It’s been said that “if you’ve seen one pandemic you’ve seen… one pandemic” and this one continues to fit that pattern. Virologists and epidemiologists are doing their best to make predictions, while doctors, nurses, and politicians are doing their best to keep people safe, but it’s pretty hard, especially when their advice is frequently ignored.
It’s been a long road – almost two years and counting – and there is absolutely no way to know what’s coming. There will be new variants (I read about one just today) and we don’t know what they are going to bring.
For the moment, the news is at least momentarily better — the Omicron variant, which created a lot of cases, fast, since Thanksgiving, seems to be waning. Cases are down from their peaks a couple of weeks ago.
Wellspan Gettysburg Hospital which peaked on Jan. 16 with 56 hospitalized COVID-19 patients, the highest of the pandemic by far (last year’s winter surge had as many as 42 patients), is now down to only 28. That’s still a lot, and the hospital is still full, but it is better.
Hospital administrators say they are hopeful these trends will continue to reduce stresses on the healthcare system and allow the hospitals to reschedule deferred surgeries and procedures for patients seeking care unrelated to COVID-19.
This dip, which was predicted by scientists, is probably in part because the virus has already infected so many people and also because people are being more careful. I noticed the employees at Kennies Market in Gettysburg, after taking off their masks for a while, have them on again.
The cost to the county is impossible to measure, but it’s substantial. In addition to the hospitalizations and the 314 deaths, about 1 out of every 5 people (over 22,000 total) has tested positive for Covid since the pandemic began, and that has caused major disruptions, not only to medical care, but also to businesses and schools.