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Weekly COVID-19 message; Aug. 27

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Patrick Johnson

Patrick Johnson

This week, Haywood's COVID-19 positive numbers reached 493, with a total of 25 individuals losing their lives to the virus.

New case numbers each day continue to be in the lower range, which is good news. Our COVID working numbers (number of people currently in isolation and quarantine) has plateaued in the 185-190 range this week.

We’d still like to see more of a drop there, too. The improved case numbers are reflective of more people wearing masks and social-distancing appropriately.

A huge thank you to everyone who’s been doing it since the beginning, and a big thank you and “welcome to the team” to folks who recently got on board. Your efforts make a difference.

That said, what we do now is extremely important. Rather than throwing caution to the wind, it’s imperative that we stay the course and continue masking and distancing to maintain these improvements as best we can, and to defend against any potential new surges.

How our brains numb us to COVID-19’s risks. Here's what we can do about it. It’s important for us all to stay the course right now with masking and distancing.

It’s a challenge, though, since there’s no immediate, tangible reward for our efforts. We’ll all have times when we are tempted to slack off precautions. Experts say this backsliding is predictable.

In the face of what feels like chronic risk, we are less motivated to take specific action against the threat. Social scientists have long known that we perceive risks that are acute, such as an impending tsunami, differently than chronic, every-present threats like car accidents.

Part of what’s happening is that COVID-19 — which we initially saw as a terrifying acute threat — is morphing into more of a chronic one in our minds.

That shift likely dulls our perception of the danger. The more we’re exposed to a given threat, the less intimidating it seems. The way we assess cost and reward in this pandemic discourages us from taking actions that keep the virus in check. 

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