Numbers do not lie. Comparing Putnam Covid case numbers in July of this year to case numbers on July of last year, however, is much like comparing apples and oranges.
In July of 2020, relatively few county residents had been exposed to the disease and, far fewer infected. Very few had been tested for the disease. In the last twelve months, untold numbers have been exposed to Covid and nearly ten percent of Putnam’s 56,450 residents have contracted the disease. The number of confirmed and probable case numbers has grown from 50 to more than five thousand, a one hundred fold increase.
What happened between July 2020 and July 2021 cannot happen again. A one hundred fold increase in the coming twelve months is not possible unless every resident were to become infected multiple times. That is not going to happen.
While reinfection is possible, severity the second time around is less. More than 5,000 Putnam residents have recovered from the disease and have, consequently, developed some immunity to reinfection. Another 24,860 residents are now fully vaccinated against Covid. Approximately one half of Putnam’s population is vaccinated or has developed natural immunity. In July of 2020, one hundred percent of Putnam’s population was defenseless against the disease. Now only fifty percent is subject to infection.
More is known and more is understood. Fear of the disease is lessened.
A careful inspection of the numbers, however, reveals that Covid infection has dramatically increased in 2021 over 2020. The DHHR reported 46 new cases in the seven-day period ending on July 26, 2021. Because only one half of the population is susceptible to infection, 46 cases in this seven day period is equivalent to 92 cases in July of 2020. The actual seven-day new case number on July 26, 2020 was 33. Among the unvaccinated, the infection rate is 179% greater in July 2021 than it was in July 2020. The unvaccinated are 2.79 times more likely to become infected now than one year ago.
On the DHHR Covid Alert Map, Putnam County is colored gold because of an 11.64 per 100,000 population infection rate. Because only half of the county’s population is susceptible to infection, the real infection rate is 23.28 per 100,000 — a rate deserving of an orange coloration (15.0 to 24.9).
Contracting Covid is hardly a death sentence. The vast majority of Putnam’s 93 deaths were in the most vulnerable age ranges. Most individuals in the 60 and over age brackets have chosen to be vaccinated and have little chance to become infected. Unvaccinated individuals are more than 16 times susceptible to infection in all age ranges.