It goes from bad to worse with Covid

It should really not be a surprise that Pulaski County Special and North Little Rock school districts have made the pivot this week to virtual classrooms.

Covid cases in Arkansas are exploding and there’s no end in sight.

On Christmas, Arkansas had 9,942 Covid cases. This time last week, that number had not quite doubled to 18,644, on Wednesday, it had more than doubled to 38,154. New numbers won’t be released until later today, but there’s a 100 percent certainty that the state will see more cases.

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The reality is, there’s many, many more active cases in Arkansas as home tests aren’t recorded by the Arkansas Department of Health and given the lines at the drive-through test sites, more people are seeking out tests. More people are concerned and, frankly, they should be.

The ongoing pandemic is still ongoing. There’s tools to fight it – vaccines, masks – but some are unwilling to use them, which is stupid. 

Look at the deaths.

This time last week, Arkansas had 9,113 Covid fatalities. On Wednesday, it was at 9,256. That means 143 more people have died. Deaths are what’s known as a lagging indicator. It means that, roughly, as cases go up, it takes about two weeks for deaths to catch up.

Two weeks ago it was right before Christmas and Arkansas had 9,572 cases. The state has since added nearly 30,000 cases. With a 1.5 percent mortality rate, and some quick math, that would mean weekly deaths would increase to 450 here.

That’s also the forecast by the University of Southern California and last week, USC had projected total deaths in Arkansas to be 10,700 by Jan. 22. That forecast is now calling for more than 11,500 dead by Feb. 1. The report for Arkansas from the Centers for Disease Control is above. It is from Jan. 3 and nationally, the CDC projects that the country could see a top end total of 99,008 additional deaths in the next four weeks. Last week, that forecast was for 40,000 additional deaths.

It is not complicated. The people who are getting sick and dying are people who chose to not get vaccinated. It is, as President Joe Biden said, “this is a pandemic of the unvaccinated.” What’s more important to note is that he said that last September.

Of the eligible population, 5 and up, 53.1 percent of the state is vaccinated. That’s too low.

The best way to protect yourself against this fatal disease is to get vaccinated. And if you have done that, then get boosted.

Again, act like your life depends on it because it does. So get vaccinated, get boosted, wear a mask and avoid crowds to see another day.