Alabama has the smallest percentage of fully vaccinated residents in the state, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Alabama, med 33.1 percent of residents fully vaccinated, kept the assessment of the second-worst vaccination rate for several months behind Mississippi, which now holds this spot, at 33.3 percent fully vaccinated.
New cases across the country have increased by 80 percent from two weeks ago, and admissions have increased by seven percent according to New York Times COVID-1
Alabama’s 80 percent increase in new cases is the eighth highest increase in the nation over the two weeks nationwide and well above the overall increase in the United States of 39 percent.
The Alabama Department of Public Health’s risk dashboard marks 26 of Alabama’s 67 counties as “very high risk” for the spread of COVID-19, up from six two weeks ago and 21 last week.
ADPH uses the seven-day average of new daily cases to categorize counties as either low risk, moderate risk, high risk or very high risk. In addition to the 21 counties considered very high, four counties are “high risk.”
The percentage of COVID-19 tests that are positive nationwide rose to 4.8 percent on July 3, according to ADPH. Public health officials say it should be at or below five percent, otherwise the cases will not be discovered. It had been as low as 2.9 percent on June 19th.
Dr. Jeanne Marrazzo, head of infectious diseases at UAB, told reporters on Wednesday that the increase in cases comes at a time when testing remains low.
“I would bet right now that almost all of the tests are performed in people who were worked up for a symptomatic respiratory disease or other illness, perhaps from contacts, and perhaps for pre-screening for procedures or for travel,” Marrazzo said.
Marrazzo said increases in cases across the country are regional and vaccinations are proving critical to stopping the spread.
“Places where they had received COVID under good control, and critically where they have managed to vaccinate the majority of the population by county or town or city, do not see the same increase at all,” Marrazzo said.
States with the largest increases in new cases in the last two weeks are in the south and midwest, where vaccination rates have been low.
Mississippi’s new cases jumped 91 percent over the past two weeks. Louisiana, with a vaccination rate of 35.6 percent, saw an increase of 109 percent, and Tennessee, where 37 percent of residents are vaccinated, had an increase of 169 percent in new cases.
As cases escalated and vaccinations were low, Marrazzo explained that Alabama could be heading into another deadly wave.
“It’s a very feasible scenario that I don’t like to think about, but I think we need to be prepared for,” Marrazzo said.