“Concern around COVID in general has pretty much disappeared, which is unfortunate,” said Dr. Jennifer Morse, medical director for the 20-county health departments of central and northern Michigan. “I feel strange walking into a store wearing a mask. I am a minority. It’s very different. It’s a really unusual environment right now.”
New Mexico is running out of intensive care unit beds even though the state’s vaccination rate is higher than the national average. A decrease in people’s immunity could have something to do with it. People who were vaccinated against the coronavirus in the early stages but have not yet received booster shots may be driving up infection numbers, even if they still have some protection from the more extreme consequences of the virus.
“The delta variant and decreased immunity — the combination of these two has set us back,” said Ali Mokdad, a professor of health and metric sciences at the University of Washington. “This virus is going to be with us for a long, long time.”
The delta variant dominates infections throughout the United States, accounting for more than 99% of the samples tested.
No state in the country has achieved a high enough vaccination rate, even when combined with contagion-induced immunity, to prevent the type of outbreaks currently taking place, Mokdad said.