CHN’s COVID-19 Watch: Tracking Hardship, June 3, 2022
June 3, 2022
The our-nation-is-not-well edition. Omicron subvariants continue to surge throughout the country. The average number of new daily cases now exceeds 100,000 – a number we have not seen since February. Things could get worse. In California, two highly contagious subvariants that recently swept through South Africa have been detected. The newly discovered BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants are more transmissible than the nation’s current dominant subvariants – BA.2 and BA.2.12.1.
Meanwhile, there is mounting evidence – three studies out in recent weeks – that suggest long Covid is going to be more of a longstanding issue than most people ever could have imagined. That will force us to devise new treatments and write new laws and regulations that protect people from workplace discrimination and allow them to receive disability benefits as well as the medical care they need. Long Covid will affect millions – probably tens of millions – of us.
There are other symptoms that demonstrate our country is not well.
We are a nation awash in guns – 120 guns for every 100 Americans, according to NBC News. We’ve experienced 19,000 gun deaths since 2019 – 53 a day. As of Uvalde, we’ve witnessed 27 school shootings this year. But that’s not all – since the children and teachers died in Uvalde, there have been another 20 mass shootings, killing 18, including 5 dead in Tulsa on June 1, and injuring 88.
We are a nation plagued by addiction and deaths from drug overdoses. The rise in overdose fatalities rose sharply from 2019 to 2020, the first year of the pandemic.
Finally, we are a nation reeling from a mental health crisis, particularly a youth mental health crisis. Close to two-thirds of 18-24 year-olds report anxiety or depression symptoms. Nearly 20 percent of high school students report serious thoughts of suicide and 9 percent have attempted to take their lives, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness. Among girls ages 12 to 17, there was a 51 percent rise in suspected suicide attempts from Feb. 21 to March 20, compared to the same time period in 2019.
Through all of this, Congress has not even mustered the will to pass a COVID-19 relief package, meaning it will be increasingly difficult to pay for things like vaccines, testing, and treatment. Write your Senators today. And pundits say Congress won’t restrict the sale of assault weapons – tell them they should.