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COVID-19 case numbers declining statewide, continue downward trend from recent months

Experts say this could be happening for multiple reasons, including some immunity being built up after years of exposure.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — COVID-19 case numbers across the state are on the decline. While experts say we aren't out of the woods yet when it comes to the pandemic, they believe things are pointing in the right direction.

According to the Department of Health and Human Services, the state saw an average of 655 new COVID cases per day last week. To put that in perspective, the MDHHS reported more than 1,100 per day earlier this month.

"We did not get a big spike this winter like we've seen in previous years," says Dr. Russ Lampen with Corewell Health West.

And that comes after a fear of a climb in cases when winter began.

So what's working to keep numbers down? Dr. Andrew Jameson with Trinity Health says people have changed their attitudes towards their health and the health of others.

"There's been more awareness that, like, hey, I'm not feeling great," says Dr. Jameson. "I'm just going to be a little careful and kind of see what happens, and I'm not maybe going to go to see grandma tonight."

And after years of being exposed to COVID-19, he says people are beginning to build up an immunity.

"This is kind of the natural progression of respiratory pandemics," says Dr. Jameson. "It took about three years for the 1918 Flu to kind of work itself out and kind of get through the system. And this one is just, kind of, eventually hitting a point where enough people have been infected, that they have some immunity and they don't get as ill." 

Dr. Lampen at Corewell Health West agrees, saying those strengthened immune systems are keeping weaker variants at bay.

"What we're seeing is that despite these more minor mutations of different Omicron variants, they have not resulted in peaks or surges in hospitalization," he says. "So transmission in the community is continuing, but it appears that we're seeing less severe disease."

Both doctors agree that while cases are lower than they were at this point last year, its not time to forget about COVID-19 yet. They encourage staying up to date on your COVID-19 vaccine boosters as the best way to avoid serious infection.

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