School year 2021-22, Week 6
Fall is in the air…
For the 7 days of September 23 to September 29, 2021:
New COVID Cases
This week, I’m writing the BVSD COVID update from brisk-aired Vermont as the school district holds the first of 82 school closures for parent-teacher conferences. (Don’t get me wrong, I love a long weekend as much as everyone else, but come on — the next one is in two weeks, followed by another two weeks after that, followed by Thanksgiving break three weeks after that, followed by…) Being displaced from the day-to-day provides me with an opportunity to think more broadly about things, to try to put them in perspective.
For example: Johnson County, Kansas has an estimated population of a little over 600,000 residents. The state of Vermont has a population of around 625,000. Vermont is a miniaturized Kansas City metro, with a downsized urban center (the Burlington metro is about half the population of KCMO city limits), sprawling rural areas spread across two-lanes roads, and a similarly unhealthy relationship with the weather. It’s not a perfect comparison, but it’s not bad either, and they have a stellar COVID track record compared to JoCo:
|Johnson County, KS||Vermont|
|Total COVID cases||58,500 (9.6%)||32,368 (5.0%)|
|Total COVID deaths||887 (145 per 100k)||301 (46 per 100k)|
|Vaccination rate (age 12+)||68% (1 dose) / 63% (2+ doses)||88% (1 dose) / 79% (2+ doses)|
|COVID cases in public schools
(2021-22 school year)
|1,457 (source)||524 (source)|
To summarize, Vermont has (relative to Johnson County):
- slightly larger population
- half the number of COVID cases
- one-third the number of deaths
- one-third the number of public school cases
- a much higher vaccination rate
Vermont has a stade-wide mask mandate in public school for ages 12 and under, and a strong recommendation for masks at all ages. Hmm.
On a brighter note, Merck announced today they are seeking emergency use authorization for a new COVID therapeutic — a pill to be prescribed to COVID-positive patients that reduces the risk of hospitalization by 50%. Science! This is a great addition to the arsenal, and the first bit of medical news in a while that has the potential to change the shape of things.