New “what if” scenarios by Mayo Clinic researchers show that Minnesota would be on the upswing of a devastating COVID-19 wave this spring if not for vaccine. Factoring in more infectious variants of the SARS-CoV-2 virus and less mask-wearing and other protective measures, the researchers projected a peak of more than 800 COVID-19 patients needing hospital intensive care at once in Minnesota if nobody had been vaccinated. That more than doubles the actual record of 399 COVID-19 patients in Minnesota ICU beds on Dec. 1 at the height of the last pandemic wave. More than 84% of senior citizens have received vaccine — offering protection to a high-risk group that has suffered 89% of Minnesota’s 6,995 COVID deaths. Even so, health officials are concerned about the rising spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19. The state on Friday reported six more COVID-19 deaths and 2,299 infections — raising the total case count to 552,117. The positivity rate of COVID-19 diagnostic testing also rose to 7.4% — above the state caution threshold of 5%.
Source/more: Minneapolis Star Tribune.