COVID-19 Cases Level Off After Spike; FDA Fully Approves Pfizer Vaccine

Coronavirus illustration. (Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

The number of new COVID-19 cases in Alabama has dropped for the past two days, but the state is still averaging more than 4,000 cases a day.

After reporting a record daily high 6,210 cases on Saturday, the Alabama Department of Public Health listed 3,315 cases in its update on Sunday and 2,588 on Monday. The average for the past seven days stands at 4,041 cases a day.

Alabama has recorded 665,653 cases since the pandemic began in March 2020.

There were 2,762 Covid patients in Alabama hospitals on Monday, ADPH reported, which is closing in on the state’s record of 3,084 inpatients at on Jan. 11. UAB on Monday reported a total of 191 patients who were admitted for COVID-19.

A breakdown by counties showed a huge difference in the spread of the virus among Alabama’s 67 counties.

ADPH’s tally of new cases per 100,000 population over the past seven days ranged from a high of 883 in Monroe County to a low of 48 in Sumter County. Others in the top five were Baldwin, 754; Dale, 710; Escambia, 688 and St Clair with 676. The lowest five was rounded out by Choctaw, 64; Wilcox, 145; Russell, 174 and Lamar, 251.

With the FDA’s approval Monday of the Pfizer vaccine for people 16 and older, Dr. David Kimberlin, co-director of UAB and Children’s of Alabama Division of Pediatric Infectious Diseases, said he was hopeful the announcement would lead to a wider acceptance of the vaccines in Alabama.

Kimberlin said the approved vaccine can be used for persons from 12 to 15 years old but should not be administered for children under 12. He said trials are under way for children from 5 to 11 years old, using a dosage that is one-third the strength of the that used for adults. A dose that is one-tenth the adult level is being tested children from 6 months to 5 years old, he said.