On June 22, 2020, the DHHR reported that a total of 43 Putnam residents had contracted Covid-19 since the onset of the pandemic. Three hundred and sixty-five days later, the county total was 5,319. On June 22, 2020, there were 17 active Covid cases and no deaths in the county. One year later, the active case number was 52 and 93 Covid deaths.
These numbers alone are not a reason to say that Covid is less severe than it was 12 months ago. There is, however, good reason to believe that Covid is going away. Putnam’s highest active case number was 1,033 on December 6, 2020. The decline in active cases is, in part, due to the effectiveness of the Fizer and Moderna vaccines. As of June 22, 41.4% of county residents were fully vaccinated and another 6.8% had received the first shot only. Putnam fully vaccinated rate is 2.9% higher than the state average. The county single shot rate is 4.5% higher than statewide.
The vaccination rate, coupled with the five thousand-plus individuals who have contracted the disease and recovered, means that Putnam is closing in on numbers needed for herd immunity. The Spanish Flu pandemic of 1918 died out in 1920 when 60% of the population had developed antibodies to the disease.
While it is still possible for the coronavirus to return when the days begin to shorten in the fall, fear of the disease is in the rearview mirror. Fear of the unknown closed public schools in 2020. Knowledge of the severity among school age children was cause to reopen the schools in 2021. If government officials had known in 2020 of the low risk of Covid to the below 20 year-old group, most states would have never closed schools.
Scare talk of the Delta strain of Covid-19 is scare talk. The vaccine is equally effective on all Covid strains. Those who have developed coronavirus antibodies to other strains are better equipped to defeat Delta.
The worst is most definitely past. While it is impossible to know the unknown, closing schools made a bad situation worse. We now see that through the rearview mirror.