The Clayton County Health District says eight Clayton County residents died of COVID-19 last week. None of them had been vaccinated.

The news comes just as families get ready for back-to-school shopping and as local shoppers and diners overwhelmingly have stopped masking in enclosed public spaces. The Clayton Crescent observed many more people waiting for COVID-19 testing at Kaiser Permanente Southwoods last week as compared to the number of people seeking vaccination. (The editor was there getting a second booster shot.)

As of last week, Clayton County has recorded 63,018 positive cases of COVID-19 since the pandemic began.

From July 18 through 24, Clayton County registered 456 positive COVID-19 tests. (That means about one of every 4 people in line to get tested will test positive.) Of those:

  • 154 were unvaccinated
  • 22 were partially vaccinated
  • 165 were fully vaccinated
  • 115 were fully vaccinated with a booster

28 people in Clayton County (that’s 6.1% of those who tested positive) were hospitalized with COVID-19 last week. Of those:

  • 16 were unvaccinated
  • 1 was partially vaccinated
  • 6 were fully vaccinated
  • 5 were fully vaccinated with a booster

Of the eight people in Clayton County who died of COVID-19 last week:

  • 8 were unvaccinated
  • 0 were partially vaccinated
  • 0 were fully vaccinated
  • 0 were fully vaccinated with a booster

Two and a half years into the COVID-19 pandemic, fewer than half of Clayton County residents—49%—are fully vaccinated. Slightly more than half—55%—have had at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine. And only 40% have been fully vaccinated and had at least one booster shot.

Where is the virus spreading?

Forest Park (zip code 30297) saw a whopping 83% increase in COVID-19 cases over the past two weeks. Most age groups are holding steady at the number of new cases in the past week, but the overall trend has been on the rise since mid-April, according to the Georgia Department of Public Health and the Clayton County Health District.

Who’s been hit hardest by COVID-19 in Clayton County?

  • 36,431 women (57.8% of cases)
  • People in their 20s and 30s (22,867 people, or 36.3% of cases)
  • 38,015 Black people (60.3% of cases)
  • Non-Hispanic/Latino people (65.4% of cases)
  • 930 people who have died (1.5% of cases)
  • Jonesboro (30.3% of last week’s cases) and Riverdale (21.1% of last week’s cases) have accounted for the most cases by city throughout the pandemic

As of last Sunday, the virus was raging through 30236 and 30238 zip codes and was spreading rapidly in 30228, 30274, and 30296. Another strong wave was recorded in 30349, 30297, 30260, and 30273.

How does COVID-19 spread?

The COVID-19 virus travels in microscopic droplets that spray from your mouth and nose when you sneeze, cough, talk, or vocalize. Wearing a properly-fitted KN 95 mask and maintaining at least six feet between other people can go a long way to preventing your exposure to the virus. Washing hands and sanitizing high-touch surfaces is also advisable.

Clayton County Public Schools are requiring all staff, guests, parents, guardians, and visitors to wear masks on campus. A new state law forbids schools from requiring students to wear masks, but parents can require their own children to wear masks at school as a health precaution.

What is a vaccination and how does it work?

Vaccination is the deliberate, sterile introduction of a virus, either whole or in pieces, live or dead, under the skin (or, for some diseases, through the nasal passages). The virus in such cases has been altered so that it cannot give you the disease, but so that your body can recognize it and start developing antibodies to kill it. Those antibodies build up over a couple of weeks, in the case of COVID-19, giving you greater protection should you catch the virus in the wild.

A vaccine is like a fire drill or field exercise for your white blood cells, allowing them to “prep” for a future COVID-19 attack.

Just like a flu shot, a COVID-19 vaccination might not prevent you from catching the disease, but it greatly increases your chances of surviving. Only 28 people died of influenza across Georgia from October 2021 to mid-May 2022, which is flu season.

Robin Kemp is executive editor and CEO of The Clayton Crescent, which she founded in 2020. She has worked for Gambit, CNN, The Weather Channel, Clayton News, Henry Herald, and numerous freelance outlets....

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1 Comment

  1. Covid is still strong out there and most of the time when I’m out most people don’t where a mask. It’s crazy. I wear mine everywhere I go.