By Nicole Montesano • Staff Writer • 

Rolling the dice on the coronavirus

COVID-19 is not over, not mild and not contained.

It is currently surging throughout the United States. And it is causing hospitalizations and long-term damage among children and teens, as well as adults.

The virus persists, even though everyone is tired of it, and even more tired of hearing about it, because viruses do not care about feelings or justifications or political expediency.

Humans, meanwhile, are hardwired with a strong normalcy bias.

They don’t like to stand out when everyone else — or almost everyone else — is acting in a particular way. And that’s especially true in the case of their leaders.

There are some gruesome examples of groups of people dying en masse, rather than daring to act as if things are not, in fact, OK. So, I’m here to tell you, again, that things are not OK.

There are, in fact, some bits of good news.

Hospitalizations are down significantly from last year. Instead of more than 40,000 hospitalized per week in the middle of August, as we saw last year, we were down to some 15,000 per week this year, although this is still not a good number. For the week ending Saturday, Sept. 2, the CDC reported 18,871 hospital admissions nationwide, up 8.7% from the previous week. Of that number, 18 were in Yamhill County. The same week, the number of deaths nationwide increased 10.5%.

The lower rate of hospitalizations is wonderful news, and it is also good news that the increase was smaller than the 16% increase seen the previous week.

But with every new infection, we roll the dice for the billionth or so time on creating a new variant worse than those that have come before.

Meanwhile, we are doing almost nothing to control new infections. And those that have come before, remember, killed more than 1.1 million people in the United States, claimed more than 20 million lives worldwide and disabled tens of thousands of survivors.

A study by the Washington University School of Medicine and Veterans Affairs St. Louis Health Care System, published in the journal Nature Medicine in late August, found that “people who had COVID — including those who were hospitalized within the first 30 days following infection and those who were not — were still, up to two years after infection, at an elevated risk for many long COVID-related conditions, including diabetes, lung problems, fatigue, blood clots and disorders affecting the gastrointestinal and musculoskeletal systems.”

Senior author Dr. Ziyad Al-Aly, a clinical epidemiologist at Washington University, said, “It appears that the effects of long COVID for many will not only impact such patients and their quality of life, but potentially will contribute to a decline in life expectancy and also may impact labor participation, economic productivity and societal well-being.”

Although the risk of death declined by about six months among people who were not hospitalized, the study found that “the number of healthy-life years lost to COVID-19 was significantly higher than with other major diseases in the U.S.” It explained, “For example, over a lifetime, cancer and heart disease claimed, respectively, 50 and 52 healthy-life years lost per 1,000 people compared to COVID’s 80 in the first two years after infection.”

The number of children and teenagers going to the emergency room because of COVID began skyrocketing in August. By the end of the month, the numbers of emergency room visits by children and teen-agers had surpassed the number of people 75 and up, who are generally considered the most vulnerable. They are hospitalized at lower rates, with the CDC reporting 39 infants, children and teen-agers hospitalized for the week of September 2, the most recent data available. But they are subject to the same long-term disability and immune-damage issues as adults.

The trend is worst in the southeastern states, but we’re not exempt.

New booster shots are coming this month, but while they are an important tool for helping to prevent hospitalization and death, vaccines only reduce your chances of infection. They don’t eliminate it. What’s more, the reduction in risk is temporary.

Well-fitting N95 masks are your best bet for avoiding infection, along with good ventilation or air purification. Holding gatherings outside, whenever possible, also helps.

Conveniently, masks will also help you to avoid the flu, colds and other obnoxious viruses you’d just as soon skip.

Take care of yourselves out there.

Nicole Montesano covers Yamhill County government and other topics for the News-Register, and has regularly reported on the COVID-19 pandemic since its inception.


Bill B

Well written Nicole. An important message that I hope everyone takes to heart


Good article. Facts clearly presented. Thank you, Nicole!


This is called 'fearporn'. The WHO said people who have had covid and never got the jab are immune to all subsequent variants of the virus. Long covid is caused by the jab (spike protein). Doctors are reporting that the symptoms of the current variant are mild (and the WHO said the risk is low ... as in L-O-W), and include a sore throat, runny nose, etc., like a cold. Montesano reported stats for people who received the jab previously. Her hospitalizations and deaths stats are the 'porn' part -- the manipulation and false news because even auto accidents are reported as covid deaths, and hospitalizations for cancer are reported as covid deaths. We were so happy there was no flu last year. Covid is a variant of the flu ... it's the FLU! OTOH the long covid is due to the jab. Do your research.
THERE ARE NO ... NO ... NO PEER-REVIEWED SCIENTIFIC JOURNAL ARTICALES that say the serum is effective or safe, and there were NO tests on humans before the vaccines were distributed and injected into us. FEARPORN!

Bill B

News Register - Fiddler's post should be removed. It's filled with falsehoods.


Bill B - fiddler is protected by free speech. Flat earth, space is fake and Oregon PERS being solvent are all wildly crazy positions that people can claim.


Life is ever changing. One thing often missed is "Global Warming" and it's incubator effects to generate bacteria harmful to us. Dirt and water....

Similar a virus. What really separated SARS, especially Covid-19 was two things. It's proteins, which join with other proteins to become something else. So ever evolving into something else. Worse yet, how they attract to specific proteins, like those found in the nasal cavity for example.

But what is scary, and although we found a fix, I'm not sure we understand the cause of the cytokine storms in about 20% of the case around the IL-6 inhibitor. This led to organ failure and was the leading cause of death. Thank Goodness to a student working infectious disease at Fred Hutchison so a blocker could address it, but it did exactly address the cause that I know of, and who knows if the blocker has some form of consequence as well?

It's said that Donald Trump lied about Covid-19, and he just didn't lie, he called it a democratic hoax, knowing it wasn't. He also signed in December 2017 an order allowing risky testing that was banned by Obama in 2014 to begin again.

In 2018 I found a study specifically done by Lee, with genetically modified rabies targeting the IL-6. Soon after Covid-19 began with the IL-6 playing a major role in it. so...

It's hard to say, but I'm sure time will continue to challenge or science community in many areas, including viruses, weather, and fires.


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