June 20, 2024

Senior News Line: It’s still here

Adults aged 65 and older made up 63% of all COVID-related hospitalizations and nearly 90% of in-hospital deaths in 2023 in the United States, according to the COVID-19 Associated Hospitalization Surveillance Network.

Uh oh, it appears that in my ZIP code the number of COVID cases has doubled in the past week. Not only that, but two close neighbors are sick.

One neighbor tested positive and within two days — without benefit of a negative test — went back to work while still feeling ill.

The other neighbor caught “something” from a co-worker who had tested positive for COVID. But she didn’t take a test to find out what that something was and went to work anyway.

We’re all so tired of this; tired of testing for the least little sniffle. But we do test, because we need to know.

Many others are so fed up that they’re ignoring the reality: They don’t test when ill so they can say they haven’t tested positive, and they go to work, possibly passing the illness to colleagues and customers.

I’ve charted the weekly stats for four years now and can quote the approximate number of positive COVID cases in my ZIP code. Since we have the free at-home tests, all of the results don’t get reported, which skews the real numbers.

A university think tank, however, came up with a multiplier number — 14.2 — as the number to use.

If your local number is 15 cases, as reported by doctors or officials, multiply that by 14.2 to get a more accurate number of how many cases are really in your area.

While COVID has gone through numerous variants, some things haven’t changed. Symptoms might not show up for several days. Someone who has COVID can be contagious for five days or more.

If you think you, or someone around you, have a cold, take a COVID test. If you think you have COVID, call your doctor to let them know your symptoms. As always, wash your hands.

Remember: If someone around you has a mild case of COVID and gives it to you, your case might not be mild at all.

Matilda Charles

© 2024 King Features Synd., Inc.