Darke County and COVID Contradictions
Cases of COVID are on the upswing again, in Ohio as well as nationwide, so I thought I would check in with the CDC and see how my county is doing. Darke County, Ohio is not particularly well vaccinated — we have something like a 31% vaccination rate (I and my family are of course vaccinated) — so I was curious to see if we’d had a notable uptick in COVID cases recently.
The answer: Not really! Or at the very least, not yet. Darke County is one of the few Ohio counties at the moment with a low incidence of community transmission, with two reported new cases of the virus in the last week. There was one COVID-related death reported yesterday; prior to that the last recorded COVID-related death was six weeks ago. The virus is still in Darke County, but it’s small hotspots at the moment, not a forest fire.
This is good news in that most of the people who live near me appear to be at a reasonably low risk for COVID, despite their current unvaccinated status. It’s less good in that, in a county that already suffers from vaccine hesitancy, it doesn’t seem likely to me that anything is going to move the needle (so to speak) to convince folks around here to get a shot. Yes, it’s nice that the GOP and FOX News have begun, incredibly begrudgingly, to tell people to get a shot, but it may be too little, too late for that, for Darke Country and other rural, conservative counties in the US.
I am vaccinated, along with my family; I’m not too worried about having a breakthrough infection thanks to the Delta variant, and if I am infected, I’m not too worried about getting very sick from it (for values of “very sick” that mean “hospitalized and possibly intubated”). I do worry for my neighbors who haven’t, by choice, been vaccinated, not only because they can get sick but because they can more easily transmit to others, some of whom can’t get vaccinated, even if they want to.
Likewise, I worry that the longer people avoid getting vaccinated, the more variants will pop up. Delta is already more transmissible than earlier versions of the virus; it’s entirely possible we’ll eventually hit on one that the vaccines won’t be effective against. I like my house; I’d still like to leave it occasionally.
Basically, Darke County is currently lucky, with regard to COVID. I sincerely hope it remains so. I would also like to suggest to my fellow Darke Countians that luck favors the prepared, and in this case, “prepared” means “vaccinated.” It’s just a thought.