The COVID-19 data in Idaho is telling a consistent story when it comes to what is happening with vaccinated vs. unvaccinated Idahoans. The gap between COVID-19 cases in the vaccinated vs. unvaccinated is growing. Below are charts that outline what is happening in Idaho:
Do vaccinated Idahoans get COVID-19, and more specifically, the very contagious Omicron variant?
Sometimes. If you are vaccinated, the COVID-19 vaccination lowers the possibility you might get infected with the virus if you are exposed. If you are vaccinated when infected, it radically reduces your chances of severe illness, hospitalization, or death. The data proves that.
During December 15, 2021, through January 15, 2022, when the Omicron variant was circulating, fully vaccinated Idahoans were four times less likely to be hospitalized for their illness than those who were not fully vaccinated. Among those who had also received their boosters, the likelihood of hospitalization was even lower.
The pandemic is making us all very tired
The ongoing pandemic is exhausting, and unfortunately, it’s not over. We continue to see the effects of a very, very contagious Omicron variant. As of Jan. 15, the percentage of those who have a positive COVID-19 test was 34.1 percent statewide. This is the highest testing percent positivity we have seen during the entire pandemic, to date. Some healthcare providers are reporting testing positivity rates of over 60 percent.
In addition, on Wednesday, Jan. 19, there were 4,537 new cases of COVID-19 reported, which sets the record for the most cases of any day during the entire pandemic. And, there are approximately 33,500 positive tests results that we know of that have yet to be reported as cases because they need to be reviewed by the local public health districts first.
Many people are using the idea of breakthrough cases as an argument against getting the COVID-19 vaccine. No vaccine is 100 percent effective, but in Idaho, only about 3.3 percent of fully vaccinated people have gotten COVID-19. Those are pretty good odds that you will not get COVID-19 if you are fully vaccinated. And we know booster doses increase protection even more against Omicron.
When it comes to COVID-19 hospitalizations in Idaho since May 1, 2021 (until Jan. 15, 2022):
- 5,061 patients were not fully vaccinated (86.5 percent), and 792 were vaccinated (13.5 percent)
- 896 ICU (intensive care unit) patients were not fully vaccinated, and 103 (10.3 percent) were fully vaccinated
As I said earlier, the data is outlining what is happening in Idaho when it comes to COVID-19. Cases will most likely increase, due to Omicron, before we see a decline. But vaccines protect you from the worst outcomes and the booster dose helps to reinforce this.
Let’s keep ourselves and others safe from COVID-19
I know you are tired of COVID-19. We all are, but the only way to get us to a post-pandemic way of life is to do what we can to protect ourselves and others:
- Get vaccinated.
- If you have been vaccinated, get a booster. This will help protect you from getting COVID-19 in the first place, and it also helps you avoid going to the hospital if you do catch COVID-19 after being fully vaccinated and helps protect against Omicron if you are boosted.
- Choose to wear a quality mask. Properly worn masks protect others and you.
- Physically distance when in a public place.
- Wash your hands often.
- Stay home if you are sick.
There is a lot of misinformation and disinformation out there, especially on social media. Some of it can actually harm those who might follow it. I would urge you to trust the science, trust your doctor and your healthcare professionals, and trust the public health experts. Our only goal is to promote and protect the health of Idahoans so we can get back to a normal way of living.
I hope you all have a safe and healthy weekend.