With early voting starting this week, one might think the title of this column is referring to our red state. In actuality, it’s about living in an area with increasing COVID-19 cases. Today, Wednesday, Oct. 21, there are 66 active cases in Clay County according to the Arkansas Department of Health. On Monday, we had 49 active cases. Everyday we hear of more friends and neighbors who have tested positive or are in quarantine. The county has a total of 443 confirmed total cases. Yesterday the Corning Therapy and Living Center sent messages to the families of residents indicating they have one newly identified positive resident and reported they have taken all the steps directed by the ADH regarding appropriate measures for quarantining the resident to protect all others and staff. A map was released on Tuesday from the Arkansas Center for Health Improvement (ACHI) of the 14-day moving averages of percentage positives for each county from Oct. 5 - Oct. 19. Clay was in the mid-range with 9.8%. I hope by the time you are reading this that our numbers are declining.
October 13-19 is National School Lunch Week.
Covid-19 continues to have a stranglehold on Arkansas and much of the country as we prepare to enter our ninth month of the pandemic. Our spirits are wearing thin of the virus and many are suffering from what I term, “Pandemic-itis” or “the P-demic”. You’re suffering from “the P-demic” when you’re a mask wearer who has worn thin of hearing Covid numbers, and living under pandemic protocol. You’re tired of trying to maintain a constant sanitized bubble. And although you love your friends and neighbors, when you see them enter a building or store maskless when a sign clearly states, “Masks required before entering”, you want to yell, “For the love of Clorox Wipes, put on a mask so we can rid our lives of this plague on humanity!!!”
It’s no secret that the year 2020 has worn out its welcome. Everyone is weary of one climate, weather, political and health issue after another. We’re becoming numb to bad news. I’m reminded of how those living in the 1950s may have felt hearing about the atomic bomb. They say that the unknown is always the scariest as our minds tend to worry about what we can’t foresee. Cue the locusts. Back then schools across the United States were training students to dive under their desks and cover their heads in what were called duck and cover drills to protect themselves in the event of an atomic attack. This was in response to the Soviet Union detonating its first nuclear device on August 29, 1949 in Kazakhstan. This event bolstered a panic over an intensifying arms race and an alarming chapter in the Cold War.
The clock is ticking on the 2020 Census and time is running out. We’re one week out from the September 30 response deadline and communities across Northeast Arkansas are trailing behind.