Transmissions are down but ‘we cannot spike the ball quite yet’; almost all of the ones now in the ICU and hospitals have not been vaccinated
About 220 people are hospitalized in AdventHealth’s hospitals across Central Florida, the lowest number in about a year, though the risk associated with COVID-19 variants means more people must be vaccinated, said Dr. Vincent Hsu, executive director of infection prevention and an epidemiologist at Thursday’s AdventHealth Morning Briefing.
“This is great news. We know that vaccinations are working and they’re keeping people out of the hospital,” he said. “We can not spike the ball quite yet. We are in this somewhat unfortunate situation where there’s still a large number of people who have not been vaccinated so there are still pockets of infection.”
Nearly all of the COVID-19 patients who are hospitalized are people who have not been vaccinated, he said, noting that local “breakthrough infections” or those that occur after full vaccination are extremely uncommon and typically happen in people with underlying conditions or weakened immune systems.
“The ones we see now in the ICU, in the hospitals, almost all of them have not been vaccinated,” Hsu said. “It should continue to be a lesson for all of us.”
He said variants of the virus will continue to be a concern as more Americans resume traveling and likely will mean vaccinated people will need booster shots in the future. So far, the vaccines have proven effective among mutations of the original COVID-19 strain, he said.
People who are unvaccinated and children 11 and younger who are not yet eligible for the vaccine should continue to take precautions such as social distancing or wearing masks in crowds.
Masks appear to have significantly cut down the transmission of other common viruses in recent months such as influenza. But Hsu said the coming flu season could be “significant” as more people stop wearing masks.