Outgoing Governor Raimondo’s spin-meisters recently issued a “COVID-19 Tracker” report for the period Dec. 14, 2020 to Feb. 10, 2021. Not surprisingly, it painted a rosy picture of her handling of the pandemic by emphasizing that nearly 130,000 doses of vaccine had been administered.

A week later, an independent analysis of vaccine rollouts by Harvard University listed Rhode island as dead last among the 50 states, and Massachusetts only slightly better. Harvard did acknowledge that the state had done more testing per capita than any other.

Let’s look at the RI Department of Health report. Only 38,000 residents have been fully inoculated with both doses of the vaccines in the two month period covered. These have mostly been given to healthcare workers, first responders and senior citizens in nursing homes. A week later Dr. Nicole Alexander-Scott reported about forty thousand had received both shots.

So, let us say that approximately 2,000 people per week are getting inoculated. At this rate it would take nine and a half years to inoculate everyone in the state.

Dr. Alexander-Scott says that a couple of mass inoculation centers will be soon open. These can handle 1,400 people per day which means that 700 of us will receive the two doses.

Assume the centers are operating five days a week or 3,500 fully inoculated residents plus the current 2,000 per week equals 5,500 fully vaccinated folks. At that rate it will take only three and a half years to take care of everyone.

A recent survey indicates that one-third of Americans are not inclined to be vaccinated for a variety of reasons. To reach “herd immunity” between 70 and 80 per cent of the population needs to be exposed to the virus.  That’s not going to happen if 33% of us decline the vaccine.

The report cites 2,259 fatalities through Feb. 10. There is no breakdown regarding ages of the deceased and how many are “COVID-related” deaths. Another unanswered question is how many people have died from a “regular” influenza virus and how does that compare with the pre-COVID flu season two years ago? Is it possible flu deaths are being recorded as COVID fatalities? Just asking.

There have been 120,000 positive COVID cases and 2,200 deaths attributed to the virus through Feb. 10th which means the mortality rate is less than two per cent. How many of the fatalities are people over the age of, say, 70 and how many had underlying health issues such as COPD or emphysema? How many were in nursing homes or assisted living facilities?

I am not minimizing the seriousness of this disease which was unknown until it somehow was released upon the world from China. However, the economy of our state and nation are being wrecked by the overreach of elected officials and  panic created by the 24-hour news cycle. It is going to take a decade to restore the “old normal.”

Richard J. August

North Kingstown

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