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Coronavirus cases and hospitalizations beginning to rise in Mississippi

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Youngstown City Health Department worker Faith Terreri grabs two at-home COVID-19 test kits to be handed out during a distribution event, Dec. 30, 2021, in Youngstown, Ohio.
AP Photo/David Dermer

A growing number of coronavirus cases are being reported in Mississippi, with hospitalizations doubling since the start of the month. Vaccines for the youngest age group are being rolled out this week.



The daily average for new coronavirus cases in Mississippi has risen above 500, and experts say this could be an undercount due to increased usage of at-home test kits. On the Mississippi Department of Health’s tracking website, several counties across the state are now classified as having elevated transmission. State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs says it is unclear if this could be the start of a new wave.

“Fortunately, we’re not seeing the mortality impact. Don’t wanna underenforce the importance of getting treatment and everything, because we are gonna lose folks,” says Dr. Dobbs. “And if it’s that one person you love, it’s 100% tragedy for you. But 95% plus of people have some immunity to COVID, so that’s making all the difference.”

43% of Mississippians have not had a coronavirus vaccination, and only 13% of residents have gotten a booster dose.

Coronavirus immunizations are now more widely available for the state’s youngest demographics. Last week the FDA approved Moderna and Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccines between the ages of 6 months to 4 years. Dr. Dobbs recommends all kids get vaccinated, especially those with weakened immune systems.

“And just to be honest, the vast majority of kids have already have COVID. Will they get a benefit from the vaccine? Yes. Is the order of magnitude [of effectiveness] going to be as strong back a year ago, before Delta when we lost a lot of kids? It’s just, it’s really probably not going to be that way,” says Dr. Dobbs. “But this is a tool that parents can use to protect their kids. Especially if they’re in daycare, protect their families from having transmission.”

Coronavirus vaccines are available at many doctors' offices, county health departments and pharmacies.