Across America and the Atlantic Ocean, COVID-19 stats are worsening yet again. And to hardly anyone’s surprise, we also see signs of a continuing surge here in Nevada. So why are our stats so concerning, and how does this relate to how the virus continues to spread around the world?
First, here’s our weekly Nevada COVID-19 check-up.
In better news, the new and improved Nevada Health Response dashboard and The Nevada Independent’s COVID-19 tracker show average daily confirmed case growth staying at 0.7% and well below both the explosive growth we saw in the early weeks of the pandemic and the peak of our July/August “summer surge”. COVID-19 hospitalization stats have also come down a bit, and the confirmed and suspected statewide total now sits at 485, although the number of COVID-19 patients in hospital intensive care units (ICU’s) has ticked upward to 148.
In worse news the Indy’s tracker shows Nevada’s cumulative test positivity rate ticking up to 11.9%, and the seven-day test positivity average recently breached 20% for the first time since August before ticking back down towards 17%. Just as a reminder, that’s over three times the WHO’s recommended 5% test positivity benchmark for safe reopening. And as of today, Washoe, Lyon, Elko, Lincoln, and Clark Counties remain flagged for heightened risk on the state’s watch list.
According to Covid Act Now, Nevada’s overall infection rate remains at an alarmingly high 1.13, or every 100 COVID-19 infections leading to another 113 new infections. Not only is Clark County’s infection rate still high at 1.12, but Washoe County’s has jumped back to 1.09, Carson City’s has rebounded to 1.10, Elko County’s has surged to 1.16, and Nye County now has the highest infection rate in the state at 1.19.
As I alluded to in the introduction, we’re far from alone. Rather, as The Washington Post has recently noted, COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations are on the rise again across the U.S. and throughout Europe. Yet while the French, German, and Italian governments have begun to tighten their respective health safety rules to rein in Europe’s “second wave” of COVID-19, the U.S. remains highly vulnerable due to the Trump administration’s promotion of dangerous “herd immunity” pseudoscience.
“It is individual behavior that causes a wave or not. Hopefully, we’ll be able to squash whatever potential wave or increase has started.”
– Julia Peek, Nevada Health Response
Contrary to President Donald Trump’s and other top Republicans’ assertions to the contrary, Nevada state health officials called for continued vigilance amidst this latest uptick in infections. When asked about Governor Steve Sisolak’s (D) loosening of the state’s health safety rules since June, Nevada COVID-19 Response Director Caleb Cage countered, “When we have more opportunities for community groups to gather together, we face higher risk of community spread. Our hope is that our [current health safety rules] will help in mitigating this risk of higher spread.”
Nevada Department of Health and Human Services Deputy Administrator for Public and Behavioral Health Julia Peek pointed to Cage’s own bout with COVID-19 as proof that this virus is far from over. While Peek acknowledged the general public’s struggles with “COVID Fatigue”, she countered, “It is individual behavior that causes a wave or not. Hopefully, we’ll be able to squash whatever potential wave or increase has started.” She then added, “Do not relax COVID-19 mitigation measures. It is very real and present in our lives.”
If you’re in need of medical treatment, contact your primary health care provider first. If you fear you can’t afford treatment from a hospital or doctor’s office, check with the Southern Nevada Health District, Washoe County Health District, Carson City Health and Human Services, or the Nevada Department of Health and Human Services for resources in your area. For 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.