6/3/2020 5:15:00 PM More Deaths Reported From COVID-19
Wayne Howard Staff Writer
The number of positive tests for COVID-19 in Lincoln County is now 85. Still, the county is being impacted less than surrounding counties. 60 people are said to have recovered, two are awaiting test results, and the county still hasn't had a fatality.
Catawba County's death toll is now 9. 11 new cases were reported Wednesday, bringing the total of positive cases to 255. 149 of those are still active; 97 have recovered.
Catawba County Public Health is investigating a newly identified outbreak of COVID-19 at Brookdale Senior Living – Falling Creek, where two residents have tested positive for the virus. The assisted living facility is informing patients, their family members, and staff about the situation.
This is the fourth congregate care facility outbreak identified in Catawba County. In a congregate living setting, a COVID-19 outbreak is defined as two or more laboratory-confirmed cases. The others included Brian Center Viewmont and Abernethy Laurels in Newton.
Cleveland County's positive test results has now surpassed 100. 102 people there have tested positive for the disease. Cleveland County has had three deaths.
Gaston County has had 8 people die related to COVID-19. 254 are said to have recovered, and the county has 65 active cases.
Mecklenburg County has had 97 people die from the disease; 4670 have tested positive for it there.
The North Carolina death toll stood at 939 as of noon Wednesday. One good note: the number hospitalized with COVID-19 fell below 700 again; it was 684.
Nationally, the death count is now 108,974. The deaths per million population is now 329. Internationally, Sweden, which opted for fewer restrictions hoping for herd immunity, has now surpassed France in deaths per million at 450. France's deaths per million is 445. The deaths per million in other European countries stands at 585 in the United Kingdom, 580 in Spain, 556 in Italy, and 822 in Belgium. Germany, which took action early closing businesses and invoking other restrictions, has had 104 deaths per million, and Greece, which had the strictest controls in Europe, has kept its death toll to just 17 per million.
The Netherlands, which had restricted travel to and from other European countries, is relaxing those--allowing travel to Germany, Belgium, Italy and Croatia, all popular vacation destinations. The Prime Minister said France, Spain, Austria and Switzerland will be added later.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that groups of up to six people will be able to meet outside for picnics and barbecues, but they'll have to maintain social distancing. It was another small step toward relaxing lockdown measures.
Readers who read the Lincoln Herald article about Monday night's Lincoln County Commissioners meeting pointed out that almost nobody in the crowd who attended for the public hearing was wearing a mask. This reporter counted, and including me, there were five people who had a mask, one of them Commissioner Rich Permenter. Four other people who showed up at the end of the meeting as Commissioners were going into closed session also had on masks. I assumed they were there representing a firm that was to be included in the closed session discussion.
Most people are not wearing masks, nor are they engaging in social distancing (6 feet separation) while shopping or doing other things outside their homes. Only a scattered few of the protestors in Charlotte have been wearing masks, and none have been keeping separate from others.
The North Carolina Dept. of Health & Human Services and all county health departments have maintained that wearing a mask for your own protection and that of others is important, but the number of people who have decided that the virus that has killed over 385,000 people worldwide is a hoax and have chosen to believe various conspiracy theories continues to grow.
Epidemiology experts including Dr. Anthony Fauci say we are very likely to have a second wave of the virus. Exactly when it will happen is still unknown. Because the coronavirus is a highly contagious pathogen, they are urging lawmakers to be on the lookout for a sharp increase in cases that falls short of a full-blown second wave. President Trump says if that occurs, attention will be directed to the so-called "hot spots," but no major lockdown will be reimposed.
The experts agree that until we have an effective coronavirus vaccine, the only way to slow the spread of the virus is by taking precautions like social distancing, wearing face coverings in public and washing hands frequenty and taking other disinfecting steps like wiping shopping carts between customers.
Fauci says we may have a vaccine by the end of the year, but he warns that the vaccine may not provide protection for very long. The White House health advisor says the problem is that most viruses constantly mutate, so a vaccine may provide protection from a current version, but another may develop later, similar to what happens with the flu virus.
"When you look at the history of coronaviruses, the common coronaviruses that cause the common cold, the reports in the literature are that the durability of immunity that’s protective ranges from three to six months to almost always less than a year,” he said. “That’s not a lot of durability and protection.”
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