COVID-19 continues to spread. The pandemic continues to rage, despite some politicians’ and pundits’ rush to declare, “COVID-19 is over.” As summer nears its end, let’s assess how we’re doing and what we’ll probably have to do in order to survive the fall.
Today’s Nevada COVID-19 check-up: Our statewide infection rate continues to trend lower, but Washoe County and rural Northern Nevada continue to suffer the most severe outbreaks. Hospitalizations and new deaths also trend lower, but remain well above our springtime lows. Vaccinations continue to tick higher, as over 47% of Nevadans are now fully vaccinated.
According to Covid Act Now, Nevada’s statewide COVID-19 infection rate has slipped further to 1.02, meaning that every 100 COVID-19 infections will lead to another 102 new infections. Humboldt (0.85), Clark (0.96), and Lyon (0.99) Counties have infection rates under 1.00, while Nye (1.05), Carson City (1.07), Douglas (1.08), Elko (1.08), White Pine (1.13), Churchill (1.13), Pershing (1.14), Lincoln (1.16), Washoe (1.16), and Lander (1.33!) Counties are all suffering more rapid spread. Statewide, we’re seeing 35.2 new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 per day. Pershing (12.7), Storey (13.9), Esmeralda (16.4), White Pine (23.9!), Clark (28.8!), Humboldt (30.6!), Eureka (35.2!), Elko (37.6!), Lander (38.7!), Lincoln (44.1!!), Nye (49.7!!), Carson City (53.7!!!), Douglas (54.6!!!), Lyon (54.6!!!), Washoe (57.4!!!), and Churchill (61.9!!!!) Counties are all suffering high caseloads (as in, over new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 per day).
According to the official Nevada Health Response dashboard and The Nevada Independent’s COVID-19 data tracker, Nevada’s 14-day test positivity average based on “new positives as a percentage of new test encounters” has slipped lower to 12.3%. According to the Mayo Clinic, our statewide seven-day test positivity average has slipped a little to 14.02%. According to the Scripps Institute’s Outbreak.info, the Delta variant (B.1617.2) remains dominant: Delta and its sub lineages account for 99% of new cases in the last 30 days, and 96% of new cases in the last 60 days.
Need help getting vaccinated?@ACLgov trained staff are standing by to help you find vaccine locations, make appointments, and connect to local services and supports if you need them to access vaccines.
More info at 888-677-1199 or by email at DIAL@n4a.org pic.twitter.com/7LP70Zja0D
— NevadaDHHS (@DhhsNevada) August 30, 2021
This week, our COVID-19 hospitalizations continue to subside. According to Nevada Health Response, our hospitals are treating 1,086 confirmed COVID-19 patients and an additional 72 patients who probably have COVID-19, for a total of 1,158 confirmed and suspected COVID-19 hospitalized patients – another noticeable drop, but still on par with “Winter Surge” levels when the vaccines weren’t yet available to the general public. Nevada public health officials are reporting a total of 6,510 confirmed COVID-19 deaths as of mid-day today, and we’re averaging about 23 COVID-19 deaths per day.
According to the CDC’s COVID-19 Data Tracker (as of this morning), 3,709,740 total doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been delivered to Nevada, and 3,206,423 COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered and recorded. 1,786,070 patients have received at least one vaccine dose, meaning an estimated 58% of Nevadans (and more specifically, 70.1% of Nevada adults) have at least initiated the vaccination process, and 1,473,532 Nevada patients are now fully vaccinated, meaning an estimated 47.8% of Nevadans (and more specifically, 58.5% of Nevada adults) are fully vaccinated. (Editor’s Note: I posted a special story last week on my own family’s COVID-19 pandemic experience in hopes of revealing the real human stories behind the seemingly cold, hard statistics.)
“People who are fully vaccinated and masked can travel. People need to take their own risks into consideration while they travel.”
– CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky
In stark contrast to the more cheerful “America is back!” messaging that we noticed in advance of the Memorial Day and Independence Day holiday weekends, today’s White House COVID-19 Briefing featured more somber reminders of the ongoing threat of the Delta Surge. During her segment, CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky encouraged Americans to do more outdoor events, mask up in public indoor spaces, and encouraged any unvaccinated friends and family to get vaccinated in order to help America overcome this latest surge in infections. As she acknowledged the nation’s struggle with “COVID Fatigue”, she stated, “Masks are not forever, but they are for now.”
When asked by reporters about the federal government doing little to regulate travel besides the airplane mask mandate and some remaining international travel restrictions, Dr. Walensky insisted, “We receive travel health notices and watch them daily. We update our travel guidance by country in real time.” She then added, “People who are fully vaccinated and masked can travel. People need to take their own risks into consideration while they travel.”
As we’ve been documenting on this site throughout the summer season, major events with large crowds of unvaccinated travelers – such as the Country Jam festival in Grand Junction, Colorado, the Sturgis Rally in South Dakota’s Black Hills, and the summer tourism season right here in Southern Nevada – have become dangerous COVID-19 hotspots. Yet while other countries charge ahead with vaccine passports and overall stronger public health safety plans, America has largely outsourced vaccine passport policymaking to the private sector.
“The bottom line: Get vaccinated.”
– Dr. Anthony Fauci, Chief Medical Advisor to President Joe Biden
On that last point, White House COVID-19 Response Coordinator Jeff Zients hailed the growing private sector embrace of vaccine passports and other types of vaccination requirements. As Zients put it, “Bottom line: Vaccination requirements work. They drive up vaccination rates. We need more businesses and [public agencies] to step up and do their part.”
As Americans increasingly get jittery over back-to-school season – and more specifically, the steady stream of COVID-19 outbreaks at schools across the nation (including here in Nevada) – Dr. Walensky stressed, “We are encouraging schools to follow our guidance as they manage their outbreaks to work to get students back to school safely.” Under Governor Steve Sisolak’s (D) Emergency Directive 048, Nevada schools already have mask rules in place. But elsewhere across the country, most states either have no universal masking and vaccination rules or outright restrictions on local school districts’ ability to impose their own public health safety rules.
Dr. Walensky also noted how parents can act to protect their kids: “Parents can protect their children by getting vaccinated themselves.” And as he debunked anti-vaccine activists’ lies about the COVID-19 vaccines and their alleged effect on human fertility, NIAID Director Dr. Anthony Fauci insisted, “Of over 35,000 women who participated [in pre-authorization trials], there were no incidents among the women who received the mRNA COVID-19 vaccines. The bottom line: Get vaccinated.”
If you have further questions about COVID-19 and your health, check Immunize Nevada for more information on vaccine availability in your area, check Nevada Health Response for testing in your area, and check Nevada 211 for more health care resources. If you’re in need of additional aid, check the Nevada Current’s and Battle Born Progress’ resource guides. If you can afford proper treatment and you are fortunate enough to help others in need, please donate to larger operations like Direct Relief and Mutual Aid Disaster Relief, and to local groups like Three Square. And for goodness sake, please maintain best practices to help stop the spread.
The cover photo is a screenshot taken by me.