Although COVID-19 cases are declining across the country, even in areas that have not vigorously immunized their populations, experts warn the good times may not last, the Associated Press reported on Sunday.
The state of play: The drop in the number of cases could be due to a combination of vaccination, natural immunity in communities where many were already exposed to the virus and the warmer months allowing people to spend less time locked inside, according to AP.
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Only eight states have seen their case averages increase in the past two weeks, and all of those states have vaccination rates below the national average of about 39% being fully immunized.
On the other hand, the 10 states with the fewest COVID-19 cases per capita are fully vaccinated at rates above the national average, per AP.
But, but, but: The good news comes with a catch. Mississippi’s case count is dropping when it only vaccinated 28% of its population, and about 60% of its population has some form of natural immunity due to previous exposure, per AP.
“We’re definitely getting some public benefit from our previous cases, but we’ve paid for it,” Mississippi state health official Thomas Dobbs told AP. “We paid for it with deaths.”
The state has seen 7,300 people die from COVID-19.
The big picture: Natural immunity to the virus from exposure may prove to be temporary, Leana Wen, professor of public health at George Washington University, told AP.
“Just because we’re lucky in June doesn’t mean we’ll continue to be lucky through fall and winter,” said Wen. “We may well have more transmissible, more virulent variants here, and those with no immunity or waning immunity may be susceptible again.”
To note : Vaccination has proven to be a thorny partisan issue. A CBS poll on Sunday showed that nearly 30% of Republicans did not plan to be vaccinated against COVID-19.
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