This previous summer time, Alaska recorded a number of the fewest coronavirus cases per capita in the nation. Credit score isolation and wide-open areas. However officers had additionally accomplished more testing than almost every other state after which tracked each one who got here again optimistic with a military of contact tracers.
Now, as temperatures start dipping again beneath freezing, the virus has seized new opportunities.
Alaska’s struggles present an early warning that winter may convey essentially the most devastating part of the pandemic. On Friday, the weekly case common within the state reached its highest point of the year.
Together with cold-season gatherings transferring into extra confined areas, there’s proof that the coronavirus is extra virulent in colder climate and decrease relative humidities.
The state additionally faces some specific challenges, with officers fearing outbreaks in distant villages. Dr. Anne Zink, Alaska’s chief medical officer, described one small neighborhood with no working water that’s at the moment coping with an outbreak, and climate has prevented officers from getting provides in.
One of many challenges that Dr. Zink has constantly confronted is convincing residents to put on masks and keep distanced. In Might, when Gov. Mike Dunleavy lifted statewide restrictions, he left choices about the right way to handle the pandemic to native jurisdictions.
Within the city of Wasilla over the weekend, folks gathered at a bar for an Oktoberfest celebration. Whereas the out of doors seating supplied views of snow-capped mountains, the climate was close to freezing, so folks crowded inside, the place nobody was sporting masks.
And at a youth hockey event this month in Anchorage, movies confirmed some dad and mom watching from the stands with out masks. When the event was over, the Anchorage Well being Division introduced it was investigating a “cluster” of circumstances linked to the video games.
In different developments round the USA:
The Nationwide Cherry Blossom Pageant’s parade — held yearly in Washington, D.C., throughout March or April and sometimes thought-about the primary signal of spring within the area — has been canceled for 2021 due to virus considerations. The organization that runs the event mentioned plans for the competition will proceed “however with modifications as a consequence of ongoing restrictions brought on by Covid-19.”