SIOUX FALLS, SD (KELO) – The race to end the COVID-19 pandemic is heating up.
On Tuesday, President Joe Biden announced that the vaccine supply to the Americans would be 300 million by the end of May. As of Wednesday, South Dakota reports that 26% of the population has received at least one dose of the vaccine. There has been more good news than bad news when it comes to the current state of the pandemic, but health officials continue to urge people to pay attention.
“Many epidemics, pandemics have had three big waves,”
In addition to vaccine efforts, the number of new cases of coronavirus and hospitalizations from COVID-19 has stabilized after declines in December and January. Nearly a year after the pandemic started in South Dakota, Dr. Basel in comparing the current state of the pandemic with a race. A race between getting enough people vaccinated before a new wave of cases, hospitalizations and deaths comes from the virus.
As of March 3, South Dakota reported a total of 112,833 cases of coronavirus, 1,993 active cases, 6,654 admissions and 1,893 deaths.
As Dr. Basel noted, South Dakota had a small peak in early May 2020 and a large peak in mid-November. One-day reporting peaks for active cases occurred on 15 November with 19,360, on 10 November with 607 current admissions and on 28 November with 54 deaths. More stabilized seven-day data averages showed peaks of nearly 1,500 for new cases per week, just under 600 for current admissions per week and just under 30 for deaths per week.
South Dakota State Epidemiologist Dr. Joshua Clayton stressed that actions taken by the public affected the number of COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths at the state peak.
“All the precautions people take, wash their hands, avoid crowds, stay away from people, wear masks, everything increases prevention against COVID-19,” said Dr. Clayton, who added, as the vaccine continues to be distributed, that mitigation measures should still remain a high priority.
Dr. Basel agreed that the same mitigation measures will remain as important in March 2021 as they were in March 2020.
“I understand that. People get tired of COVID and tired of social distance and masking,” said Dr. Basel. “We really have a window here. If we can run these rates as low as possible before these variants hit us. And allow us to get people vaccinated, we will be able to avoid the third wave. ”
Both Dr. Basel and Dr. Clayton pointed to COVID-19 variants, especially those that could avoid or reduce protection against current vaccines, as the biggest threat in the pandemic. Dr. Clayton did not delve into what another wave of coronavirus cases would look like in South Dakota, but stressed the importance of the vaccine.
“Every day we go and get more shots in the arms, the less impact we get from a possible future increase in cases,” said Dr. Clayton. “Any variant that is not covered by a vaccine will lead to future increases.”
In terms of COVID-19 variants, South Dakota remains one of only a few states that does not report any variant cases. Both Avera and the state health lab have said daily tests are performed to check for variants.
As of Sunday, 46 different states and US territories have reported on the British variant known on B117. Every state around South Dakota except Montana has reported at least one case of this COVID-19 variant.
Dr. Basel said the British variant “does not look as scary as some of the other variants out there.” He pointed to the South African (B1.351) and Brazil (P1) variants as those being monitored more closely.
People who are fully vaccinated should continue to take precautions
For the 79,686 South Dakotans who have been fully vaccinated after receiving two doses of either the Moderna or Pfizer vaccines, both Drs. Basel and Dr. Clayton them to continue to practice good mitigation measures such as social distance, masking and other precautions.
“We know that if you are exposed to the virus later, you will have a high probability of fighting it,” said Dr. Basel. During this time, your immune system fights the virus, do you want to be contagious? That’s the part we do not really know. ”
Dr. Basel said it takes a few weeks after the vaccination before it is fully effective. He said Avera has seen a few cases of people getting COVID-19 right after vaccination.
“It doesn’t really kick in for a while,” said Dr. Basel. “It’s a slow walk back to normal once you’ve been vaccinated. Getting out of COVID is not a ticket. ”