Our View

After the tumult of last month, the COVID-19 figures are beginning to look tentatively promising.

Statewide, COVID-19 hospitalizations are down to 1,441 patients, less than half of Alabama's Jan. 11 peak. In Tallapoosa County, cases have plateaued at around 15-20 new cases daily and may be beginning to drop.

On Monday, Tallapoosa County Schools reported active COVID-19 cases among students and teachers had declined by over two-thirds in the past month. Meanwhile, both county and Alexander City school teachers are one vaccine dose down, one to go.

While there may be light at the end of the tunnel, however, letting our guard down now would mean ruining that progress we've made. Right now, Alabama's vaccine program is in a race against time as new, more infectious strains of COVID-19 are beginning to spread in the United States. Last month, Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) identified the United Kingdom COVID-19 variant in several Alabama patients.

The CDC does not yet know how much of the population must have COVID-19 antibodies to achieve herd immunity, but experts estimate 80-90%. According to CDC and ADPH data, only 1.8% of Alabamians have received both vaccine doses so far — the lowest out of all 50 states plus the District of Columbia.

This fight is far from over.