Sigh. We’re all getting at least somewhat weary. Another month, another report on the pandemic because too few people are wearing masks, and too few people are social distancing. At the same time, thanks to all of the islanders who are acting responsibly, wearing masks, social distancing, washing hands, and helping out. November and then December saw more Covid-19 cases than we saw during the peak back in April.
Another bit of good news is that the vaccine has arrived on the island. That’s a nice way to start the new year. As in any crisis, rumors and conspiracies run ahead of and around the news. When in doubt, go directly to Island County Public Health, or Washington State Department of Health, or the Center for Disease Control. The amount of resources devoted to fighting the pandemic is impressive. The job is also so large that healthcare providers are burning out. A year is a long time to fight anything, and we’re not done yet.
One thing hasn’t changed significantly. As difficult as the situation is in Island County, the county is doing better than many counties in Washington, and Washington is doing better than most states in the US. Applause, bows, and congratulations to states like Hawaii – one of the states that takes distancing seriously thanks to the biggest moat available, the Pacific Ocean. Washington State’s neighbors, however, are having issues. Again, thanks to the responsible islanders who are helping guard the island with such simple measures.
Within the county, the biggest population center and the place with the greatest population density remains the place with the highest incidence of infections (62%). Not a surprise. The fact that may be a surprise is that young people (20-39 years old) are the most likely to be infected (43%). The two statistics may simply reflect the demographics that Oak Harbor has the lowest median age in the county.
Restrictions continue. The vaccine raises hopes that the restrictions will soon be raised, though that may take months. At least this is winter, a good time stay indoors in any year; a season when people regularly wear (ski) masks, anyway; and a typically quiet time for businesses between the holidays and the touristy summer. Summer. Let’s hope (and work towards) the pandemic retreating in time for us to play on the beach, have fairs and parades and parties, and generally get back to enjoying life without restrictions.