Carroll County had three more deaths from Covid-19 between August 30 and Sept. 6 for a total of 61 since the pandemic began. The county remains at a near high of 213 active cases and a total of nearly 4,000 cases. In June and early July, the county had 41 deaths from Covid meaning that in about two months, the county has had 20 additional deaths from Covid – an increase of about 50 percent – as the Delta variant surges.
“This shows how deadly this Delta strain is,” Dr. Dan Bell, co-founder of the ECHO Clinic, said. “I’m discouraged that it looks like most of the people who have decided against being vaccinated are pretty entrenched. That is unfortunate. I don’t know what it is going to take to change their minds. The Democrat Gazette had an editorial written recently by a respiratory therapist about the six stages of Covid before death that shows how much suffering there is involved. It seems like anyone who read this would do all they could to prevent getting it. People just don’t think it applies to them.”
Crystal Ursin said that it has been depressing seeing the number of hospitalizations and deaths each day that could have been prevented by getting a free shot.
“And it seems as if Governor Hutchinson is glossing over the deaths,” Ursin, who has been closely following the governor’s Covid press conferences, said. “I noticed that he usually mentions the hospitalizations, but I haven’t seen him mention the vast number of deaths that we get each day.”
“Observing the local health department statistics, we watch as Covid cases in the county rise and, two to three weeks later, the deaths follow,” said resident Doug Stowe said. “Who are these folks? Should their deaths not serve to warn others to get the vaccine, wear the masks and stop spreading the disease to others? How many neighbors and friends have to die before the anti-vaxxers say ‘uncle’ and get the vaccine?”
Stowe said the coronavirus does not care if you are a Democrat or a Trumpster, but folks are dying at a much higher rate in states where Donald Trump won a majority in the last election.
“It may be because Trump voters are particularly susceptible to misinformation,” Stowe said. “There are no microchips embedded in the vaccine. It will not turn your body magnetic. It has been tested again and again with more than a hundred million here in the U.S. having been administered the vaccine without significant harmful effect. Taking it will save lives and the economy, and we’re lucky here to be in that part of the world where your choice of three vaccines is freely available.”
Nationally, there have been some articles expressing hope that the Delta variant could be on the decline as a few states, including Arkansas, have started to see a slight decline in average daily new cases. It has been noted that Great Britain and India saw an unexpected decline in the Delta variant cases, but cases have started to increase again after restrictions were eased.
Stowe said because there have been so many cases in the U.S. that have been asymptomatic and not recorded in statistics, and probably many cases in which whole families were affected with not all going through the testing process, we have had no clear handle on the numbers of folks who have had some physiological exposure to the disease.
“Now research is showing that, overall, as many as 80 percent of people have antibodies that may offer some limited immunity to the disease,” Stowe said. “Some are now estimating that as many as two times as many people have had Covid as have been officially reported. That would indicate that we may be getting closer to the herd immunity stage than we’d previously anticipated. That may offer some cause for hope.”
Laura Jo Smole, a Eureka Springs alderman, expects to see a reduction in new cases for another two months. But unless vaccinations go up to the 85 or 90 percent by early November, she fears there will be a winter surge.
“Will people give up Halloween parties again?” she asks. “Football, basketball and ice hockey arenas? Will they stay home a second year of winter holidays? I doubt it.”