Dr. David Scrase, Cabinet Secretary, NM Human Services Dept and NM Dept. of Health

Air Dates: July 24-26, 2021

This week's guest on REPORT FROM SANTA FE is Dr. David Scrase, doing double duty as Cabinet Secretary for the NM Dept of Health, as well as Cabinet Secretary for the NM Dept of Human Services. Dr. Scrase provides a timely update on the ever-changing Covid-19 pandemic in New Mexico.

Dr. Scrase notes, "The virus is a tough opponent!" He offers the most up-to-date information on New Mexico's reopening; masking questions; back-to-school issues; and what New Mexicans need to know to successfully navigate this next phase in the pandemic.

Dr. Scrase discusses New Mexico's current vaccination rate - 64.1 % of New Mexicans are fully vaccinated and 72.1 % of New Mexicans 18 and older have had at least one shot. (These continually updated numbers are current as of 7/21/21).

He presents the percentages of people hospitalized or dead from COVID-19 in New Mexico –

· "About 96% of all COVID-19 cases have been in people who are not fully vaccinated,

· 95% of hospitalizations are in patients who have COVID, but have not been fully vaccinated, and then

· 98% of deaths from COVID are in people who have not been fully vaccinated."

Another important topic of discussion is the Delta variant and the dangers it presents in terms of its increased transmissibility and virulence.

Scrase explores the dangers of misinformation and disinformation about the virus and the vaccine.

He also reveals the new phase in the efforts to reach more New Mexicans with vaccine availability with the new Take Care New Mexico program, a campaign to get primary care providers to also be vaccine providers as patients return to their primary care providers to resume regular care after the pandemic hiatus.

Other coronavirus hot topics are kids returning to school in the fall and the questions of masks, vaccines, teachers being vaccinated, etc. Dr. Scrase also explains the issue of "breakthrough" infections in people who are fully vaccinated.