Local expert answers: Who is vaccinated? Who isn’t? Why is there an uptick in COVID cases?


You'd think with so many getting vaccinated, the numbers would be going down

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – We’re now in our thirteenth month of Tracking COVID-19. Monday, another 46,000 people were vaccinated in Ohio. Over 28% of the state’s population has received their first shot.

You’d think with all those vaccinations, the numbers of new cases would be falling, but that’s not the case at all.

Let’s start with Ohio as a whole, where for three weeks new COVID cases were holding steady between 10,000 and 11,000. This past week, they went to 12,700. That’s an increase of 20%, and as more people are getting vaccinated.

We are seeing the same trend in the counties around Youngstown. For three weeks in Mahoning County, we were right around 160 new cases. They weren’t going down, but they weren’t going up. But then this past week, it jumped to 235. That’s a 45% increase.

Four weeks ago in Trumbull County, there were 151 new cases. Then, it went to 164 before dropping to 112. This week, 224 new cases were recorded – double what it was two weeks ago.

The trend in Columbiana County showed a decline in cases for three straight weeks at 62, 59 and 42 cases. Not a huge jump this week, but it was back up to 53.

Four weeks ago in Mercer County, the case count was at 211. Then, it dropped to 71, and then to 64. The trend was going down until this past week when it shot up to 107, an increase of 67% from the previous week.

We wanted to find out why the numbers were going up while more people are getting vaccinated.

Mercy Health’s Dr. James Kravec said people not vaccinated are relaxing and continuing the spread. He also said we’re not close yet to herd immunity, which is 70% to 80% percent of the population vaccinated. Remember, Ohio at this point is 28%.

“In order for us to get back to some semblance of normalcy, in order for us to have less cases, we must vaccinate as many people as possible in order to get to that herd immunity. That’s how herd immunity works,” Kravec said. “We’ve known that with MMR – measles, mumps, and rubella. We’ve learned that with smallpox, polio. That’s how you eradicate viruses is by having enough of the people vaccinated. We’re at 28% or 29% in Mahoning County. That number is not going to get us a reduction in the spread because the critical mass is not there.”

Who is vaccinated by location:

  • Ohio – 28.4%
  • Mahoning County – 30%
  • Trumbull County – 28.4%
  • Columbiana County – 24.8%

Who is vaccinated by age group:

  • 70-plus: 71%
  • 60-69: 59%
  • 50-59: 39%
  • 40-49: 29%
  • 30-39: 29%
  • 20-29: 12%

Kravec said he has not heard of anyone getting the vaccine and then getting COVID again. He said Mercy Health has all kinds of appointments available this week. People who want an appointment can now get one.

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