COVID-19 Cases Are Rising Despite Vaccines. Experts Say It's A Race Against Variants

Apr 14, 2021

The state is in a race against what many health officials worry could be a third wave of COVID-19 infections, driven by the variant first detected in the U.K.
Credit Justin Hicks / IPB News

Despite more than 1.4 million Hoosiers fully vaccinated, the state is seeing an increase in cases and hospitalizations. That’s because the state is in a race against more infectious variants. 

More than 20 percent of Hoosiers are fully vaccinated, and when breaking that out into Hoosiers older than 65, that’s more than 70 percent. 

Micah Pollak is an associate professor of economics at Indiana University Northwest. He said the state is in a race against what many health officials worry could be a third wave of COVID-19 infections, driven by the variant first detected in the U.K.

“You know, if this is a marathon, the finish line is in sight. And we just have to get across that finish line,” Pollak said. “And that might mean making sure you wear masks a little bit longer, making sure you get vaccinated.”

READ MORE: How Will Indiana Distribute COVID-19 Vaccines? Here's What You Need To Know

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Pollak said Michigan’s recent surge in COVID-19 cases could be Indiana’s future – and determine how bad the third wave of COVID-19 infections could be for Indiana.

“Michigan is, kind of like, the leader we’ve been watching very closely because what they’re seeing there is what we’re experiencing about two weeks later,” Pollak said.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Michigan currently leads the U.S. with more than 500 new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people over the last seven days. Just last week, several Michigan hospital systems suspended elective surgeries to respond to the influx of COVID-19 hospitalizations.

Pollak said that two-week window could make a significant difference in Indiana, if Hoosiers are able to get vaccinated.

So far, new variants aren’t resistant to vaccines – though no vaccine offers complete immunity.

Contact Lauren at lchapman@wfyi.org or follow her on Twitter at @laurenechapman_.