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A Step in the Right Direction, COVID Memorial, Finishing Strong
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A skier enjoys morning coffee on the patio of the Seattle Ridge Lodge as Sun Valley Resort encourages outdoor dining as a precaution during the pandemic.
 
 
Friday, January 1, 2021
 

STORY AND PHOTO BY KAREN BOSSICK

COVID GRAPH BY PAUL RIES

Finally.

Blaine County’s COVID risk assessment has improved, settling in the yellow or moderate category after months in the red, or critical, category, according to the Harvard Global Institute’s COVID risks assessment scale.

 
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Blaine County recorded five new cases of COVID on New Year’s Eve after having recorded 14 a day earlier for a total of 1,562 cases since mid-March. The county also recorded its 13th death due to coronavirus to close out the year.
 

But that doesn’t give anyone a hall pass to run out and throw a New Year’s Day party today.

There is still potential for virus spread because of increased community congestion around holiday events, Blaine County’s COVID risk assessment warns. And on Wednesday Blaine County had its worst day since Dec. 11 with 14 new cases of COVID reported.

Still, the news is promising, provided it isn’t simply due to fewer people seeking testing over the holidays. And provided the county doesn’t see a spike in cases due to gatherings at Christmas and New Year’s.

The county posted an average of 8.1 new cases per 100,000 residents during the week of Dec. 20-26. That’s down from 34.8 new cases the week before and 57.1 new cases the week before that.

 
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Idaho recorded 1,213 new cases of coronavirus on New Year’s Eve for a total of 141,077 thus far. The state recorded 27 new deaths for a total of 1,436.
 

And the county’s test positivity is 4.33 percent, down from 12.19 percent. That means only four of every 100 people being tested have the coronavirus. Anything above 5 percent suggests high coronavirus infection rates and high transmission in the community.

Even more important, the impact of COVID on both St. Luke’s Wood River and hospitals in Twin Falls and Boise is currently moderate, meaning there is some wiggle room.

Age wise, four people between the ages of 30 and 39 tested positive between Dec. 20 and 26. There were three positives among those aged 60 to 69 and two each in the age range of 18 to 29, 40 to 49 and 50 to 59.

No one 17 and under and 70 and above tested positive.

IDAHO VACCINATIONS

To date Idaho has received 56,225 doses of COVID-19 vaccine, all of which have been distributed to healthcare providers, including hospitals and public health districts. So far, 15,780 vaccinations have been delivered to health care workers and residents of long-term care facilities.

Of the doses received, 15,600 have been given Walgreens and CVS to administer in long-term care facilities. Idaho hopes to have nearly all long-term care facility residents and staff vaccinated by mid-February.

HIGHLY TRANSMISSIBLE

It’s safe to assume that the new strain of coronavirus that was recently found in the United Kingdom is everywhere in the United States. Including, possibly, the Wood River Valley.

We may never know just how many places it is, however, because America’s testing is not set up to zero in on it as readily as the testing of many other countries.

The new strain is up to 70 percent more contagious than the original because it’s able to bind to the receptors on cells better. Happily, those who have already been infected with the novel coronavirus may be safe from the new strain, according to research done by scientists in the United Kingdom.

Dr. Anthony Fauci says masking, physical distancing and hand washing will protect against it, just as these precautions help protect against the original strain.

MEMORIAL TO COVID VICTIMS

Cities and towns around the nation are being invited to light up their buildings and ring church bells at 5:30 p.m. Eastern Time on Monday, Jan. 19—the eve of the inauguration--to honor those who have died from the coronavirus. A celebration will be held at the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool in D.C., as well.

More than 340,000 Americans have died from the coronavirus and nearly 19.6 have been officially diagnosed with it, with many more believed to have had it without an official diagnosis.

FINISH STRONG

Ford Motor Company has scrapped its nationwide ad campaign for its new F-150 pickup in order to air a campaign asking Americans to “Finish Strong” in the battle against COVID-19 by wearing masks and following other scientifically recognized steps to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

The automaker already has played a role in the battle, producing 55 million masks, millions of face shields and 32,000 ventilators.

CAN WE WAIT A DECADE?

So far, the United States has vaccinated just a million people a week against the coronavirus. At that pace, it will take us more than a decade to vaccinate all Americans with the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, each of which require two doses, according to Dr. Celine Goundere, a member of the Biden-Harris transition COVID-19 advisory board.

Masks are our medicine right now until we get a vaccine in enough arms, the chief medical officer for University of Utah Health has told his fellow Utahns.

Utah doctors say coronaviruses spread more easily during winter when the air is less humid and particles linger in the air longer. Not only are our nasal membranes drier and more vulnerable to infection but we spend more time indoors without sufficient ventilation.

BACTERIA-KILLING JEANS?

Diesel, DL1961, Warp + Weft and Albini Group are touting new Viroformula fabrics that they say use silver to “inhibit viruses and kill bacteria upon contact on the surface in a few minutes,” according to Vox.

Vollebak has woven seven miles of copper, another purported germ slayer, to create a full metal jacket for a new era of disease. And US Denim Mills, which manufactures clothing in Pakistan, has a Safe for US antiviral collection with silver, copper and peppermint.

The L.A. company Lambs also has a snapback glove clothed in silver-threaded virus prevention fabric

All of these claims have their foundation in antimicrobial textile finishes that target odor-causing bacteria. And they say that their silver nanoparticles could disrupt cellular processes.

 

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