COVID-19 has affected many aspects of life in the Upper Peninsula over the past year. And the Western Upper Peninsula Health Department is looking back in order to look forward. Dr. Robert Van Howe says that compared to other parts of the state and country, the Upper Peninsula was late to the party.
The development of vaccines for other corona virus strains, such as the 1990’s SARS and 2000’s MERS viruses, went into the creation of the COVID-19 vaccine released earlier this year. The COVID-19 vaccine allows our own body to make the necessary proteins to fight off infection DR. Van Howe said.
Dr. Van Howe also clarifies how breakthrough cases are being found, and what qualifies as a breakthrough case in the vaccine. Recently the amount of breakthrough cases in other parts of the country has caused concern for people on the fence about getting vaccinated. But Van Howe explains that these rates are nuanced and depend on a number of variables like whether or not someone continues to wear a mask after getting the vaccine.
In the most recent report from the WUPHD on September 1st, the five county region has had 103 cases and 1 death during the previous week. And the vaccination rate across the area hovers at an average just above 50 percent. Van Howe and the health department says not enough has been done to fully protect our community. And the department will continue to air on the side of caution in anticipation for the fall’s potential infection rates.