Dr. Horne: Recent drop in Miss. COVID cases may have led to ‘unreasonable optimism’

Dr. Horne: Recent drop in Miss. COVID cases may have led to ‘unreasonable optimism’
An older Highland Colony Baptist Church member sits in the reserved section for vulnerable adults in the Worship Center in Ridgeland, Miss., Nov. 29, 2020. The church practices covid protocols by allowing families to sit spaced out from others, separating older and more vulnerable members and providing sanitizer and masks at the entrance. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis) (Source: Rogelio V. Solis)

JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - The Mississippi State Medical Association hosted their weekly COVID update Friday in what was advertised as containing a “robust review” of the new Johnson and Johnson vaccine.

This after the FDA said earlier this week that the J&J vaccine prevented severe COVID side effects. It was also announced Friday that the vaccine would be recommended grant emergency use authorization.

Dr. Thomas Dobbs, State Health Officer, said that the one-dose Johnson and Johnson vaccine does appear to have benefits in counteracting severe illness and death in regards to new COVID variants. He went on to say, however, that the research indicated that it is not as good at preventing symptomatic illness.

The conversation then turned to the downward trend in COVID cases Mississippi has experienced over the past weeks.

Dr. Mark Horne, president of the Mississippi State Medical Association and moderator of the discussion, then asked the group of doctors to put the downward trend in context because, in his opinion, “I’ve heard what I thought was perhaps- I mean, I understand the optimism because I’m optimistic about it but I thought some people had, perhaps, an unreasonable optimism that things were over just because [cases] are down.”

“We have done this twice now where everyone was overly optimistic,” Dobbs responded. “Can we learn after twice to be more cautious?”

Dobbs did say that it is “a good thing” that we have vaccine distribution but pointed out that only 12 percent of Mississippians have received one dose of vaccine.

And after telling citizens to continue to wear their mask and socially distance, he then advised Mississippians not to travel during Spring Break and to keep it “small and outdoors.”

“I don’t think we can say anything until a week after Spring Break,” Dobbs said in relation to the optimism around the lowering COVID cases.

Dr. Paul Byers, State Epidemiologist, then noted that the extreme winter weather the state experienced last week may have affected the reported number of new cases each day.

“You have these numbers that may not truly reflect what was going on,” Horne added.

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