Roy Exum: A Matter Of Time

Sunday, July 25, 2021 - by Roy Exum
Roy Exum
Roy Exum

I sensed “something evil this way comes” when, in the middle of my “Morning Readings” on Sunday I went to the Orlando Sentinel’s website to peer in on the recent surge of COVID-19 virus. There is a new Delta variant that has just hit Florida and I wondered how bad it was. Apparently those who are vaccinated have a good resistance but for those who are not, it is pretty scary.

I had no idea how scary. Mind you, Florida has a population of 19.1 million people with a 60 percent vaccination rate. Tennessee has a population of 7 million with a 44 percent vaccination rate. Get this: Florida is off the charts, with 10 times more cases in less than a month. Four weeks ago, Florida was averaging about 1,500 new cases a day; now it is 13,256. That’s more than the entire nation has been averaging on a slow day in June.

So, I checked Tennessee on the COVID dashboard and last week we had 7,844 new cases – a jump of 145 percent from a week ago. Tennessee deaths are 131 (about a 300 percent increase) and it is obvious, even to someone a thick as myself, it is just a matter of time when Delta variant – already here - ignites a surge similar to Florida’s in Tennessee. And, remember, we have 20 percent fewer vaccinated than Florida.

Believe me, this isn’t political and this isn’t hype. These are real-life figures from two states away, and I am a realist. Florida hospitals are beginning to limit elective surgeries and ban visitors and the one thing any of us can do is get the vaccine as fast as you can. Virtually all of Florida’s hospital admissions are those who are not vaccinated.

Here an excerpt of how the Orlando Sentinel described Thursday’s weekly report from the state’s Department of Health:

* * *

282 COVID DEATHS, MORE THAN 73,000 CASES LAST WEEK 

The state Department of Health reported 73,166 new coronavirus cases this week among Florida residents to bring the cumulative total to 2,479,975. With 282 more fatalities, 38,670 Florida residents are now dead.

This week’s 282 deaths are up from the 231 last week, but deaths can take several days or weeks to be reported. Cases, though, jumped by more than 27,000 week over week, and positivity jumped as well to more than 15 percent.

The jump in weekly positive cases has not been seen since the end of January when the state was in the midst of a massive surge in positivity (testing) and COVID-related deaths, but also within the first months of vaccine availability. Reported deaths have been climbing the last three weeks, but are not near the January and February tolls that saw more than 1,000 weekly reported deaths several times.

Of note, the new state reports deal only with Florida resident cases – instead of residents and non-residents combined – because the non-resident numbers are no longer available in the new reports.

Across the state, hospitalizations are rising with 5,548 people were hospitalized with COVID-19 for the seven-day period from July 15-21, according to the latest White House report. In comparison, 3,652 were hospitalized the previous week. The week before that, it was 2,369.

Statewide, 11,469,755 residents, or 60 percent of ages 12 and up, have received at least one vaccination shot, including 9,914,406, who have completed their shot regimens. The count is a snapshot through July 22.

Statewide, the latest weekly positivity (testing) rate reported by the Florida Department of Health was 15.1 percent, but that’s for new cases only and excludes anyone who previously tested positive. That is up from 11.5 percent reported last week.

To me, these numbers are astounding. Image: from 2,369 hospitalizations to a documented 5,548 in just two weeks and Florida’s battle is far from over. The experts say Florida’s delta variant is still gaining momentum and the most ominous feature is the most glaring - only those who are not vaccinated are getting sick.
 
* * *
 
So, here’s the deal … and it is this simple. Take the vaccine or take your chances. Last week in Florida there were 5,548 who were hospitalized and some of those will die. Yes, if you take the first shot tomorrow your odds aren’t as good as somebody who is fully vaccinated but they are better than somebody who is not.
 
* * *
 
WHERE TO GET THE VACCINE THIS WEEK
 
The Hamilton County Health Department is offering (Pfizer) COVID-19 vaccination events at multiple locations this week. There is no charge. No appointment is necessary and anyone 12 years of age and older is eligible. The vaccination event calendar is available at vaccine.hamiltontn.gov. Visit the webpage frequently as new events are added throughout the week. The COVID-19 hotline is available to answer your questions at 423-209-8383.
 
MONDAY, JULY 26, 2021
* -- Tennessee Riverpark
4301 Amnicola Hwy, Chattanooga, TN 37402
9AM-6PM
* -- Hamilton County Health Department Back-to-School Event
921 E 3rd St, Chattanooga, TN 37403
8AM-4PM
* -- Sequoyah Health Center Back-to-School Event
9527 W Ridge Trail Rd, Soddy-Daisy, TN 37379
8AM-4PM
* -- Spero Health
7030 Lee Hwy. Suite 201, Chattanooga, TN 37421
3PM-5PM
- - -
TUESDAY JULY 27, 2021
Tennessee Riverpark
4301 Amnicola Hwy, Chattanooga, TN 37402
9AM-6PM
* -- Hamilton County Health Department Back-to-School Event
921 E 3rd St, Chattanooga, TN 37403
8AM-4PM
* -- Sequoyah Health Center Back-to-School Event
9527 W Ridge Trail Rd, Soddy-Daisy, TN 37379
8AM-4PM
- - -
WEDNESDAY, JULY 28, 2021
* -- Tennessee Riverpark
4301 Amnicola Hwy, Chattanooga, TN 37402
9AM-6PM
* -- Hamilton County Health Department Back-to-School Event
921 E 3rd St, Chattanooga, TN 37403
8AM-4PM
* -- Sequoyah Health Center Back-to-School Event
9527 W Ridge Trail Rd, Soddy-Daisy, TN 37379
8AM-4PM
* -- Ooltewah Health Center Back-to-School Event
5520 High St, Ooltewah, TN 37363
8AM-4PM
* -- Birchwood Clinic
5625 TN-60 Birchwood, TN 37308
8AM-3:30PM
- - -
THURSDAY JULY 29, 2021
* -- Tennessee Riverpark
4301 Amnicola Hwy, Chattanooga, TN 37402
9AM-6PM
* -- Hamilton County Health Department Back-to-School Event
921 E 3rd St, Chattanooga, TN 37403
8AM-4PM
* -- Sequoyah Health Center Back-to-School Event
9527 W Ridge Trail Rd, Soddy-Daisy, TN 37379
8AM-4PM
* -- Ooltewah Health Center Back-to-School Event
5520 High St, Ooltewah, TN 37363
8AM-4PM
- - -
FRIDAY JULY 30, 2021
* -- Tennessee Riverpark
4301 Amnicola Hwy, Chattanooga, TN 37402
9AM-6PM
* -- Hamilton County Health Department Back-to-School Event
921 E 3rd St, Chattanooga, TN 37403
8AM-4PM
* -- Sequoyah Health Center Back-to-School Event
9527 W Ridge Trail Rd, Soddy-Daisy, TN 37379
8AM-4PM
* -- La Paz
1402 Bailey Ave, Chattanooga, TN 37404
1PM-3PM
- - -
SATURDAY JULY 31, 2021
* -- Tennessee Riverpark
4301 Amnicola Hwy, Chattanooga, TN 37402
9AM-3PM
* -- Hamilton County Health Department Back-to-School Event
921 E 3rd St, Chattanooga, TN 37403
8AM-12PM
To accelerate the vaccination process, print and complete the vaccine encounter form available under the “handouts” tab at vaccine.hamiltontn.gov.
 
COVID VACCINES ARE also immediately available at no charge at most Walgreen’s stores, Walmart’s, and CVS Pharmacies on ‘walk-up’ demand.
 

 



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