COVID-19 numbers we should be paying attention to
As COVID-19 continues to spread in South Carolina, there are some disturbing trends. Saria Saccocio, MD, Ambulatory Chief Medical Officer at Prisma Health, called attention to three trends we should be aware of and offered advice on how we can get our state back on track.
Increasing positive cases among ages 20–40
We’re seeing a rapid increase in the rate of individuals age 20 to 40 with COVID-19 positive tests. This is happening in areas where people are socializing, not social distancing, and not wearing masks. It’s happening in places that have more retail, restaurants and bars. Why might this be happening? Many people are on their summer vacations. And frankly, people are worn out and tired of COVID-19. They just want to get back to living. But we tend to let our guard down when we’re on vacation. So, all of those factors are contributing to the challenges that we’re seeing now.
It’s important to remember the virus doesn’t discriminate. It’s just as deadly for younger people. And those who recover may have long-term effects, such as chronic lung or heart problems.
Increasing positive cases among healthcare workers
Just like anyone else in our communities, we are seeing a rise in the number of healthcare workers who are being infected with COVID-19. However, it is typically not a transmission from a patient in a medical setting. It’s happening in the community. When healthcare workers are sick, this leads to staffing shortages in our hospitals. And with the rising number of inpatients because of COVID-19, this can become a problem.
Increasing racial disparity in the death rate
What we’re seeing across the country is this great disparity between the deaths of African Americans and other ethnic groups, and we’re not sure why. We have also seen a disparity with heart attacks, strokes and certain other diseases. Is it access to care? Is it a lack of trust in care? Perhaps someone is waiting longer at home for fear that going to an emergency department or seeking care may expose them. Or it might confirm that they do indeed have COVID-19 or some other illness. We don’t have all of the answers. But it’s unacceptable. It’s a disparity. And we’ve got to identify the reasons why.
What can we do to stop the spread of COVID-19?
It is important to recognize that it’s everyone’s responsibility to keep our community safe. That means taking these precautions:
- Proper hand washing
- Social distancing at least six feet from one another
- Wearing masks
It has become even more critical that we do these things and that we are hyper vigilant because we all want our businesses to remain open, our kids to go back to school and our communities to be healthy.
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