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Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water again …
Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and the chief medical advisor to President Joe Biden, warned on ABC News last Sunday that, “We’re going in the wrong direction,” citing a 314 percent increase in COVID cases in the state of Florida.
Arkansas and Louisiana aren’t far behind, he noted, cautioning that “boosters may be needed for the immuno-compromised.”
That more-contagious delta variant is not to be ignored in this latest surge — Biden has termed the surge “a pandemic of the unvaccinated.”
Pfizer plans to apply for emergency use authorization of a third COVID-19 vaccination dose, says Pfizer’s Chief Scientific Officer Dr. Mikael Dolsten, as soon as this month.
According to The New York Times, even people who have been vaccinated are getting COVID — termed “breakthrough infections” — albeit, not in the deadly form, with some incurring nothing worse than a cold.
If breakthrough infections are an important source of COVID spread, said the Times, it would suggest that vaccinated people should resume some of their previous precautions, like avoiding crowded places. If COVID is instead spreading overwhelmingly among the unvaccinated, it would suggest that the behavior of the vaccinated doesn’t matter very much; the only reliable way to reduce caseloads would involve more vaccinations.
In New Mexico, where new cases averaged in the hundreds in June, July’s new cases have surged some days: 329 on July 28, 401 the next day — the most in the state for a single day since Feb. 26, when there were 659 new cases.
For the weekend of July 23-25, the DOH’s figures on the 26th noted 632 new cases; Sandoval County had 42 new cases over that three-day stretch, which equaled the total the county had registered for the previous three days.
On the 28th, though, there were 28 new cases in Sandoval County — the most for a single day since April 7, also with 28 cases.
Except for 10 deaths reported July 15, the daily deaths in the state reported due to COVID have been six or fewer — with just three deaths noted for Sandoval County: a woman in her 50s who had been hospitalized and had underlying conditions, a hospitalized man in his 60s and a youngster between the ages of 10-19.
On the 29th, there was one new fatality noted in the state, and none in Sandoval County.
While the state had recorded fewer than 100 COVID-19 patients hospitalized since June 17, that number also surged upward: to 106 on July 23, and then rising from 89 to 121, 133 and 140 from July 26-29.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 342 million doses of vaccine have been administered in the U.S. through July 27.
As of July 25, according to the CDC, almost 80,000 county residents are fully vaccinated, which includes 81.3 percent of those ages 65 and up.
Health professionals still have the same two-word suggestion: Get vaccinated.

Gary Herron | Observer staff writer