BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - The biggest concern from the Louisiana Department of Health is the second variant, also known as the UK variant, that is already impacting other states. In the past couple of weeks Louisiana and other southern states are starting to see cases climb which could be a problem in the future.
“We made steady progress, but now that progress has stalled over the past couple of weeks. What has not stalled over the past couple of weeks is the increase of the variant, the UK variant,” says Dr. Joseph Kanter who is with LDH. A few southern states, and even Louisiana, are starting to see a plateau when it comes to COVID-19 cases. Looking closer at trends in other states, Texas at one point did see a downward spiral in cases, even after losing their mask mandate, but that may not be the case anymore.
“They’ve seen a leveling of their decrease and over the past two day the suggestion is a little bit of an increase. Definitely not a spike yet, but they have been going down for a while. There was a lot of discussion because they had lifted their mask mandate over month ago. Their downward progress has stopped over the past couple of days, there’s a suggestion that they might be going up. Now, Florida is actually further along that path. Florida has been going up for the past week and a half so,” adds Dr. Kanter. He also mentioned that trends in Mississippi, where they got rid of the masks, are hard to compare to the actual case count because they don’t test as much. When it comes to states up North, there’s a big warning sign out of Michigan, the state has given out more vaccines than Louisiana, and their fourth surge is already there.
Dr. Kanter says that one of the ways to stop a fourth surge is getting vaccinated. Many folks have chosen to roll up their sleeves, but when it comes to people in the 18-29 range in Louisiana, LDH is already seeing more cases. Only 6.9% of that age group, in the capitol region, have been fully vaccinated.
Still, some young adults say they are not worried about it when going out. “I really think it is because of the vaccine, like a lot of people aren’t afraid to go out anymore and like I can see my grandma and everything, like now people are actually able to gather together,” says Emily Steen who is in high school. 39-year-old, Elizabeth Eaton says, “I still prefer to be with my close knit people, but it doesn’t concern me as much going out as it did a year ago. I still see people wearing their masks and adhering to social distancing. So, it bothers me less now that it did a year ago.”
Dr. Kanter says that no vaccine is 100% in preventing COVID-19, and people should not really let their guard down until 14 days after completing the series. The only true way to stop the fourth surge from coming into Louisiana is if folks create that herd immunity. So far, Louisiana does not it yet, and it may take a while.
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