COVID Surge in American Samoa

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COVID Surge in American Samoa

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American Samoa, a small U.S territory located in the South Pacific, was the last place to experience the surging numbers of covid cases. When the coronavirus was declared a pandemic at the beginning of 2020, American Samoa was the only place on earth not to have any cases of COVID. To combat the disease, the government of American Samoa barred incoming flights for a whole year from the United States and their neighboring island of Western Samoa. Although the island did not have any COVID cases, the government promoted and maintained the restrictions throughout the island. However, after opening the borders for inbound flights after a year, American Samoa did not report its first Covid case until September 2021. Since then, travel restrictions and quarantine for travelers were enforced, but eventually, a big surge of cases began to be seen in mid-February of this year. The opening of borders to inbound flights brought the disease into the island. Coronavirus cases jumped from only a hundred to 555. It is still considered relatively low worldwide, but it is high for a small island. Fortunately, no fatalities are reported, with more than 80 percent of the population vaccinated. The attached image is data reported weekly by the American Samoa Department of Health to the public to show how many cases are positive in each village and totaled in American Samoa. The people were worried that the disease might cause some fatalities, the government was quick to impose a lockdown restriction called "CODE RED," which barred social gatherings, schools, traveling, and work on February 22. Although the public panicked with the news of coronavirus cases on the island, the government worked to assure the safety of the people by making sure people were aware of the number of cases and the situation with live news updates and weekly data by the Department of Health. I was also worried when I first heard of the surging number of COVID cases at home. Although I moved to the states for school, I made sure I am kept up to date with what is happening back at home. With the fatalities I saw here in the states with Covid, I was also worried for my parents. But it was comforting to see the live updates by the government on social media which kept me closer to home.

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This item was submitted on March 16, 2022 by Anasitasia Vaitele using the form “Share Your Story” on the site “A Journal of the Plague Year”:

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