What’s behind the drop in COVID-19 numbers here in Georgia? Here’s what health experts say

ATLANTA — Monday brought a grim new record in the fight against COVID-19 with more than 500,000 Americans having died from the virus across the country.

This comes as Georgia has seen a steady decline in cases.

Health officials with Kaiser Permanente told Channel 2′s Carol Sbarge that they’ve been watching the trend as well and said making sure those lines keep trending down will largely depend on how soon people are vaccinated and what happens with the COVID-19 variants.

Healthcare worker Shannan Edwards has gotten both doses of the vaccine.

“Definitely taking the necessary precautions even though I have taken the vaccine,” Edwards said.

So far, about 10% of Georgians have gotten the vaccine.

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Coronavirus cases are dropping in the state, but most health experts told Sbarge they believe it’s mostly due to people following safety measures and this being a quiet time of year as far as gatherings.

“We don’t really know with certainty what will happen in the next three months to six months. We hope that these numbers keep declining and we hope that can be sustained over the summer as we get more people vaccinated,” said Dr. Felipe Lobelo, physician director of epidemiology at Kaiser Permanente.

What percentage of people need to be vaccinated to see the impact? Lobelo said there’s interesting data coming out of Israel, a country that has managed to vaccine a high percentage of people already.

“The best data that we have comes from Israel, where over 50% of the population have received one shot and that’s where they started to see consistent declines in new infections, new cases and also declines in mortality,” Lobelo said.