COVID Cases Are Falling in the Five Least Vaccinated States

The five U.S. states that have the lowest percentages of their populations fully vaccinated are seeing a fall in COVID case numbers.

According to data from the New York Times, West Virginia, Idaho, Wyoming, Alabama and Mississippi have all seen their average daily cases fall over the last two weeks.

West Virginia, the least vaccinated state with only 42 percent of the population fully inoculated, has seen its daily average of new cases fall by 7 percent over the last 14 days. However, it has seen an uptick in hospitalizations—climbing 6 percent over the last two weeks.

Idaho, which is 45 percent fully vaccinated, has seen average cases fall by 24 percent over the last two weeks to 347 per day. It has also seen a 9 percent drop in COVID hospitalizations during that time.

Wyoming and Alabama, both of which are 46 percent fully vaccinated, saw their case numbers drop by 48 and 41 percent respectively. Wyoming now has a daily case average of 144, while Alabama has 300. Wyoming has seen its hospitalizations fall in that time by 22 percent, but Alabama's has risen by 1 percent.

Mississippi, which has 47 percent of its population fully vaccinated, has seen its daily cases drop 41 percent over the last 14 days, to 287 cases on average a day. It has seen its hospitalizations rise by 6 percent.

Dr. Ellie Murray, assistant professor in epidemiology at Boston University School of Public Health, told Newsweek: "Even when people don't get vaccinated surges do come to an end and it's largely because once there starts to be a certain amount of illness and death in a community people change their behaviors. It's not surprising for surges to come and go.

"Vaccination helps by firstly decreasing the number of hospitalizations & deaths during a surge; and secondly hopefully reducing transmission enough that surges are smaller, further apart, or even don't happen at all."

On Wednesday, the U.S. reported its first case of the Omicron variant of COVID-19.

The first known U.S. case was a fully-vaccinated person in California who returned from South Africa on November 22 and tested positive seven days later. The person had mild symptoms and was isolating, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the president's chief medical adviser, told a White House press conference

"We know what we need to do to protect people: Get vaccinated if you're not already vaccinated, get boosted if you've been vaccinated for more than six months with an mRNA or two months with J&J, and all the other things we've been talking about—getting your children vaccinated, masking in indoor congregate settings, etc," Fauci said. As of December 1, 59 percent of people in the U.S. have been fully vaccinated.

Researchers still don't know fully how transmissible and severe this variant is, but it has quickly become the dominant strain in South Africa, where it was first spotted on November 11. Scientists are concerned because of its large number of genetic mutations, sparking fears that it may be highly transmissible or even evade vaccines.

However, South African doctors have mainly described the symptoms of the variant as mild so far. However, most of the cases have been in younger people or those who are fully vaccinated.

CNN reported on Thursday morning that the Omicron variant was now present in at least 25 countries.

Anti-vaxxer in Alabama
A man wears an 'UNVACCINATED' t-shirt ahead of U.S. President Donald Trump's "Save America" rally at York Family Farms on August 21, 2021 in Cullman, Alabama. Alabama has one of the lowest rates of vaccination against COVID-19 in the United States. Chip Somodevilla/Getty