Vicksburg Mayor George Flaggs, Jr. announced Monday that he will not extend the city’s mask mandate, which is due to expire Monday, Oct. 4 at noon.
“I will not be extending the City of Vicksburg’s COVID-19 mask mandate…but highly recommend everyone take the vaccine and wear a mask then social distancing can’t be practiced,” Mayor Flaggs said in a statement, citing a decline in COVID-19 cases coupled with a rise in the community vaccination rate as factors that informed his decision.
“Let’s take responsibility for our own health while helping to ensure the health and safety of others,” Flaggs urged.
Warren County and indeed, the entire state, saw a steady decline COVID-19 case numbers over the past few weeks – with cases falling at nearly the same rate that they accelerated at the start of the Delta surge in July.
In the absence of a new variant emerging or some other variable disrupting the current trend, available data suggests that cases can be expected to continue their slow decline.
Tempting though it is to let our guard down, Mayor Flaggs isn’t the only public official that is tempering good news with reminders to remain diligent and continue using the tools we have available, like masking and distancing, when situations warrant them.
State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs shared the most recent hospitalization trends on Twitter Monday, showing a significant decrease in COVID-19 patients being treated in intensive care units. Dobbs warned, though, that the volume of COVID patients being admitted to hospitals will unfortunately result in a percentage of those individuals experiencing negative outcomes.
Great news on the hospital front – COVID ICU patients declining.
Still substantial numbers of new admissions and more personal tragedy to come.
— thomas dobbs (@TCBPubHealth) October 4, 2021
While uncertainty around a new vaccine or medication is understandable, wise even, all of the available data points to vaccines as the most effective tool we have right now to combat the virus, with monoclonal antibody treatments providing the best recovery outcomes for patients experiencing active infections.
When evaluating the outcomes of cases in relation to vaccination status, it can be helpful to also look at trends in relation to the age of the individual. As we know, older age groups have higher rates of negative outcomes. According to State Epidemiologist Dr. Paul Byers, this is due to the probability of co-morbidities and other health problems increases as we age and making treatment more complex.
MSDH reports that of all COVID-19 cases this year in individuals age 0-49 years, only 4% were fully vaccinated. In cases affecting individuals age 50 to 65, 3% were fully vaccinated. And finally, looking at cases in the oldest group, 65 years and older, fully vaccinated individuals made up 5.6% of cases.
While vaccines are certianly proven to be a great deal safer than a COVID-19 infection, that does not mean that they are free of risks. According to the CDC, serious adverse events after COVID-19 vaccination are rare but may occur. Severe allergic reactions, like anaphylaxis, can occur after any vaccination. The CDC approximates the number of people that have experienced anaphylaxis after receiving a COVID-19 vaccination is 2 to 5 people per million.
Cases of myocarditis and pericarditis have been confirmed by the CDC and FDA in 892 individuals. Most cases have been reported after receiving a Pfizer or Moderna vaccination, and male adolecents and young adults seem to be at a higher risk for this complication.892
The Johnson & Johnson vaccine has been linked to thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome (TTS) and Guillain-Barre Syndrome (GBS), with 47 confirmed reports of TTS and 210 preliminary reports of following the J&J vaccine. These instances are extremely rare when you consider that 14.8 million doses have been administered, but a experts have identified a link or potential link between the one-dose J&J and these complications.
More than 390 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines were administered in the United States from December 14, 2020, through September 27, 2021. During this time, VAERS received 8,164 reports of death (0.0021%) among people who received a COVID-19 vaccine. FDA requires healthcare providers to report any death after COVID-19 vaccination to VAERS, even if it’s unclear whether the vaccine was the cause.