COVID-19 case numbers edging up nationally, officials hoping vaccinations outpace virus

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – The U.S. Centers for Disease Control said Friday 198 million vaccinations have been administered in the United States.

But, the CDC also reports hospitalizations, which had dropped tremendously since mid-January, have been increasing nationally for three straight weeks.

The CDC figures show 78 million Americans, about 24 percent of the adult population, have been fully vaccinated and nearly 126 million people have received at least one dose.

The Alabama Department of Public Health reports about 890,000 people have been fully vaccinated and nearly 1.4 million have received at least one shot.

But trendlines are edging up again nationally, including positive percentage and case numbers, even as state mask mandates have largely ended. Officials have expressed concern about emerging virus variants, but the hope is vaccinations will take place at such a rate that there will be fewer and fewer people to catch and spread the virus.

The ADPH’s Dr. Karen Landers said she knows residents are COVID-weary, but it is smart to remain on guard against the virus.

“We’re not done with this virus yet,” Landers said. “Where we are is these are the measures we have in place, this is what we’re doing in terms of vaccine, but we’re certainly not there yet. The data looks good, but again, when you see these other situations, such as the variants coming along, that can, certainly, reverse us.

“And, I think a more practical concern is to remind people, if they have signs and symptoms of illness, still think COVID.”

The CDC says at least 45 percent of current U.S. cases are the UK variant, B 1.1.7. which is harder on younger people, but also responds to vaccination. ADPH figures show Alabama’s public schools show an increase in cases over the past week, with 334 statewide, compared to 257 a week ago. Huntsville City Schools and Madison City Schools both reported 13 cases. Madison County Schools reported seven cases.

The CDC also reported on what is being referred to as “breakthrough” cases, where a person who is fully vaccinated contracts COVID-19.

The CDC says out of 78-million Americans who are fully vaccinated, 5,800 people have gotten COVID-19 – after being fully vaccinated. That’s a small percentage, less than 1 percent of those vaccinated, but of those, 400 people were hospitalized, and 74 died. 

The trendlines are edging up, after the major surge of cases after Christmas.

In mid-January, there were more than 3,000 COVID patients in Alabama hospitals, today that number is about 330.  At the same time, that figure has ceased going down over the past two weeks.       

The Huntsville Hospital system reported 57 COVID patients Friday, that’s up from 37 on April 1st.

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