HERE'S TO YOUR HEALTH!: So, how does the autumn look?

Dr. Wayne Strouse

As our summer draws to a close, what does fall look like? I wish I had better news, but the trends are not encouraging. Considering that we have seen Delta Covid get worse during the summer — a time of increased outdoor activity — it does not bode well for autumn, when we will spend more time indoors.

Dr. Wayne Strouse

When I was writing my last column, we had one active case of Covid in Yates County. As I write this column, we have 15 active cases. Not a good trend. We should have much lower case rates right now.

That's the glitch. Not enough people are vaccinated. If we had reached herd immunity, Delta Covid wouldn't have gotten a toehold. That ship has sailed. Delta Covid is among us. And since it is more contagious, the percentage of the population required for herd immunity increases. We probably need between 80-85% immunized to achieve herd immunity from the Delta Covid virus (it was 70-75% for the original, un-mutated virus).

Delta Covid also seems to be sickening younger people (probably because more older people are immunized). It's making younger people sicker as well — this time 10 to 40 year olds are filling up the hospital beds (and ICU's). If you look at Yates County numbers, the 0-20 and 20-30 age groups have the most cases.

Currently, we have one person hospitalized. Remember, our hospital (Soldiers & Sailors Memorial) only has 12 beds, and no ICU beds. It wouldn't take much to overwhelm Yates County's hospital resources.

Earlier this week, I called around because one of my patients needed to be hospitalized. Clifton Springs had no beds. Strong Memorial probably would have a bed, but they weren't sure how soon. (This means you wait in the ER until they can “find” a bed.) And, the full impact of Delta Covid has not even hit us — yet.

You may want to dig out your masks again. You may want to start wearing them indoors at public spaces (like restaurants, bars, gyms, and stores). You may want to socially distance once more.

This is not “the government” taking away “freedoms.” This is science telling you what works. There are a ton of online testimonials from people who thought they didn't need to do these things — or get a vaccine. They are now recording themselves from their hospital beds — pleading with others to do what they should have done: get the vaccine, wear a mask, and socially distance. Neil deGrasse Tyson, writer and narrator of the series “Cosmos,” has said, ”The good thing about science is that it is true whether or not you believe in it.”

Perhaps that is the saddest part of Delta Covid. It is preventable. It is easily preventable (just a couple of shots). And it is even affordably preventable (the shots are free).

Oh, and by the way, there is a new Lambda variant from Peru.

There is a ray of hope: It is still not too late! Vaccines are readily available from pharmacies and from Public Health! You can do this!

Let's find freedom this fall and winter! The best freedom of all is the freedom from the Covid virus. No more masks and store closures.

Let's protect our families, our friends, and our community. Let's get everyone vaccinated. Come ... join the herd.

Here's to your health!

Dr. Wayne Strouse is a Family Practitioner with Finger Lakes Community Health in Penn Yan.