It was hard for almost anyone in America to understand what a real pandemic would be like. Who could imagine that the nation with the most sophisticated and advanced healthcare system in the world could not prevent a wave of tens of millions of virus-driven cases and almost one million deaths? And, even harder to imagine was that the disease could come in waves, with the worst wave (the fourth one) starting just weeks ago, despite a huge push for vaccination which has caused tens of millions of Americans to get shots?
What most people could not fathom is that the virus would have variants that could become more dangerous as each one emerged, or that a high percentage of Americans would reject vaccines completely, despite rock-solid research that this would put many in grave danger.
This spread of COVID-19 has shown that almost no one is safe in an effort to prevent infection. That has become particularly true with the new Omicron variant which is extremely transmissible. Vaccination, mask-wearing, and social distancing have become critical to individual protection, as much as at any time in the past. However, some of the people who have followed these protocols most carefully have gotten sick. So have some vaccinated people. These will contribute to the overflow of hospitals treating people with the virus. Once again, some of these hospitals will need to triage who should be treated, and perhaps, who will not be.
There are several ways to measure how safe a geographic area is. Among these are new cases, deaths, hospitalizations, and vaccinations. And, these can be measured by averages over seven days, or a 14 day period. For vaccinations, the yardstick is the percentage of the population that has received a shot, or two, or three.
24/7 Wall St. uses new cases per 100,000 people on a trailing seven-day average to determine safety. That number is 61 nationwide. This translates into 201,330 cases nationwide. The figure has risen 69% over the last 14 days.
The state with the lowest figure is 15 per 100,000 in Montana which is 159 cases. The figure has dropped 25% over the 14 day period.
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