x
Breaking News
More () »

New COVID-19 cases in Pa. reach record highs despite widespread vaccinations. Here's why.

The number of new cases this month is nearly five times the amount seen this time last year and yet, this time around, more people are vaccinated and boosted.

HARRISBURG, Pa. — The number of global COVID-19 cases has crossed the 300 million mark—a 71 percent jump from the previous week. Daily new cases are rising faster than ever, despite vaccine and booster shots widely available. The good news, however, is that the COVID-19 survival rate is improving.

Like most of the country, and the world, Pennsylvania is seeing a record surge of daily COVID-19 cases. The number of new cases this month is nearly five times the amount seen this time last year and yet, this time around, more people are vaccinated and boosted.

So why are new case counts hitting record numbers?

Dr. Nancy Mimm, an Assistant Professor in the Nursing Program with a specialization/concentration in Population Health at Harrisburg University of Science and Technology, said vaccines are only one piece of the pandemic puzzle. Last January, there were strict social-distance protocols in place and a statewide mask mandate.

“It’s spreading like wildfire and we recently had holidays where people did not socially distance. They didn’t wear masks. We really need to follow the public health principles and stay home if you’re ill,” Dr. Mimm explained. "In addition to that, there are people who don’t have symptoms of COVID so they don’t actually know that they have it, but yet they’re still spreading it.”

The fast-spreading omicron variant is linked to 95 percent of new cases in the U.S., according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This wave of COVID-19, though, appears different from the last one. Hospitalizations are increasing more slowly, a smaller number of patients are ending up in the ICU, and Pennsylvania is reporting significantly fewer deaths than they did one year ago.

“And that’s thanks to the vaccines,” added Dr. Mimm. “It’s just like with the flu. When you get the flu and you’ve had the flu vaccine, it’s less severe. You’re less likely to die from it and it’s no different.”

Download the FOX43 app here.

RELATED: Pennsylvania seeks more hospital beds, staff in COVID-19 surge

RELATED: The key numbers public health experts are watching amid Omicron surge

RELATED: Fact Sheet: COVID-19 omicron variant