The state has finally created a model to predict, at least somewhat, when the state will see a peak in COVID-19 cases. Currently, they've stuck that pin in April 21.
An ending date, no matter how tentative, gives us hope. But we shouldn't allow it to give us a false sense of security. A peak is not the end.
The date isn't fixed. Rather it's subject to constant flux as testing and spread may be predictable, but human behavior is not. Now is not the time to let our guards down. We see now that our actions are working—social distancing, stay-at-home measures, personal protective equipment are helping to flatten the curve.
Experts are saying things are going to get worse before they get better. But how much worse depends entirely on our continued adherence to the rules.
Oklahoma's Governor Kevin Stitt recently shared a similar sentiment. He said: "Just because the models continue to look better over time, we have to keep our guard up. In Oklahoma, we love our weather forecasts and despite how many talented meteorologists we have across our state, we know that forecasts can change over time, and a hook echo doesn’t always drop a tornado.”
Oklahomans should continue to practice social distancing, go out only when necessary and shop at the grocery store alone in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19 for the rest of April, he said.
When looking at hospitalization trends, which remained flat for some 11 days, Stitt said he was "cautiously optimistic."
Caution being the key word.
At the peak, the state Department of Health’s model expects 915 hospitalizations and 458 Oklahomans in ICUs.
By May 1, the forecast expects 9,300 Oklahomans will have tested positive for COVID-19.
They expected 469 deaths by May 1.
Now is the time to buckle down, to stay the course.
We can be optimistic about the future of our state but that doesn't mean we should cease to exercise abundant caution.
Claremore Progress Editorial Staff