Low daily COVID numbers don’t spell the end of the pandemic

COIVD updates have taken a back seat to the Russian escalation in Ukraine and gas prices

It’s been a while since you’ve heard an update on the new daily case numbers for coronavirus in Hamilton County. For that, you can thank the Russian escalation in Ukraine, and even gas prices.

While COVID has taken a back seat in our minds, it’s not gone, and the pandemic may not be an endemic any time soon.
Two years ago, Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert jokingly touched every microphone in the press room to mock the spread of COVID.

It turns out that Gobert HAD COVID, and the NBA would suspend its season days later.

A lot has changed since then. Look at how much gas is now compared to two years ago. What hasn’t changed is that COVID is still here, but it’s taken a back seat, and we all know that back seat drivers aren’t always welcome.

Dr. Jensen Hyde, an internist at Erlanger with a specialty in public health says, “Now we have a competing source of stress, more, essentially, than what’s going on in ways beyond in gas prices affect us as a country. I think there’s only so much that the body can tolerate in terms of, not just stress, but in terms of things that you can worry about at one time. So, I think that this being a competing interest has really out-competed the concern for COVID. I think that this, coupled with how long COVID has been a concern, that people are over it.”

A look at the latest new case numbers in Hamilton County show twelve new cases. That’s the lowest number of new cases since the county had nine on June 28th of last year. One month later, Delta hit, and cases went on a meteoric rise. A few months after that came Omicron. Hyde says to expect more.

“There will be other variants. We’re already seeing a sub-lineage of omicron in the U-K. We’ve tracked behind them as a country for everything since (the) alpha (variant), essentially. It would be a little bit foolish to think that we would somehow escape seeing this as well.”

When will this end? When will the pandemic become an endemic? The answer to that lies with science.

“When we get to a point where it is by and large predictable and manageable by the health care system, then that’s when we reach endemic level. So, I don’t think we’ve had any cycles thus far where it has been predictable or manageable, so I don’t think we’re there just yet,” says Hyde.

The Hamilton County Health Department doesn’t think we’re there, either. It continues to offer vaccines free of charge at their East 3rd Street campus and outlying clinics, and distributes test kits to the public as they are available.

Categories: Chattanooga, COVID-19, Featured, Hamilton County, Health, Local News