Thursday, August 13, 2020
Nation’s Health Expert Suggest Idaho Shelter in Place to Stop Disease of Humanity
Blaine County has been trying to keep at bay the surge that has doubled hospitalizations across the state in the past 10 days and sent deaths ticking up.
Wednesday, July 22, 2020



One of the nation’s leading coronavirus researchers has suggested that Idaho should consider clamping down on travel and reissue stay-at-home orders.

“Has been a lot of focus on outbreaks in big states, like TX, GA, FL, AZ. Rightly so,” tweeted Dr. Ashish Jha, director of the Harvard Global Health Institute. “But one small state is experiencing a very bad situation, has gotten very little attention. Idaho. Their case numbers are up 1,366% since June 15.”

Idaho reported 556 new cases on Tuesday, sending its total soaring to 15,822. Twin Falls County had its best day this month with just five new cases, says Paul Ries. Their total is now 951.

Jha went on to note that there’s been a 652 percent increase in hospitalizations in Idaho, along with a  four-fold increase in deaths. Idaho is seeing 2.5 deaths daily compared with one death every other day a month ago, he said. (Four new deaths on Tuesday raised the toll to 127).

And, he added, 18.2 percent of COVID tests are coming back positive, compared with 3.7 percent a month ago.

“Very concerning rises in rural America, which has far less hospital capacity, less ability to surge,” he tweeted. “We have to help states like ID get this under control. For a while, some folks argued COVID was a disease of dense areas (i.e. cities). Turns out, it’s a disease of humanity.”

Idaho falls into the red category in the Harvard Global Health Institute’s recently published color-coded map, which assigns states a rating of green, yellow, orange or red based on the number of new daily cases of COVID-19 per 100,000 people over a seven-day average

Blaine County reported three new COVID cases on Tuesday—its worst day in a week. It has recorded 561 cases since mid-March.

Idaho currently has 30.4 daily new cases per 100,000 people over a seven-day moving average. By comparison, Texas, where a thousand people died in just 10 days as the virus rages there, has 36.6 daily new cases per 100,000.

Others in the red category include Mississippi, Tennessee, Georgia, South Carolina, Nevada, Alabama, Arizona and Louisiana. Florida, which leads the list, has 53.4 daily new cases per 100,000 population.

Blaine County has 4.3 daily new cases per 100,000 population, which puts it in a yellow cautionary category.

Seven of Idaho’s 44 counties, however, fall into the red category: Ada (51.9 new daily cases), Canyon (60.7), Gem (29.2), Jerome 31), Kootenai (25.8), Owyhee (55.6) and Payette 37.6). Almost half of Idaho’s counties, including Blaine, fall into the yellow category. Only four Idaho counties have not identified confirmed cases of COVID.

States in the yellow category have between one and nine new cases per day per 100,000 people and calls for a prescription of testing and contact tracing. States in the orange category have between 10 and 24 daily new cases and should consider reinstituting stay-at home orders, in addition to regular testing.

Twenty-five is considered the tipping point and authorities in states that surpass that number should definitely reinstitute stay-at-home orders, according to researchers.

The only green state on the map is Vermont, which has less than one daily new case of COVID-19 per 100,000 people. That means the disease is not considered to be spreading there and the community is “on the path to containment.”

To see the study, go to

Nationwide the United States has 15 new cases of COVID-19 per day per 100,000 people, compared with Mexico, which as 4.4, and Canada, which has 0.9.

People in the red zones where COVID-19 is spreading should reconsider traveling, noted researchers. Even those without symptoms could spread COVID-19 to others while traveling, according to Centers for Disease Control guidelines.

Research from Policylab at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia shows that travel is a huge driving factor. Spread, for instance, has been detected along I-80 between central Illinois and Iowa, along the I-95 corridor in cities like Wilmington, Del., and Baltimore and along the I-90 corridor across upstate New York, according to Forbes.

Dr. David Pate, who serves on Idaho’s coronavirus task force, told KTVB that he’s extremely alarmed about Idaho’s surge.

“When people look at the numbers and see 400, 500, 600 cases, they’ll think, ‘Wow. That’s a lot, big spike,’” he said. “I’m more alarmed because for every one of those, there’s probably another four to 10 people out there that are infected and have no idea.”



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