BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) – Health leaders said Alabama avoided spikes in COVID-19 cases as of Memorial Day due to immunity.
“The numbers we’ve seen across the state have comfortably encouraged me,” said Dr. Wesley Willeford, Jefferson County’s infectious disease expert. âWhen we look back on last year’s holidays, we saw big, big spikes. This is a breath of fresh air. It’s an amazing thing. “
Latest figures show fewer than 200 Covid patients are being hospitalized across the state, and Willeford said circulating immunity prevented a surge on Memorial Day.
“Because we are currently with immunity, I think we can potentially avoid really extensive hospital stays like we saw in December and January,” he said. âOne of the things that worried us most was that our healthcare system is able to handle a lot of patients who are dealing with COVID-19. As we have more people who are immune to it, the chances of this dire situation happening decrease quite a bit. “
Willeford said vaccine immunity was floating around, with around 30 percent of the state fully vaccinated. He said there was also natural immunity to previous COVID infections. But natural immunity can wear off, and Willeford said the vaccine was more of a guaranteed protection.
“I think the best way to make sure we don’t get into the danger zone is to use these vaccines,” he said. “Use this protection.”
While a spike didn’t occur on Memorial Day, without more people with guaranteed vaccination protection spikes could occur at future holiday get-togethers.
“Obtaining these vaccines will ensure that these events can be safe,” said Willeford. “That you can have everyone together, that you can be without masks, you can be as close as you want, you can have a great old time.”
Dr. Willeford said another reason not to rely on natural immunity when in large crowds is that natural immunity can vary. A person may get more immunity from a previous Covid infection compared to another person.