Perhaps the most important figure released by area health departments on Friday (Sep. 4th) was the number of people who have recovered from COVID-19. Yes, we've had deaths and some people have nearly died but managed to survive the virus, but the number who have recovered is now growing faster than the number of new cases in our area.
Lincoln County reported 1,071 recovered; Catawba County had 2,438 as of Wednesday; Gaston County reports 2,931 residents have recovered; and Cleveland County says it has had 1,525 recover. Significantly, the number who have recovered in all cases far exceeds the number who have died.
We're not ready to join those who want to declare the emergency over, to claim it's a political trick or a Chinese biological invasion, or any of the other conspiracy theories or efforts to minimize what is truly a real medical crisis; but the things we've been doing to slow the spread of the disease, the 3W's that have been suggested, ARE working.
One of our Facebook friends posted a long commentary this week calling for an end to some of the things that have been done. She said she was ready for some football! Certainly, there are many who have made very sincere appeals to get the kids back in school full-time; but I would offer the same cautionary phrase that I have uttered many times before related to other crises--'you don't start redecorating until you put out the fire!'
The pandemic is NOT over. We may experience an increase in new cases because of Labor Day gatherings and medical experts are concerned that a combination of the coronavirus and flu this Fall may increase the risk of serious illnesses and deaths.
We are pleased that more people seem to be taking wearing facial coverings seriously--understanding that it's not so much for their own protection as to keep from possibly spreading the disease to others.
I've said from the beginning--back in March--that I don't think what we're doing now can long-term be our 'new normal.' I have also said that I don't think it will have to be. The 1918 flu pandemic ended, mostly after about a year. It didn't end because of a vaccine--no flu vaccine was created until the 1940s. It didn't end because of any great medical breakthrough. It ended in part because people did some of the same things then that most of us have been doing now--wearing the masks, avoiding crowds, etc. I have said--and still believe--that a year or two down the road, this will all be just a bad memory.
For now, we've got to keep it up--keep on wearing the masks, maintaining social distancing, washing our hands often, etc. We're doing it right--and the numbers prove it. Now is not the time to stop.