There is continued good news on the coronavirus front! COVID-19 case counts and deaths are continuing a steady decline worldwide, and numbers in the U.S. and Indiana are at their lowest levels since last summer. Closer to home, case counts in Hancock County have often been in the single digits per day over the last few weeks.
Add to this that 295,000,000 (yes, 295 million…) doses of vaccine have been given in the U.S. with 135 million people fully vaccinated, equating to 51% of all American’s having received at least one dose of the vaccine and 41% have been fully vaccinated! In Indiana, nearly 3 million residents have received at least one dose of the vaccine and 42,000 residents of Hancock county have achieved that status as well. This means that 58% of eligible individuals (age 12 an older) in Hancock County have achieved some level of immunity via the vaccine! Of interest, the McCordsville and Fortville zip codes have both exceeded 70% of residents with at least one vaccination. New Palestine and Greenfield are at 58% and 51% respectively.
There is also increasing evidence that the vaccine is just as, if not more, protective against the disease than originally expected. Personal immunity is in excess of 94%, it is effective against the known variants, the immunity appears to be long-lasting, and the incidence of disease transmission from a fully vaccinated individual to unvaccinated individuals is exceptionally small. On the flip side, unvaccinated individuals that acquire the disease appear to be sicker and younger than we experienced last year.
All of this points to the continued relaxing of restrictions for vaccinated individuals who can safely partake in activities without posing a risk to themselves or others. This includes less dependence on testing, contact tracing, quarantine, and even mask wearing. Conversely, lack of vaccination brings with it a dependence on all these tools to ensure those who have not yet gained immunity remain as safe from the disease as possible.
The Memorial Day holiday is a nation-wide test of our current positive trends. If there are no major outbreaks following the many gatherings, not the least of which were the 140,000 fans at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, it will be seen as a sign for further easing of restrictions for vaccinated individuals and increased encouragement for the unvaccinated to jump on the bandwagon.
For those of us who are vaccinated – enjoy the continued return to normalcy. For those who have not yet taken the step, please be careful – the disease is not gone, and the risk of catching it is very real, please consider getting vaccinated today.