The Devastating Pandemic Situation: No Room for Pandemic Fatigue

I high there my beautiful lovelies! Hope you guys are doing well and staying safe. With the pandemic brewing high, it is not even close to normal and in fact, things are getting worse and devastating. Today I will again emphasize the importance of the mitigation factor in curving the coronavirus pandemic.

Current Epidemiologic Data on Coronavirus Pandemic:

Infection and Mortality Rate:

Currently, in the United States, more than 11 million people are infected with the coronavirus and over 246,000 individuals have succumbed to the virus (John Hopkins University). Globally, over 54 million people are infected and over 1.3 million have died. Again the US has 4% of the world’s population and more than 20% of the world’s infection number. On Friday, the US reported 184,514 Covid-19 cases in its worst day of the pandemic, according to figures from Johns Hopkins University. This is the highest number of cases reported in a single day in the country since the pandemic began, and continues a four-day streak of record-breaking totals.

The United States of America is the richest, most advanced nation in the world with the highest number of infections and death due to coronavirus. This is my friend, is not something we should proud of. We are supposed to be the beacon of hope for the rest of the world. The ways we handled this pandemic does not do that.

Positivity Rate:

Things that we need to take seriously is the positivity rate, or how many test position among the total number of tested. This is critical because it shows us that current stage of infection rate. The highest rate of positivity rate is in South Dakota with a positivity rate of 58.8%, following by 58.7% in Kansas, 52.6% in Iowa and 43.4% in Wyoming. My hometown of Washington D.C., has one of the lowest positivity rate (2.8%). Click here to see the positivity rate for all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

Hospital Admission Rate:

In addition to the rise in new covid cases we are also seeing a record high rate of hospitalizations, according to CNN. Covid-19 hospitalizations set a new record across the US: The United States has more people hospitalized with Covid-19 than ever before, according to the Covid Tracking Project (CTP). There were 68,516 current hospitalizations reported on Friday across the entire US, according to CTP. The seven-day average for current hospitalizations is now 62,123, which is up 20.01% from last week.

Hospital Capacity:

Furthermore, according to NPR, hospitals are nearing capacity in North and South Dakota, two states where coronavirus has hit disproportionately hard for their small population size and where cases continue to rise daily. The largely rural state of N.D. had seen only mild outbreaks in the spring and summer when other parts of the country were hard hit. As of Thursday the state was seeing an average of 1,334 new cases per day, after seeing no more than 400 a day in the summer.

The current hospitalization is so bad that if the current trend continues, pretty soon hospitals will have to ration care. My dear friends, that is not good. Another issue is are seeing now is that those with pre-existing illness, such as cancer, and other chronic conditions are waiting to get care, which leads to hospitalization when they are too sick. I have experienced that first hand with my mom, whose treatment was delayed far enough causing her to be hospitalized for a week.

Toll on the Frontline Healthcare Workers:

With the devastating surges in new cases and hospitalization, the coronavirus pandemic is having a detrimental effect on the frontline healthcare staff. In addition to increased exposure risk, they are dealing with the devastating mental health effect of the coronavirus pandemic. According to a study published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) last month, healthcare workers have experienced significant physical and psychological risk while working during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Another article published in Current Psychiatry Report, reviewed 44 articles looked at the impact of endemic, pandemic on healthcare workers. The researcher found that between 11 and 73.4% healthcare workers, mainly including physicians, nurses, and auxiliary staff, reported post-traumatic stress symptoms during outbreaks, with symptoms lasting after 1-3 years in 10-40%. the symptoms included, depression, insomnia, and severe anxiety symptoms. Talking to my healthcare provider friends made me realize the devastating impact of the pandemic. These heroes are tired, burned out and having to deal with the psychological trauma along with the increased exposure risk.

COVID-19 Impact on Education:

The school lockdowns that started in the spring of 2020 reduced instructional and learning time, which are known to impede student performance, with disparate impacts on different groups of students. This is particularly impeding among low income population who may not have access to a computer with internet. Students from privileged backgrounds, supported by their parents and eager and able to learn, could find their way past closed school doors to alternative learning opportunities. Those from disadvantaged backgrounds often remained shut out when their schools shut down.

