Dr. George Morris answers questions about the rising case positivity rate in Minnesota, and what people should do if they have the opportunity to get the vaccine, but believe "others may need it more."
- It's been about a year since the first case of COVID-19 was detected in Minnesota and since then, life has changed in the virus has evolved. Even though we know more about this virus now than we did last March, there's still a lot of information to keep track of. So every week we'll be asking experts about recent COVID developments.
Why is Minnesota seeing a rise in case positivity rate?
DR. GEORGE MORRIS: We are seeing an increase in the numbers of people testing positive, both numbers and percent. So we're still doing pretty good levels of testing and we're seeing this spread. The numbers now seem a little bit more, I'll call them like in the early fall, maybe along September, October timeline.
I think of it two in the world of calendars and our behavior and opening up. With schools opening up, more businesses, travel increasing, spring breaks and everything else like that, is where we're seeing the numbers rise.
- What's the status of the death rate in Minnesota?
DR. GEORGE MORRIS: We're seeing the cases go down in our elderly, our most vulnerable, and that is why I think we're seeing the deaths go down also. What we're going to have to balance is, is this rise going to continue in you might say, the lesser risk populations, or will it spread one or two generations up when we're talking about degrees of separation. If it spreads again into our vulnerable, we will see more deaths happen.
We're already seeing a few more cases. The hospitalizations across Minnesota are going up a little bit. And then that can translate to those deaths.
- Why do some people experience side effects from vaccines?
DR. GEORGE MORRIS: Side effect means that your body is responding to something that is foreign, basically foreign. It's not your own cells. It's brought into your body to help stimulate this response and your immune system, your immune response, increases fever, increases pain locally, may increase redness, may cause a rash. These are things that for many people demonstrate that you've really had, call that a robust, or a good response.
Now, that doesn't mean that if you don't get side effects you don't have an immune response. But I think that the side effects truly are, they demonstrate that your body is responding and reacting to this vaccine.
- If someone has the opportunity to get the vaccine but believes others need it more, what should they do?
DR. GEORGE MORRIS: This is a case where we are all in line. And as our turn comes around, I think each of us should take advantage of that. I don't think that we're butting in front of anybody else. We're not skipping the line. We are just taking our role as part of that next group to go ahead and get vaccinated.
I really try to encourage people to put aside any guilt feelings and view it more as this is your time to be accountable and responsible for your community members to get vaccinated. Currently, in many of our hospitals, we have people in their 20s, 30s, 40s, young people, that are in the hospital and we've seen them seriously ill and die. So even if you think you're lower risk, nobody is zero risk.