Top Doctor Addresses ‘Impending Doom’ and Explains Herd Immunity
When you need to know what's happening with the coronavirus, join KICKS 105.5 every Thursday morning. Dr. Rajeev Fernando answers your COVID-19 questions.
Dr. Rajeev Fernando is one of New York's Top Infectious Disease Specialists and this week, he addresses the "Impending Doom" comment from the CDC Director and explains just what Herd Immunity is.
So we have the vaccine, more and more people are getting it, and each week the cases keep increasing, how do you account for that?
"This is a great question. I think it's a lesson that has to be learned. The CDC comes out with their guidelines, but it's very important to exercise common sense. No guideline will tell you that. We still have about 20% of Americans who stubbornly refuse the vaccine and that is going to come back and bite us as well. We just received some new data that talks about 100% efficacy in kids between the ages of 12 to 15 and within a month or so everyone will have the opportunity to get the vaccine, so we just have to keep vaccinating. The newer cases we're seeing are in the younger population, the older people have responded very well to the COVID-19 vaccine. In addition to that, the longer we allow these variant strains to remain in society, they will mutate even more and at some point, as the mutations pile up in these variants, it may render the vaccines ineffective which is something very important to consider at this point."
Kelly in Danbury said she heard the CDC Director on the news the other day talk about 'impending doom' when it came to the virus. Why is she talking like this?
"The concern is the number of cases, we were running at around 50 thousand cases a day in the U.S., now we're looking at over 60 thousand cases a day, and that's not the normal. With regards to a fourth COVID-19 wave, certainly there's a possibility, but I think this fourth wave, if it comes up, will clearly not be as severe as the third wave, basically because not as many people were vaccinated during it. Now we have about one third of people in this country who have gotten at least a single dose of the vaccine, so that's why I don't think it will be as bad. The other thing we look at is what's happening in other countries. Look at Chili, one third of the population has been vaccinated there as well, but cases are still rising there too. I always urge common sense, the guidelines are good, but nothing beats basic common sense."
Ann Marie in Millerton is always hearing the term 'herd immunity' and she would love if you could explain what it is and how do we get there?
"Herd immunity is a combination of people who have gotten the vaccine and the number of people who have gotten infected. Once we have this number at more than 75 percent, then I think it's safe to say that we're in that zone of herd immunity. Until we get to that, it just tells us that herd, as in community, just tells us that the community itself is immune, and once you have that amount of people in society who are immune, it's unlikely for people to get severe significant clinical disease."
LOOK: Answers to 30 common COVID-19 vaccine questions
While much is still unknown about the coronavirus and the future, what is known is that the currently available vaccines have gone through all three trial phases and are safe and effective. It will be necessary for as many Americans as possible to be vaccinated in order to finally return to some level of pre-pandemic normalcy, and hopefully these 30 answers provided here will help readers get vaccinated as soon they are able.