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Oklahoma Sees Another Uptick In Coronavirus Cases

Oklahoma's COVID-19 cases had been dropping since the post-Christmas wave, and remained low in the wake of the vaccine's arrival. But that trend reversed over the past few weeks, a result of the state's low vaccination rates and new variants.

The state has about 1,500 active cases, up more than 14 percent over last week.

State Epidemiologist Joli Stone said that's not surprising, given the new variants in Oklahoma. She said vaccines have been successful in blocking those new strains, but only a third of the state is fully vaccinated.

Natural immunity — a result of being infected in the past — isn't as effective.

"As you see new variants come into play, they're modified enough that a person’s immune system may not be able to, you know, fend it off. And so they will become ill," Stone said.

The latest strain found in Oklahoma is named the Delta variant. It originated in India and is significantly more transmissible than the other strains.

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Catherine Sweeney grew up in Muskogee, Oklahoma, and attended Oklahoma State University. She has covered local, state and federal government for outlets in Oklahoma, Colorado and Washington, D.C.
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