COVID-19 Update: With National and State Numbers Rising, Parker’s Vigilance Is a Necessity
On Friday, October 23rd, the United States recorded 83,000 new COVID-19 cases, the highest number of positive cases recorded in one day. The virus has currently killed 223,000 people.
The most alarming part of this outbreak is how widespread it is. In July, California, Arizona, Texas, and Florida contributed the majority of positive cases, but this new surge is different. A wide range of states are seeing an alarming increase in COVID-19 cases. Twenty four states have reported record-breaking numbers in the past two weeks, and counties in 36 states have been labeled “hotspots.”
According to the Washington Post, “The unprecedented geographic spread of the current surge makes it more dangerous, with experts warning it could lead to dire shortages of medical staff and supplies.”
More than 8.4 million Americans have been infected with COVID-19. The recent surge—paired with cold weather and the upcoming holidays—suggests this number will only increase.
Photo by Elaine Thompson
While cases on the mainland rapidly increase, Hawaii’s new travel policy allows tourists to return to the island. As of October 15th, mainland travelers may waive the mandatory 14-day quarantine if they show a negative COVID-19 test result no more than three days before they depart for Hawaii.
While this system provides a form of protection to residents, some doctors are less optimistic about the state’s reopening and warn that one test may not be effective at preventing infected travelers from spreading the virus. Fortunately, Hawaii island also requires an antigen test upon arrival. While less accurate, the second test helps mitigate the risk of infected mainland travelers bringing COVID-19 to the island.
As case numbers on Hawaii island spike, reopening may not come at the most opportune time. A local watchdog group reported that tourists have not been wearing face masks, causing concern for increased rates of infection throughout the state.
Additionally, according to Mayor Harry Kim, “The vast majority of [the new cases] are in the ages of 40 and below.” He also stated that a majority of positive tests on Thursday came from Waikoloa and Kona, areas where tourism is high.
The Big Island reported 51 new cases on Sunday, bringing the total number of coronavirus cases on the island up to 1,221 cases.
As Parker begins its second quarter, the need to remain vigilant about social distancing and mask-wearing is more important than ever. Seven months into the pandemic and eleven weeks into the school year, COVID-19 is no longer a novelty, and as many in the Parker community have noticed, compliance with social distancing has decreased, both in and out of school. Students are seen gathering together during study halls or lunch periods, and community members have noticed people spending time together on the weekends of after school without masks.
Teachers, like Mr. Winderbaum, feel the carelessness that has crept upon the school. He’s noticed that fewer students are washing their hands at the sinks outside his classroom than at the beginning of the school year.
“We were all so frightened of the virus when we returned to school, but now that we have become familiar, we've lost the sense of urgency about this terrible menace,” says Mr. Winderbaum,
As quarter two begins in full swing, now is the best time to remind ourselves of the safety protocols we learned in the beginning of the year.
As Mr. Winderbaum puts it, “We all need to redouble our efforts to take care of one another and not become complacent. We need to remind ourselves every day that it is truly a matter of life and death, and act accordingly.”
Photo by Jamie Saito