ODH: Masks and distancing work as flu hospitalizations drop to under 100

Coronavirus

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff, chief medical officer at the Ohio Department of Health, pointed to the drastic drop in flu hospitalizations as evidence that masks work to prevent the spread of viruses.

Last year at this time, 5,500 people had been hospitalized due to flu in Ohio, Vanderhoff said at Thursday’s COVID-19 briefing. But this year, that number has dropped to fewer than 100.

“We have the weapons we need to improve our lives as we head into spring. Masking and distancing work and they are going to be key as we go into spring,” he said.

Vanderhoff warned that the new COVID-19 variants are more contagious, and are changing as the virus enters people and is re-transmitted. He says variants are now present in Ohio and will continue to duplicate and evolve.

“Vaccines are the way to achieve herd immunity quickly, and without unnecessary suffering or death, but it’s going to take time to get enough of us vaccinated that this virus is no longer a threat,” said Vanderhoff.

“That’s why it’s very important that we don’t declare victory too quickly. Our national vaccination effort needs more time.”

Dr. Vanderhoff concluded by saying: “Even in the face of these new and infectious variants, we have the weapons we need to improve our lives as we head into spring. Masking and distancing work and they are going to be key to living our lives more normally as we go into the spring.”

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