The coronavirus crisis has exposed the many inadequacies and inequities in our education systems – from access to the broadband and computers needed for online education, and the supportive environments needed to focus on learning, up to the misalignment between resources and needs.

Economic and Financial Impact of the Coronavirus Pandemic:

Finally, the economic impact of COVID-19 is even more dire. When the Federal government and the Federal Reserve injected a massive amount of stimulus into the economy thru the C.A.R.E. Act, there was a question of efficiency. However, we can now say that the initial stimulus was highly effective in avoiding a more catastrophic economic result. According to the Forbes magazine, prior to the pandemic, the U.S. economy was doing very well. Unemployment was at a 50-year low and inflation was also below the Fed’s target of 2.0%. However, because we closed a significant portion of the U.S. economy, ‘real’ GDP growth (i.e. the % increase/decrease in economic growth compared to one year prior, ‘net’ of inflation), fell during the second quarter by an astounding 31.40%. These are numbers not seen since the Great Depression.

Unemployment spiked to its highest rate in the post WWII era, hitting 14.7% earlier this year. Although the rate has fallen for five consecutive months, it is still well above its February reading of 3.5%. In the meantime, those furloughed from the leisure & hospitality and airline industries are left wondering if help will come. Many don’t know if they will be evicted from their homes for not paying rent/mortgage. They are worried about not being able to put food on the table. This is evident with the increased lines at food banks. Besides, many companies have closed forever, leaving its employees to find other job opportunities. With more workers seeking fewer jobs, it could create a labor market which favors the employer and lead to slow wage growth.

When it comes to the financial market, according to Forbes, U.S. stocks peaked February 12, held steady until February 19, then fell over 37%, bottoming March 23. From there, stocks rose substantially until they peaked again September 2. It’s important to point out that stocks (i.e. the entire U.S. market) were more than 58% overvalued at the February peak. By September 2, stocks were a whopping 87.5% overvalued, the highest number ever, surpassing even the Tech Bubble in March 2000 when stocks were 49% overvalued. In addition, the market seems to have taken the election of Biden-Harris favorable.

According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), there’s a real financial disconnect between the stock market and the economy, and while the disconnect could narrow if a swift and sustainable economic recovery materializes, the opposite could happen if the economic recovery is delayed due to it taking longer to get COVID-19 under control. The IMF further mentioned, “As long as investors believe that markets will continue to benefit from policy support, asset valuations may stay elevated for some time. Nonetheless, and especially if the economic recovery is delayed, there is a risk of a sharp adjustment in asset prices or periodic bouts of volatility,”

The Power Within All of Us.

My dear lovelies! We have seen that detrimental impact of the coronavirus pandemic on mortality, health, wealth, education and the economy. However, if we all work together we can not only save lives, and protect, children’s education, the overburdened healthcare and the volatile economy. If we all work together, wear mask, social distance and avoid social gathering and support each other, we will finally be able to curve the sharp rise. The winter will be long and relentless but we can curve the pandemic only if we all work together.

My dear lovelies, I want to remind you again of Dr. Seuss’s Horton Hears a Who, where in order to save Whoville, Horton asks the people of Whoville to make as much noise as they can, to prove their existence. So almost everyone in Whoville shouts, sings, and plays instruments, but still, no one but Horton can hear them. So the Mayor searches Whoville until he finds a very small shirker named JoJo, carries him to the top of Eiffelberg Tower, where JoJo shouts out a loud “Yopp!”, which finally makes the kangaroo and the monkeys hear the Whos, and are convinced of the Whos’ existence. Each one of us need to do our part to finally break the barrier and curve this virus.

I just want to remind you that “A person is a person, no matter how small”. Remember, the noise of small JoJo made the ultimate difference and broke through the barriers. Before you decide to be noncompliant, remember your little sacrifice may be the noise of JoJo that will make the ultimate difference.

I leave the decision up to you. Just remember, if you don’t follow the guidelines, no one will listen. I will again,end these famous words of President John F Kennedy, “Ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do you for your country.” Wearing, social distancing, and avoiding social gathering, that’s what you can do for your country. I am doing my part. Will you?

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