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Mailbag: Best defense is behaviors that work

Mailbag: Best defense is behaviors that work


A dangerous surge of COVID-19 cases in Oregon began in late October. However, that surge has largely been brought under control by widespread adherence to restrictions imposed by our state government.

This shows in seven-day average new daily cases calculated from Oregon Health Authority data. The surge that began in late October slowed briefly at around 1,300 daily new cases in late November, following the governor’s “pause” and “freeze” restrictions. The effect of those restrictions was overwhelmed by increased transmission due to Thanksgiving travel and visits, which pushed daily new cases up to 1,533 by early December.

But then daily new cases declined sharply to 879 by late December, well below the level at the time the pause/freeze began. This decline reflects the effects of the pause/freeze and is a considerable accomplishment. Good work, Oregon! New cases have increased a bit again in early January, likely reflecting the beginning of a Christmas surge.

COVID-related deaths followed a similar pattern, falling from a peak of 26 daily on Dec. 19 to about 10 each day in early January.

Most Oregon counties saw a similar pattern. In Linn County, daily cases began a brief decline in mid-November, rose to a peak of 47 by mid-December, then declined to 23 by the end of the year.

As we wait for widespread vaccination to finally put an end to the pandemic, our best defense is to continue the behaviors and restrictions that really do work to bring the pandemic under control.

Mark Nord



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