Political Rewind: More than two years later, where do we stand with COVID? And what comes next?
Dr. Carlos del Rio — Executive Associate Dean for Emory at Grady
Dr. Amber Schmidtke — Division Chair of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, University of St. Mary
Ellen Eldridge — Senior health care reporter, GPB News
1. There is an encouraging decline in COVID cases nationwide and in Georgia.
- Dr. Carlos del Rio said he is seeing an all-time low of COVID patients at Grady.
- Dr. Amber Schmidtke urged vigilance but said she was optimistic about the historic lows.
2. The omicron surge and ongoing vaccination efforts immunized many Americans.
- Del Rio said the large spike in cases in January immunized a large swath of people in the country.
- Georgia's Department of Health reported 319 cases on Tuesday, compared with a Jan. 8 peak of 18,534.
- He also adds that oral drugs like Paxlovid help to fight the virus.
- GPB News' Ellen Eldridge talked to del Rio about the emerging BA-2 variant.
3. Who needs another booster? And when?
- The Biden administration gave the go-ahead for another COVID vaccine booster for people aged 50 and older and certain people who are immunocompromised.
- Data from the state's Department of Public Health show at least 63% of Georgians have at least one dose of the vaccine.
4. When and where do people still mask up?
- Most of Georgia's metro areas have dropped their mask mandate.
- COVID measures became a huge issue during this election year. Gov. Brian Kemp signed The "Unmask Georgia Students" Act just last week.
5. What lessons can we learn from this global public health crisis?
- Eldridge and del Rio said race and public health equity remain major crises.
Today is newsletter day for the Political Rewind team. Sign up for the latest edition here.