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ASU Biodesign director: Vaccine hasn’t had effect on COVID numbers yet

(AP Photo/Muhammad Sajjad)

PHOENIX — The executive director for the Biodesign Institute at Arizona State University doesn’t believe the coronavirus vaccine has had its effect on the state’s COVID numbers just yet.

“I think the numbers are probably more reflecting the fact that we’re kind of past the holidays, people are wearing their masks and keeping their distances,” Dr. Joshua LaBaer told Gaydos & Chad on Wednesday. “But it is definitely trending in the right direction.”

Arizona health officials on Wednesday reported 2,296 new coronavirus cases, the lowest daily case report since Dec. 27 and the third-lowest since November.

It also marked the first time since Nov. 16-17 that fewer than 3,000 cases were reported for two straight days.

LaBaer iterated that the new models “are not in any way” reflective of any variant coronavirus strains.

“Arizona State University recently detected a few cases of the U.K. strain, but we’re not seeing a lot of that yet — at least not that we can observe,” he said.

“So I think for now we’re hoping that things continue in the right direction and as the summer comes and as we get more and more people vaccinated, that will definitely help us for sure.”

LaBaer added that it’s hard to say whether or not another wave similar to or even worse than last summer or this winter is coming.

“We’re a little bit in a race between the potential new variants coming here and getting people vaccinated,” he said. “I’m hoping that we can get people vaccinated to beat the new variants.”

On Wednesday, all 21,000 of the available appointments for vaccines at Phoenix Municipal Stadium were snapped up in 39 minutes.

For Arizona vaccine information, visit azdhs.gov/findvaccine.

For all articles, information and updates on the coronavirus from KTAR News, visit ktar.com/coronavirus.

Arizona open and hiring: If you’re looking for job openings, visit ktar.com/arizonahiring.

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