COVID Reproduction Rate Rising But Boosters Remain Slow
Gov. Jim Justice sounded the alarm today with the approaching holidays and colder weather during his regular COVID-19 briefing. He noted that the number of those who are fully vaccinated, but still hospitalized, has risen to 28 percent. Two months ago, the number was 13 percent.
Justice said the increase is likely because of the declining strength of coronavirus vaccines and encouraged people to get boosted.
Dr. Clay Marsh, the state’s coronavirus czar, said approximately 550,000 West Virginians received their initial vaccine doses more than six months ago.
“The number of people that we are able to count that have been boosted is less than 50,000 people,” he said. “This mismatch is really, really a problem right now. And it's going to be a greater problem when we start to go inside.”
Marsh also noted that the state’s transmission rate is also increasing and on pace to exceed a reproduction factor of 1 by Thanksgiving.
At a rate greater than 1, for 10 people that are infected, they will spread COVID-19 to 11 or more others.
“That is pretty accurate at predicting more challenges for us,” Marsh said.
Retired Maj. Gen. James Hoyer, head of the joint interagency coronavirus task force, also noted the rising reproduction factor.
“It is trending to where it will go above one during the Thanksgiving holiday, and that would tend to trend through the Christmas holiday,” Hoyer said.