The highly-vaccinated state of Vermont has more cases of COVID-19 than ever before. Why does this happen?
As Vermont reports higher than ever covid-19 infection rates, State health officials have been trying to understand why.
How can a country that did well during the first part of the pandemic – even one that gained national recognition – be? do much worse currently?
“There is no one simple answer,” Vermont Health Commissioner Dr. Mark Levine said during a press conference Tuesday. “But there is It is clear that the factors that combined to create the situation where we are now.”
Slowing the spread is critical right now, Levine said, to prevent Vermont hospitals from overcrowding with people infected with the virus. He encouraged Vermonters to take the same preventive steps that have been preached throughout the pandemic: wearing masks, practicing physical distancing, staying home when sick, and vaccinating.
“There is no one solution to stop it,” Levine said. “We need to live with it, and take simple and reasonable measures to protect each other as much as possible.”
COVID case rates in Vermont right now
Positive cases in Vermont have surged in recent weeks even though the state has one of the highest vaccination rates for the virus in the United States. The lowest case rates in the country then.
Cases in Vermont have increased about 55% in the past 14 days, according to the Modeling report by Commissioner of Financial Regulation Mike Pesciak. Some recent days have seen the number of daily cases rise above 400 — the highest rate Vermont has seen since the start of the pandemic.
Over the past week, Vermont has the 12th highest rate of new cases in the United States, according to a Bisak report.
Unvaccinated Vermontrons are still the people who get sick and are hospitalized at the highest rates. Infection rates among people in their 20s and children have also contributed to the recent increase, Levine said.
Why does this happen?
Levine cited a few reasons for the increased rate of positive cases.
highly contagious delta variable It remains one of the main factors affecting cases in Vermont, Levine said, as it has been for most of the year. The variant was even able to spread among vaccinated people.
“Anyone infected can spread the virus to five or more people, much faster than the original strain,” Levine said. “This means that it can spread faster than we can trace and alert contacts.”
Levine said the state’s early success during the pandemic has also been a factor in its downfall this year. There were fewer Vermonters who fell ill early in the pandemic, but that also meant that fewer residents were able to build up any level of immunity from contracting the virus.
Levine said studies estimate that 3% or less of Vermonters had any immunity to COVID-19 before the delta variant hit.
Levine said Vermont’s success in rapidly vaccinating its residents, beginning with Vermonters’ oldest residents, means that immunity among the state’s most vulnerable people is now likely waning.
“As one of the oldest states, the proportion of Vermonters in this situation is higher than in most other parts of the country,” Levine said.
Finally, Vermonters also travel more and host visitors, and are often involved in indoor activities, more frequently than they did this time last year. They also wear masks less often. These behavioral changes also contributed to the current situation, Levin said.
“I know it can be frustrating to see Vermont look so different from what we once did during the pandemic, but even after all this time, the virus is not something we have completely control over,” Levine said.
This article originally appeared on Burlington Free Press: COVID VT cases: In case of high vaccination, positive tests increase