BRAZOS COUNTY, TX — The effects of COVID-19 are still among us despite the end of the mask mandate. In fact, now, the numbers in Brazos County are reflecting some new negative signs.
It has been exactly a week since Governor Abbott officially lifted the statewide mask mandate, now Brazos county health department is reporting 5 new deaths.
The Brazos County Health Department is tracking the numbers, which are now reporting a total of 226 deaths. Two people in their 30’s losing their lives too soon to this virus. Out of the five most recent lost lives, there were two females and 3 males.
” Even with policies that everything is normal, or will be normal, the reality is that this virus is what started it all and the virus is still there,” said Dr. Seth Sullivan, Infectious disease physician and alternate health authority of Brazos County.
The virus is clearly still among us, even with the mask mandate being lifted. As of today, in Brazos County, there are 93 new cases.
”As a health care provider, you know it was really sad to see the end of the mask mandate so soon," said Dr. Jason McKnight, primary care and population health expert with Texas A&M., "I think that over the last several months, we had made a lot of progress, we were finally seeing the end of the holiday spike,”
Today, the numbers are not looking good. However, health experts express that this usually occurs after a major shift or holiday. Stating, it takes at least two to three weeks to make any definitive statements on where things are going. As of right now, it is too early to tell for Brazos County.
”We have a lot of experience with this at this point and I believe that there’s a lot of good information out there for an individual to take a look at, to make their own decisions about what is appropriate for them, their household, their safety,” Dr. Sullivan added.
Health authorities will continue to be transparent with their information, allowing the community to make healthy decisions for themselves.
Dr. Mcknight acknowledges the trend in infections aligns with mainly the younger generations.
“What I have seen, is that a large percentage of the increase infections have come from the younger population, which is a little reassuring, in that we hope they won’t have a severe course of illness or end up hospitalized,” Dr. Mcknight added.
This may be frightening to hear with college students going into spring break this weekend and the st. Patrick's day festivities continuing. But Dr. Mcknight explains this population is less likely to experience severe effects of the virus. However, by no means does he recommend putting your guard down.
“While I hope that our vaccine efforts will kind of minimize another spike, I do have concerns that over the next few weeks, we may see a spike from both the end of the mask mandate, but also from St. Patrick's Day,” said Dr. McKnight.
As health experts wait another week to see how policy changes and holiday festivities impact our community. Brazos County is reporting over 17 thousand people fully vaccinated. However, in 2019, the population in Brazos County was recorded to be 229,211.
According to the CDC, in the last seven days transmission across the u.S is still relatively high.