Good behavior, not vaccines, helping to reduce COVID-19 spread, researchers say
Yavapai County reports 185 COVID-19 cases, no deaths over holiday weekend
Updated as of Tuesday, February 16, 2021 3:05 PM
So far, the United States has had about 28 million confirmed COVID-19 cases. Since a large number of infected people never show symptoms, the CDC estimates that 83 million people in the U.S. were actually infected last year – about one-fourth of the population.
The good news is, fewer than 65,000 new coronavirus cases were reported in the U.S. Monday, Feb. 15, according to Johns Hopkins University. As major metrics point to a sharp decline in the American COVID-19 outbreak experts remain divided over the exact reasons and what it might mean.
Coronavirus infections, deaths and hospitalizations are down about 30%. Behavior, immunity and the end of the holidays could all be helping. But with new variants, some fear this may be short-lived.
GOOD BEHAVIOR, NOT VACCINES, REDUCING SPREAD
Some health experts are attributing the decline in cases to the 53 million vaccine shots given so far, or to the fact that so many people have already caught the virus. At this point, however, researchers don’t know how long natural immunity lasts. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that people who have had COVID-19 should still get vaccinated.
Others say the decline is because of the natural ebb of respiratory viruses; and others say it’s due to social distancing measures. However, most say the country is still in a bad place, continuing to accumulate high numbers of new cases every day, and recent progress could still be jeopardized, either by new fast-spreading virus variants or by relaxed social distancing measures.
Many researchers believe the current decline is a direct reflection of people modifying their behaviors and following spread mitigation measures recommended by health experts.
Former CDC Director Tom Frieden recently endorsed the idea that Americans are now seeing the effect of their good behavior — not of increased vaccinations.
“I don’t think the vaccine is having much of an impact at all on case rates," Frieden said in a CNN interview Sunday. “It’s what we’re doing right: staying apart, wearing masks, not traveling, not mixing with others indoors.”
The CDC recently reiterated these good mitigation behaviors.
“At this time, vaccinated persons should continue to follow current guidance to protect themselves and others, including wearing a mask, staying at least 6 feet away from others, avoiding crowds, avoiding poorly ventilated spaces, covering coughs and sneezes, washing hands often, following CDC travel guidance, and following any applicable workplace or school guidance, including guidance related to personal protective equipment use,” the CDC said last week.
Yavapai County reported 185 COVID-19 cases and no deaths since Friday, Feb. 12, Yavapai County Community Health Services (YCCHS) shared in a news release Tuesday, Feb. 16.
Since the start of the pandemic the county has tested 98,013 residents with 17,141 positive cases, 7,133 reported recovered and 423 deaths.
YRMC is caring for 30 COVID-19 patients, Verde Valley Medical Center in Cottonwood report nine COVID-19 patients, and the Prescott VA reports two.
More than four million Arizonans have been tested for COVID-19, with close to 800,000 positive cases and 15,000 deaths reported statewide.
LOCAL VACCINE PODS UPDATE
According to the Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS) Vaccine Administration Dashboard, Yavapai County has administered 44,813 COVID-19 vaccines with nearly 40,500 first doses and more than 4,500 second doses.
"Appointments for the PODs at Findlay Toyota Center, the old Sears at Gateway Mall and Verde Valley Christian Church are filled," YCCHS stated in the release. "Shipment of more vaccine could be delayed due to the winter storm back East. Second dose appointments will be a priority."
Appointments at the PODs are mandatory, with no walk-ins being accepted. However, with cancellations it is possible appointments may become available. Residents are encouraged to monitor the county's Vaccine Information page at https://www.yavapai.us/chs/Home/COVID-19/Vaccine.
LOCAL COVID-19 INFORMATION
• For COVID-19 vaccine information and appointment availability, visit www.yavapai.us/chs/Home/COVID-19/Vaccine;
• Yavapai Emergency Phone Bank for COVID-19 Info, call 928-442-5103 – Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.;
• County COVID-19 data, testing sites, guidelines and resources, visit www.yavapai.us/chs; and,
• COVID-19 information en español: https://www.azdhs.gov/preparedness/epidemiology-disease-control/infectious-disease-epidemiology/es/covid-19.