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IHME projection sees jump in COVID-19 cases late summer, early fall

Updated: May. 24, 2021 at 4:07 PM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Alabama’s COVID-19 cases remain down, but consistent. A University of Washington research group believes our state and the country could see a surge in COVID cases later this summer and into the fall.

We have spoken with the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) numerous times since the outbreak of the pandemic. They agree things are improving, but not enough when it comes to vaccinations and mask wearing to change their projections that more COVID cases could be on the way later this year.

Mask orders are going away in Alabama and the country. While people are getting vaccinated, it’s not enough at this point to really do away with the infectious disease.

“It could be a season we see a rise in cases and mortality. Not as much as we have seen before, but a rise in cases and mortality we can avoid in cases by simply going and getting the vaccine,” Dr. Ali Mokdad with IHME said.

Mokdad said Alabama, like other parts of the country, is seeing vaccine hesitancy with a drop in the number of people seeking vaccinations, even though more people like the 12-15 years age range are now eligible. “Right now we are hitting a vaccine hesitancy, and due to rumors out there, unfortunately some politicians out there, not willing to take the vaccine openly,” Mokdad said.

IHME expects the country will have a good summer with those who have taken the vaccines and with mask orders dropping. The big concern is when the fall comes as more people go indoors.

“How fast can we go and tell everyone summer was really good, but winter is going to be bad. Let’s put our masks back and again and rush to get your vaccine,” Mokdad said.

Mokdad said the vaccines are safe and the United States is lucky to have them available.

Mokdad added that misinformation on social media is also contributing to some vaccine hesitancy. He said people can make a difference, get the vaccine and be ready to pick up the masks later this year.

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