Covid cases are clearly dropping in Bucks County from the high levels found in October. Some people believe it may be time to relax the safeguards. In effect, to drop the masks.
But an outbreak of coronavirus cases was found in seven Gayman Elementary School classes the last week of October.
The Central Bucks school district reported 28 cases in Gayman, located in Doylestown. The highest counts elsewhere that same week were 9 cases in Central Bucks East and 7 in both Jamison Elementary School, in Warwick Township, and Bridge Valley Elementary School, in Furlong, PA. Here is the weekly summary from the Central Bucks School District.
The Pennsylvania Department of Health shows that Bucks County still averages 126 new cases a day. Its positive test rate is higher than Montgomery County, 6%, enough to classify it as requiring people to wear masks and maintain social distance in enclosed spaces because there is a risk to unvaccinated people.
Only 65% of those over the age of 12 are vaccinated in Bucks County. Some 88% of people over 65 have received their vaccinations, but that leaves a large number of people vulnerable. There are much better treatments for Covid these days, but people still die.
A lot of positive test results come with mild or no symptoms. But if a patient is very sick, it’s important to know which hospital to go to. Right now Bucks County has 78 Covid patients in the hospital, 16 of them in the ICU. Doylestown has plenty of ICU beds open. But that is not the case with St. Lukes in Quakertown. All of its ICU beds are full at this moment.
So let’s talk about the children, who are among the most vulnerable because they have not been vaccinated and because they gather in those little disease-swarms known as schoolrooms. Some parents are reluctant to have their children vaccinated against Covid. Those are often the parents who are “anti-vaxxers.” And they have their reasons, religious or theoretical. But their opinions should not stop other parents who would normally follow through with other childhood vaccinations for whooping cough, measles and mumps. Or a yearly flu shot. It may be that a yearly Covid booster shot is in all of our futures.
Because it seems far too soon to relax our guard against the new strain of Covid, properly known as the B.1.617.2. (Delta) Variant. We must also come to grips with the fact that other Covid variants, just as there are other flu strains, may be on the horizon, a recurring threat to health, commerce, education and our former way of life.
It would be nice to be able to return to normal, but after Covid-19 that may not be possible. There may never be normal again, especially if another ultracontagious virus appears.