It has been more than two months since the State of Connecticut lifted virtually all mandates related to the COVID-19 public health crisis. We have been watching closely as case numbers and hospitalizations stayed consistently low, while the proportion of vaccinated residents increased. However, most likely due to the more contagious Delta variant, our case numbers and test positivity rate around the state indicate a turn in the wrong direction.
The state reported a 2.71% daily test positivity rate this week – the highest percentage in two months. The rolling 7-day test positivity rate is also at the highest level it has been since May. Now is not the time to panic, but it is time to double down on our efforts to beat this virus once and for all. We have many tools in our toolbox to defeat this pandemic, none of them greater than getting vaccinated. Do not wait any longer if you have not gotten vaccinated or have been putting off the second shot of Pfizer or Moderna.
In the report attached below, we have data showing the spread of the COVID-19 variants over the last six months. It clearly shows the rise of the Alpha variant, which is about 50% more transmissible than the original strains of COVID-19 from 2020. However, the Delta variant, which is estimated to be twice as contagious as the original strains we dealt with in the past, has spread rapidly over the last several weeks nationwide. Public health officials connect the rise in cases across the state to the Delta variant, which can be passed very easily to those who are not fully vaccinated.
While the past does not necessarily predict the future, we are carefully preparing for what the fall may bring if more of the population is not vaccinated. COVID-19 is less likely to be spread outdoors, especially when people are distanced. That is one major reason why last summer, despite no vaccine available nationally, our cases dropped significantly. Looking at the 2020 data, there was a sharp decrease in cases in the summer months. Then, as the weather cooled and people moved indoors, cases picked up again in late September and early October. While we have the vaccine now, the variants present new challenges.
It is important to remember that getting vaccinated does not provide protection overnight. If someone were to get their first dose of Moderna today, July 25, they would not be considered fully vaccinated until the earliest date of September 5. By adhering to authorized vaccine dosing schedules per the FDA, weeks must pass between the first and second shot for Pfizer or Moderna, and then another 14 days is needed following the second shot for someone to be considered fully vaccinated.
While it seems like the fall is far away, we need to act now to ensure more people are vaccinated before the fall.
Please, get vaccinated!