In his most recent Sheriff’s report, Sheriff Paul Hays wanted to encourage those who have not yet taken the Covid vaccinations to schedule an appointment to do so. “We are on the way to defeating this terrible virus, but until most people are vaccinated there is a potential for another round of illness. The vaccine is available for nearly anyone right now, so contact the Health Department in McKee if you wish to receive the vaccination. We have lost many lives and many people struggle to recover from this illness. Be proactive and help us all out.”
A “real-world” study of 3,950 people in six states found that two doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines cut the risk of infection by 90%. The findings are broadly in line with the 95% and 94% efficacy that the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines showed, respectively, in their clinical trials.
Data published from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention published Sunday indicate that twenty Kentucky counties (including Jackson County) have less than 10% of their populations fully vaccinated, including: Adair, Ballard, Calloway, Casey, Christian, Clay, Clinton, Elliott, Graves, Hart, Jackson, Lee, Lewis, McCreary, Meade, Rockcastle, Spencer, Taylor, Todd and Wayne, which has the lowest rate, 6.6%. Other low counties are Spencer, 6.7%; Casey, 6.9%; and Christian, 7.2%.
Superintendent Mike Smith indicated that approximately 48% of the teachers and staff of the Jackson County School District took advantage of their early opportunity to get vaccinated. But even with these vaccinations the total percentage of our county population that has been vaccinated remains below 10%. This makes the county vulnerable to another surge of the virus, especially since many places are relaxing or lifting COVID-19 restrictions and we are entering a period of time when people like to travel.
According to the CDC, the national average is 14.7% while the Kentucky average is 15.3%. Much of America's recent progress against Covid-19 has been erased as new infections jump nationwide. Now the director of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention said she's afraid of what will happen next. "What we've seen over the last week or so is a steady rise of cases," said CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky on Monday. "I know that travel is up, and I just worry that we will see the surges that we saw over the summer and over the winter again."
"I'm going to reflect on the recurring feeling I have of impending doom ... We have so much to look forward to, so much promise and potential of where we are and so much reason for hope. But right now, I'm scared."
The cause of her concern? A rising number of coronavirus cases in the United States. The most recent seven-day average is just below 60,000 cases per day – a 10% increase compared with the previous week.
Hospitalizations are up, too: about 4,800 admissions per day over the last week, up from an average 4,600 per day in the previous seven-day period. And deaths, which tend to lag cases and hospitalizations, have also begun to rise: increasing nearly 3%, to a seven-day average of about 1,000 per day.
The increase in US cases is most likely due to the effect of the more transmissible UK variant. The growing spread of variants makes it even more urgent for as many as people as possible to get vaccinated—not only in the US, but in countries around the world. Many countries are yet to vaccinate anyone. The more the virus is allowed to spread, the higher the chance of variants emerging—and potentially variants that can escape existing vaccines.
Before she became CDC director, Walensky was on the front lines of the pandemic, witnessing some patients die from Covid-19.
"I know what it's like as a physician to stand in that patient room -- gowned, gloved, masked, shielded -- and to be the last person to touch someone else's loved one, because they are not able to be there," she said. The US has come "such a long way," Walensky said, pleading with all Americans to keep masking up and "hold on a little while longer" as more people get vaccinated.