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New Mexico officials: Pandemic is not over, vaccine is key

July 14, 2021 GMT

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — While many businesses have reopened and restrictions have been lifted, New Mexico’s top public health officials said Wednesday that the coronavirus pandemic is not over.

Health Secretary Dr. Tracie Collins and Human Services Secretary Dr. David Scrase said during a briefing that their agencies are closely watching the spread of the more-contagious delta variant. So far, about 750 such cases have been confirmed in the state.

“What we’re seeing in the United States now is an upward trend of cases. We do not want to see that,” Scrase said. “Cases were way up, they came back down, we’ve had a nice flattening period and now we’re starting to see an upward trend and a concerning and somewhat steep upward trend in some states — Arkansas, Missouri, Texas and Nevada — all of whom happen to have lower vaccination rates.”

Scrase said the good news for New Mexico is that nearly two-thirds of residents 18 and older are fully vaccinated, meaning there is less opportunity for the virus to spread.

“I think we’re getting some benefit from that and one the great benefits is we’re not on this list of states that are having big upticks.” he said.

Still, state officials said they are concerned about the variant and urged those who are unvaccinated to get their shots.