OUR VIEW:By any other name, it’s been just as deadly
More than a year later, there are some that still fail to grasp the significance of the ongoing pandemic.
There are others struggling to comprehend historically low seasonal influenza numbers. They must not have spent the last year trying to help prevent the spread of a viral infection.
As of April 3, approximately 10 influenza deaths have been reported in Oklahoma since September 1— according to Oklahoma State Department of Health’s weekly Flu view — roughly 150 deaths less than the modern record set in 2018.
Meanwhile Oklahoma has reported 8,033 COVID related deaths — 108 of which occurred in Carter County alone.
But it’s just the flu?
The 108 COVID related deaths in Carter County alone is higher than the seasonal average for flu deaths across the state.
The 8,033 Oklahomans that died from COVID-19 surpassed the number of Oklahomans killed by the Spanish Flu — which killed an estimated 7,500 Oklahomans.
The Spanish Flu killed an estimated 500,000 to 675,000 Americans; COVID-19 has killed 561,000.
Worldwide, the 2.5 million reported deaths is still well below the 50 million reported during the Spanish Flu, but when the dust eventually settles, that likely won’t be the case. According the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, only about half of all 135 million reported cases worldwide have recovered.
We are at a point in this pandemic that it doesn’t matter what you call it. It killed an average of 997 Americans last week. While that number is down from the 3,000-plus daily average we saw in January and February, it’s still high enough that anyone still not vaccinated should be concerned.
Those that survive COVID may still have longterm health complications and we still don’t know what the longterm implications for asymptomatic carriers are.
More than half of Oklahoma’s population has received at least one dose of the vaccine, yet others, relying more on social media memes than their primary healthcare providers, will never take the shot.
Flu numbers are also on the rise and we are well past the peak for the season.
The end of the pandemic is in sight but it is far from over, as with the infamous Leon Lett Super Bowl XXVII fumble, it doesn’t matter how you start out, it only matters how you finish.
We can get through this, we can return to the normal that we all so yearn for, but we have to stay the course.
Get your vaccine and continue to take precautions. It’s not just your own health that is at stake.