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COVID cases declining in schools

COVID cases have decreased in the Warren County School System since schools were shut down for a week to mitigate the spread of the virus.

Students are in the midst of their third week back since the week-long closure Aug. 30 to Sept. 3. Director of Schools Grant Swallows says he’s pleased with how students have returned to learning.

“My goal is for us to continue to focus on learning and I’m pretty pleased with how we’ve been able to do that,” said Swallows. “We really have seen a drop in COVID cases. We were in the 250 range before we took that week off. Since then we’ve been as low as 70 in isolation. My concern is the next two weeks and seeing what happens. There have been opportunities for a lot of community gatherings here recently so I hope everyone stays vigilant and if they are showing symptoms please stay home.”

As of Tuesday afternoon, there were 62 Warren County students and 10 staff members isolated due to COVID. That means they have tested positive for the virus. 

Local health officials said they expect to see an increase in COVID cases in the weeks following the Warren County A&L Fair.

This week, the U.S. reached a grim milestone as COVID became the deadliest pandemic in our history, surpassing the 1918-19 flu which killed an estimated 675,000 Americans, according to the CDC.

U.S. coronavirus deaths are running at over 1,900 a day on average, the highest level since early March, according to data collected by Johns Hopkins University.

Winter may bring a new surge, with the University of Washington’s respected model projecting an additional 100,000 or so Americans will die of COVID-19 by Jan. 1, which would bring the overall U.S. toll to an estimated 775,000.

According to an Associated Press report, the ebbing of COVID-19 could happen if the virus progressively weakens as it mutates and more and more human immune systems learn to attack it. Vaccination and surviving infection are the main ways the immune system improves. Breast-fed infants also gain some immunity from their mothers.

Under a best-case scenario, schoolchildren would get mild illness that trains their immune systems. As they grow up, the children would carry the immune response memory, so that when they are old and vulnerable, the coronavirus would be no more dangerous than cold viruses.

The same goes for today’s vaccinated teens. Their immune systems would get stronger through the shots and mild infections.

Health officials predict everyone will eventually get infected.

Something similar happened with the H1N1 flu virus, the culprit in the 1918-19 pandemic. It encountered too many people who were immune, and it also eventually weakened through mutation. H1N1 still circulates today, but immunity acquired through infection and vaccination has triumphed.

Getting an annual flu shot now protects against H1N1 and several other strains of flu. The ordinary flu kills between 12,000 and 61,000 Americans each year.