A pandemic diary: Whoa

January 27, 2021

Dark storm clouds.

A wet, grey winter morning turned downright grim with the latest news about how bad the pandemic is in Atlanta. According to a nationwide county-by-county breakdown, published by the New York Times and based mainly on state data, my county is at “an extremely high risk level.” These are the depressing facts.

  • January has been the worst month for cases since March, when the first ones surfaced here.
  • The current count is “extremely high,” averaging 661 a day and staying roughly the same over the past two weeks.
  • The per capita average is 62 per 100,000, down a bit from last week but more than twice what it was in mid-November.
  • The test positivity rate is a “very high” 12%, which suggests cases are being significantly undercounted.
  • Hospitalizations are up. Ninety percent of ICU beds are occupied. In the two hospitals closest to me, the rates are 80% and 88%.
  • At least one in 14 county residents has been infected since the beginning, with over 75,000 cases in all.
  • One hundred people have died in the past two weeks.

We’re advised to avoid all indoor activities, events with more than a handful of people, and nonessential travel. Things are no better anywhere else in the metro area or in Georgia.

I’m used to all this and knew the local situation was dire, but these numbers are a gut punch. I’m waiting for that text that tells me I can get vaccinated. I sure hope it comes soon.

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David Swan

Writer, editor, ex-journalist, all-around communicator. Comfortable in real and fictional worlds. Always on the lookout for a great story.