'Pandemic of the unvaccinated:' COVID cases rise in NC but we're still better off than pre-vaccine

Two things can be true at the same time: the number of COVID-19 cases and related hospitalizations are rising, and the metrics pale in comparison to the situation six months ago or last year.

Thank you, vaccines.

"This is becoming a pandemic of the unvaccinated," CDC Director Dr. Rachelle Wallensky said Friday. "We are seeing outbreaks of cases in parts of the country that have low vaccination coverage because unvaccinated people are at risk and communities that are fully vaccinated are generally faring well."

Nearly 32 percent spike in COVID cases among NC kids 14 and younger

That assessment is especially appropriate when comparing Wake County, North Carolina, where just 35 people per 100,000 residents are hospitalized with COVID, while Greene County, Missouri - 1/5 the population of Wake County - has a hospitalization rate 15x that of Wake County.

Indeed, state officials did report more than 1,000 cases of COVID on Friday, but that is drastically lower than the 8,914 cases reported six months ago. On that Friday, January 15, COVID killed 108 people and hospitalized 3,916 people.

A look back even a year, moreover, shows how much has improved: there were 2,160 cases, 20 deaths, and 1,134 people in hospital.

In an exclusive interview with ABC11, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said: "We're seeing inaccurate information about the effects of vaccines. They're effective, they're safe, they've gone through the FDA approval that which is the gold standard in the world for approval of vaccines."

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Psaki added that President Biden and his COVID-19 Task Force are particularly concerned about vaccination rates among people younger than 27.

"It's not to say there aren't people older who still need to get vaccinated - there are, but there is 70% of people over 27 are vaccinated. That includes Democrats, Republicans and independents. There is a lower vaccination by a sizeable margin who are younger. It's important to use to target them and use trusted messengers."

As for who those trusted messengers could be, ninth-grader Molly Corin thinks officials should think outside the box.

"If someone has a teacher they really look up to, that teacher will tell people about the vaccine, and that will make an impact because it's coming from someone they know personally."
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