When Dr. David Goodfriend, director of the Loudoun County Health Department, said last week that the coronavirus is making a comeback, he wasn’t being alarmist — he was leveling with us.
As the virus was running rampant across the country late last year, many kept a close eye on “the curve.” The visual representation of the staggeringly high number of cases guided not just public policy, but also produced a visceral reaction with individual citizens, many of whom adjusted their daily routines regardless of what politicians or public health officials said.
And you can make the argument that the same is true today. The curve seemed to have gone flat a month ago, and as such restrictions were loosened and life in many ways roared back to normal.
But the curve, of course, wasn’t really flat. It just bottomed out.
Along with the comfort enjoyed by the now 4.5 million Virginians mostly protected from the virus because they are fully vaccinated, those who have to date held off from being inoculated have instead what you could arguably say is a false sense of security.
If you remove from the data those individuals who are fully vaccinated, the picture is far less rosy.
Nationally, the 14-day average of cases recorded has jumped 171% according to the New York Times COVID tracker. In Virginia the increase is up 160%.
That increase is taking place despite more than half of the population being fully vaccinated.
What’s particularly notable, though, is that this upswing is almost exclusively among the unvaccinated.
The Virginia Department of Health’s updated COVID dashboard allows you to parse data by vaccination status. Navigating it is illuminating.
More than 97% of the cases in Virginia since June 1 were among those who are not fully vaccinated.
Estimates suggest the delta variant of the virus is 50% more contagious than the one that overloaded hospitals and forced large swaths of the economy into shutdown.
“Vaccination is highly effective against the delta variant [and] extremely effective against serious infection with the delta variant or other variants,” Goodfriend said.
While side effects have been reported in all three vaccines approved by the F.D.A, in most people they are relatively minor. The only two warnings associated with the vaccines are for anaphylaxis and thrombosis, both of which are limited to the J&J shot and also exceedingly rare.
If you’ve waited to get the vaccine until there’s more data pointing to its safety and efficacy, it’s there — and it’s clear.