The following article was originally published in the Ohio Capital Journal and published on News5Cleveland.com under a content sharing agreement. News 5 editor Jade Jarvis provided more local coverage for this version of the article.
COVID-19 cases are on the rise again in 10th the least vaccinated state in the country.
State data show that infection rates are rising and workloads are increasing in hospitals where more than 2,700 Ohio patients are hospitalized for COVID-19.
Analysis of state data shows that 11 months after the introduction of vaccines, the country is still fertile for outbreaks throughout Ohio. Of the 88 counties in the state of Buckeye, only Delaware (71% vaccinated) exceeds the national vaccination rate of 68.5%. According to Sunday data, less than half of the population has been vaccinated in 58 counties.
According to the state, Ohio (56% vaccinated) is ranked 10thth According to the New York Times, the country’s least vaccinated.
In Henry County, in rural Northwest Ohio, COVID-19 is more than twice the state-wide rate of approximately 400 infections per 100,000 residents. About 52 percent of the population has been vaccinated. Health Commissioner Joy Ermie said the spread is not related to any outbreak or location, it’s just swimming in the homes and social events of mostly unvaccinated people.
“The faster we turn this around, the faster the cases will decrease,” he said. “It’s going to be an eternal cycle if we can’t increase our overall vaccination rate.”
Public health workers in the coronavir-affected counties said in interviews with this article that it is time to begin to accept that COVID-19 is likely to remain here in some form or manner, without a paradigm shift in vaccinations.
Several showed a round pattern in vaccination; unvaccinated usually remain unvaccinated. Vaccines strengthen their immune systems with booster doses.
“I would really like to say that COVID is over in X. [number of] months, “Ermie said.” But I feel much more confident that we should take our energy away. “How does this end?” “How can we learn to live with it?”
The federal authorities approved the use of vaccines for children aged 5 to 11 earlier this month, which is likely to increase vaccination rates to some extent. In the eastern Ohio state of Seneca, with a population of about 55,000, about 47% of the population has been vaccinated. The number of cases in the county is almost twice the state average.
About 20 children were vaccinated at the clinic last Tuesday night, according to county health commissioner Anne Goon. He said there has been no crazy hurry about the vaccines, but he was happy with Tuesday’s audience.
He said adults in the community are full of vaccines, masks and a variety of infection control policies for the pandemic. Some parents have refused to test their children after being exposed to the coronavirus at school, he said, even if it was necessary in post-school sports.
“We have a part of our population that just doesn’t believe COVID is real,” Goon said. “That it’s just a scam.”
Although children ages 5 to 11 are now eligible for vaccinations, Dr. Keith Armitage, medical director of the Roe Green Center for Travel Medicine and Global Health at University Hospitals, doesn’t think it would help increase vaccinations in Ohio because many parents are still hesitant.
“It seems that nationwide, about a third of parents are very eager to get their children vaccinated, about a third have a wait-and-see attitude and about a third say,‘ No way, never. ’And unless we get 70-80% or more of the children vaccinated in terms of spread, I don’t think it will have a big impact, ”Armitage said.
For Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff, Ohio’s chief physician and director of the state health department, the state is “approaching” the point of a pandemic where the coronavirus will do more harm than good to public welfare. However, we’re not there yet, as the coronavirus’s over-contagious delta variant is looking “hemlessly” unvaccinated, he said.
“In some circumstances, what we see is a low vaccination rate in some communities,” he said. “So we still have to focus on the importance of vaccinations.”
Vanderhoff, who spoke to reporters on Friday, offered a more optimistic view of Ohio’s vaccination rate. More than 2/3 of Ohio adults have now received at least one vaccination dose. He said the COVID-19 vaccination rate has exceeded the number of Ohio people who have received their annual flu vaccination. It pales in comparison to vaccinations against measles or polio, but these vaccines have been in use for a longer time and are (most often) legally required to enroll in a school.
Despite Vanderhoff’s optimism, due to COVID-19, hospitalizations have increased in all age groups over the past week. Hospitalizations for 30- to 39-year-olds, who are less vaccinated than their older counterparts, increased by 48 percent during this time. More than 2,700 Ohio patients are currently hospitalized for COVID-19, up from 2,200 earlier this month.
Ohio Hospital Association spokesman John Palmer said the state-wide COVID-19 patient count has increased by about 60 patients daily in recent times.
“Hospitals are operating at high capacity due to labor challenges, and any surge will have devastating effects disrupting community health care,” he said. “Despite the three safe, approved and effective vaccines available today to stop this virus, we are still seeing it spread, and it is frustrating to respond to a virus that is preventable.”
In all, in about 20 months of the pandemic, more than 25,600 Ohio people have died in COVID-19, part of the 762,000 deaths in the United States. More than 82,000 Ohio people have been hospitalized, more than 10,000 of whom needed intensive care. An astonishing 1.6 million Ohio people have been infected with COVID-19.
There is limited information on infections that “break” the protection of vaccines, but the available evidence suggests that this is a rare case. A CDC study shows that vaccination reduces the risk of infection fivefold; vaccines are 88-93% effective in preventing hospitalization; and months of data show that there is no increased risk of mortality in vaccine recipients. January 1 In Ohio, less than 5% of people hospitalized or dying of COVID-19 have been vaccinated.
Mark Cameron, an immunologist at Case Western Reserve University, is not surprised by the recovery in COVID-19. Even highly vaccinated states like Vermont (82% vaccine started) are struggling with epidemics. In Ohio, cold weather makes respiratory viruses more easily spread and forces people to gather indoors instead of outdoors.
“It’s completely unacceptable to operate in a state where 50 to 60 percent of people are unvaccinated,” he said.
He expressed his frustration at public satisfaction as the coronavirus subsided and his reluctance to acknowledge predictable patterns of disease spread based on low vaccine coverage, weather, and human behavior.
“I don’t know what’s unique to say at this point,” he said. “Here, danger is another effect on the holiday season through illness, hospitalization, and death.”