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What the Statistics Say About COVID Being Over

The fat lady has not sung.

The clear majority of Americans have moved on when it comes to COVID-19. We can see it in the vaccination rate for the fourth booster, we can see it in the number of people wearing masks and we can see it in mass gatherings of people — indoors, again, and who is wearing a mask?

Here are the statistics for Jan. 22:

  • 47,290 cases reported
  • 37,474 hospitalized
  • 489 deaths

These are not inconsequential numbers. The case number is likely a very low count since testing has also gone out the window and everyone who wants to has home test kits.

Then there are the hospitalizations — we know hospitals continue to be maxed out with patients stacked in hallways and emergency rooms. It doesn’t seem “normal” there!

Lastly, deaths. That 400+ number has persisted for a long time as a daily death toll.

Let me expand with one personal note on that number. It was about 10 days ago that Barbara Thurman, a retired emergency manager (age 84) became a COVID-19 statistic. I got a call from one of her sons to let me know she had passed. She had been in and out of the hospital, but it was COVID-19 and not some other co-morbidity that caused her death.

I hired Barb twice. Once when I was at Washington state emergency management and then again at King County emergency management. She worked in public education and had an emphasis on schools. Even in retirement she worked part time up until a couple of years ago on getting school participation in the “Great Washington ShakeOut” here in Washington state.

She was a giver and not a taker, volunteering her time and money, and she did not have much, in many good causes. She was very involved in helping what we might call at-risk kids graduate from an alternative high school in her home town. She worked to take care of their academic, mental and physical needs (many, if not most, were homeless).

If anything, she showed everyone how to live a life of service. She will be missed on many a front. God’s speed Barb!
Eric Holdeman is a contributing writer for Emergency Management magazine and is the former director of the King County, Wash., Office of Emergency Management.