COVID infections in New Mexico hit a 14-month high Thursday with 3,231 new cases, according to the New Mexico Department of Health. That’s the second highest day on record and the single highest one-day infection rate since November 19, 2020, when a record 3,644 cases were recorded.
Cases have jumped 111% across the state in the last two weeks, according to data compiled by The New York Times. Los Alamos, the smallest but most vaccinated county in the state (at 82%), leads the surge with a nearly 400% increase.
If there is a silver lining to the new data, it’s that hospitalizations are down 12% in the last two weeks. Hospitalizations and deaths can lag behind infections by as much as two weeks. New Mexico is already seeing an uptick in deaths following the holiday break.
The state is inconsistent in reporting COVID data, taking weekend offs, for example, and combining weekend data with Monday deaths with averages that are two or three times lower than weekday death totals. So while mapping COVID trends for the state proves difficult, the first few days of data for the new year aren’t promising.
Thirty-six people died with COVID on Thursday, another 36 Wednesday, and over the four-day period from the 1st through the 4th, the state reported a total of 11 deaths, five times lower than the December daily average of 14.
That New Mexico continues to struggle with COVID infections despite an ongoing mask mandate and a population that is two-thirds fully vaccinated remains puzzling.
One explanation may be “vaccine fatigue,” or “immune system fatigue,” as The New York Times recently described it.
“Israel is considering whether to approve a fourth Covid-19 vaccine dose for vulnerable people to contain the fast-spreading Omicron variant, despite debate among scientists and a lack of evidence either for or against another booster. …But some scientists warned that the plan could backfire, because too many shots might cause a sort of immune system fatigue, compromising the body’s ability to fight the coronavirus. A few members of the government’s advisory panel raised that concern with respect to the elderly, according to a written summary of the discussion obtained by The New York Times.”
With lagging indicators, vaccine and immune system fatigue, and early reports indicating that Omicron may be more contagious but less lethal than Delta, it is becoming increasingly difficult for the “experts” who spent two years making false predictions and half-truths about which protocols will slow the spread of COVID to anticipate whether New Mexico’s mortality rate will improve or worsen.
What we know is that there are as many cases today, with 76% of the state fully vaccinated, as there were a year ago, when 0% of the state was vaccinated.