There are various reasons why COVID-19 cases have seen a decline. Dr. Manoj Jain breaks those reasons down and also gives additional insight to your other concerns.

Question: Why are the daily COVID-19 case numbers declining so fast?

Answer: I wish I knew for certain. It is likely a mish-mash of many factors.

First, the end of the holidays were the driving force for the start of the decline. Less family gatherings and fewer holiday parties led to less spread of the virus.

Second, a large number of persons have already had COVID-19 infection. Latest numbers show that close to 90,000 people have reported to have had COVID-19 in Shelby County.

To get the true number we need to multiply by factor of 4 which is 360,000 people or nearly 40% of the population. Hence there are fewer vulnerable people to get infected.

Third, the vaccine too has helped to reduce the non-immune population. With over 75,000 first doses given, and nearly 40% of persons over the age of 75 vaccinated and 70% of persons in the Phase 1a1 and Phase 1a2 vaccinated, the virus has a limited number of people to infect.

Lastly, the weather has contributed in several ways to the decline in numbers. Less people are getting tested due to poor weather conditions so lower positive number of results are recorded and the snow and icy conditions have led most people to stay home leading to weather related distancing.

So, again – take your pick as to which best reason suits you, but be delighted to see the decline.

Where do we go from here?
We need to continue the decline. In fact, we need to move from “community transmission” of the virus to “cluster transmission.” What this means is that we need to know the linkages of who is infecting who and we need to contain them. We can follow the contacts in a family, workplace, church or gym.

When we can begin to identify clusters in these places of gatherings, we can begin to rapidly contain those clusters and stop community spread of the virus.

What can I do to identify clusters?
If you or someone you know is tested positive, then encourage blanket testing of contacts at the workplace, school or church, even if other contacts are not having symptoms. Then consider repeating the test on the contacts again after 7 days.

If the tests are both negative, then you can be sure they were not creating another cluster. Large scale testing at schools, workplaces, churches and gathering is our best hope of stopping transmission beyond individual clusters.

Which clusters are driving the epidemic now?
Few months ago family clusters were driving the epidemic into community transmission. Now it is workplace clusters. Asymptomatic testing or blanket testing if a positive case is found at a workplace can prevent the spread.

Can we actually talk about eliminating COVID-19?
No one is talking about this now, but clearly with the decline in cases and the high rates of vaccine uptake there is tremendous cautious optimism. Additionally, we have to be vigilant with new mutant variants being present in our community.

There is light at the end of the tunnel, let’s hope it is not an oncoming train. Let’s continue to mask, distance, test, trace and vaccinate.

Source: Commercial Appeal