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The real test of COVID-19 progress is 2 weeks away, expert says

Posted at 3:11 PM, Jun 02, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-02 17:56:32-04

(WXYZ) — The seven-day average for new coronavirus cases in the US is now below 20,000 - the lowest it’s been since March of last year.

But will we see a rise in numbers following Memorial Day celebrations? Chief Health Editor Dr. Partha Nandi says we'll know in about two weeks:

If we look at past data, our case numbers often went up after major holidays. However, this is the first big holiday where millions of people could gather without masks and social distancing indoors and outdoors. All because they are fully vaccinated.

But there are also millions who have not got the shots yet – roughly half of Americans. And if they didn’t follow pandemic precautions, we could easily see our numbers rise. Especially since the more contagious variant first found in India, B.1.617 has been gaining ground and now makes up 7% of new cases.

I am concerned that unvaccinated people will look at our low infection rates, and the loosening of Michigan’s pandemic precautions and think “hey, it’s much safer now”. But that’s not the reality, they are still at risk. And a new study highlights what could potentially happen. A mathematical model was used to simulate the spread of the virus for a population of 10.5 million people. And over 11 months, researchers found that about 1.8 million infections and 8,000 deaths could be prevented with a mix of higher vaccination coverage, pandemic precautions and effective COVID-19 vaccines.

They only saw the numbers drop when vaccine coverage was near 75% in their simulations. And right now, only 40% of Americans have been fully vaccinated. We still have a long way to go before we reach herd immunity. So once again, I say if you’re not vaccinated, please get an appointment scheduled soon. And I also urge those who only have one shot of Pfizer or Moderna, to get their second shot in a timely manner.

While the vaccines are highly effective, you need both doses. Studies have found that one dose of Pfizer is only 33% protective against the variant first found in India. But if you have both doses, that number jumps to 88%. I can’t stress enough that the vaccines work, they are highly effective and are very safe.

Additional Coronavirus information and resources:

View a global coronavirus tracker with data from Johns Hopkins University.

See complete coverage on our Coronavirus Continuing Coverage page.

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