(Kay Nietfeld / dpa via AP)
PHOENIX – After hitting record levels earlier in the year, COVID-19 cases and hospital metrics in Arizona are now at pre-Thanksgiving levels.
Will Humble, executive director of the Arizona Public Health Association, points to three main reasons for the decline.
“Number one is that we have infected 20% of people and about 10% of people have a vaccine, so that’s 30% of the population that has antibodies right now,” he said. KTAR 92.3 FM News.
Humble, who is also the former director of the Arizona Department of Health Services, believes that the drop in new cases, and especially hospitalizations, also has to do with higher-risk populations getting vaccinated.
“The third thing is that the intra-family spread that happened from all the holidays and everything related to Christmas and New Years has now passed through the families,” he said.
The number of new COVID-19 cases in Arizona in the past two weeks has hovered around 2,000, according to the Arizona Department of Health Services COVID-19 dashboard. Those numbers haven’t been seen since November.
Meanwhile, the number of confirmed or suspected COVID-19 patients and ICU beds occupied by COVID-19 patients have fallen to levels not seen since mid-to-late November.
Arizona’s weekly positivity percentage for COVID-19 diagnostic tests, an indicator of how much the virus is spreading in the community, has also been on a downward trend since the beginning of the year.
Humble warned that even as COVID-19 metrics improve, there are still many people getting infected and dying.
“Because of how bad things were in December and January, it seems things are very good at the moment,” he said. “But we are still in the substantial dispersion range. The amount of virus circulating in the community is now much higher than in September and October. “