful weather next week! It looks like it might continue through the summer (based on monthly projected forecasts by Accuweather).

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Jessica N. Abraham is a writer, designer and publicist, specializing in Business, Technology and the Jobs Industry. https://www.jessicanabraham.com | contact@jessicanabraham.com | Twitter: @jessicanabraham

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