I hope all of my readers, regardless of where you are, remain healthy and safe during these challenging times. My family, thankfully, continues to remain healthy and safe.
I was talking on here last week about how the United States had recently surpassed 400,000 deaths. Now we are approaching 425,000 deaths. Such is the rate with which people are dying. Needless to say, the new Biden administration has their work cut out in terms of trying to save lives.
In my area, the test positivity rate has upticked slightly to just over 14%. At least it’s not rising as it was around the holidays, but the rate is still concerningly high. That being said, the COVID hospitalization numbers in my area look less bleak than they did even a couple of weeks ago–the hospital closest to where I live is at 85% of overall hospital bed capacity and 79% of ICU capacity. Now, those rates are still too high for comfort, but at least these numbers are not in the 90-100% range like they were the previous couple of weeks.
Needless to say, with the way the COVID situation is, I can’t help but roll my eyes with how there are murmurs of indoor dining returning to New York City. I am deeply sympathetic to the challenges that restaurants are facing financially, but I think the answer to the financial woes would be to give restaurants enough assistance to make it through the pandemic while practicing COVID precautions. I could be wrong, but I’ve heard some countries taking this approach. Unfortunately, it seems like the United States is reluctant to do the same.
The hope in turning things around, of course, lies with a combination of practicing the proper health precautions (social distancing and mask-wearing) as well as the vaccines. I reported in last week’s COVID update post about shortages of vaccines; that remains an issue. Hopefully, that will change as Biden’s COVID team gets up to speed.
 To find what the hospitalization statistics are for your area, go to this website and do a search for the county you live in (only applies for those in the United States): https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2020/12/09/944379919/new-data-reveal-which-hospitals-are-dangerously-full-is-yours#lookup