Are we out of the woods yet?

It may be too soon to tell if COVID is really over or not.

Halfway through 2021, and COVID-19 seems to be on its way out.

After experiencing a surge of the virus throughout the spring months, Michigan is seeing the lowest rate of new infections since last summer. The rising rate of COVID vaccinations is leading many to feel invulnerable to the disease.

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Still, health experts warn that it may be too early to let our guard down entirely.

Last week’s Memorial Day holiday marked the first major holiday since masking requirements were eased. Last month, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued guidance saying vaccinated people no longer had to wear masks in public.

In the past, the rates of new COVID-19 infections and deaths reliably increased several weeks after major holidays. That could be the case here as well – meaning we won’t know if the holiday weekend caused more spread of the virus until mid to late June.

However, a dramatic rise in infections does seem unlikely now that vaccines are a thing. As of Tuesday, the CDC estimates that 59.8% of Michiganders age 16 and up have received at least one dose of a COVID vaccine.

“I think we are in a really good spot,” said Elizabeth Hertel, the state’s director of Health and Human Services, in an interview with MLive. “Everybody internally and those who work in the healthcare field are feeling very optimistic that we’re moving past the emergency part of our response and that we have a better understanding of the virus.”

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