How is it that the phrase "the numbers are in" immediately conjures images of danger and doom? Can't "the numbers ever be good?
In the case of most of the news stories that we gathered in the last week, we're managing to put a positive spin on the headlines - even when there wasn't one originally.
Call it wishful thinking or a willful disregard of the state of the world. We'll call it this week's Five To Save:
- Healthcare providers - particularly in southern states - are struggling to provide enough beds and resources for the caseloads that they are encountering right now. But the situation has become dire enough that state governments hesitant to take direct action to support their citizens, are beginning to improve the availability government dollars, personnel, and other resources to improve public health, including our home state of Texas, which is providing 2500 healthcare pros to strained providers.
- The federal government is getting in on the trend, as well, promising $350 million in direct support specifically for rural hospitals otherwise largely without their own support systems. And government agencies are increasingly requiring vaccination, like HHS.
- Healthcare providers are also moving, slowly but steadily, toward requiring vaccination among employees. Commonspirit is the latest of more than 40 large providers to announce such a beneficial policy.
- Around 1 million people have gotten unapproved booster vaccinations this year, and that's a conservative estimate. That can hardly be surprising as increasing fear of the Delta variant combines with increasing confidence in the vaccinations' safety and efficacy, especially among younger people.
- The toll of the prolonged pandemic on young people's mental health is on an upward trend - depression and anxiety reported in more than 20% of adolescents - but the collection of that data in itself is beneficial, because it leads to panels like this one that prescribes specific actions to be taken by the government and healthcare providers.
The encouraging thing about levels of depression and anxiety increasing with time and with age - although it sure is hard to find one - is that fear is a great motivator. We've talked about this before. Lots of times.
But it keeps being true. So long as people keep being afraid of something, they'll keep acting to stay safe from that thing.
So don't lose your fear yet. Keep your masks on.