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“What I really worry about is that those people who are already on the fence don’t get vaccinated (and) we don’t reach herd immunity come the fall,” CNN medical analyst Dr. Leana Wen told CNN.
“And then with the winter .. we have a big resurgence, maybe we have variants coming in from other countries, and we could start this whole process all over again and have another huge pandemic come the winter.”
Experts including Dr. Anthony Fauci have estimate between 70% to 85% of the US population needs to be immune to the virus — through vaccination or previous infection — to control its spread.
“It’s going to take us that much longer to get back to life as normal, to stop having to wear masks for our protection, if people don’t get vaccinated and we don’t have equitable distribution of vaccines,” infectious diseases specialist Dr. Celine Gounder told CNN on Sunday.
Some experts think driving down infections will be good enough, even if herd immunity isn’t reached.
While it would be unfortunate for the United States to not reach herd immunity against Covid-19, most people will still be able to get back to their pre-pandemic lives if case numbers continue to fall, Dr. Ashish Jha, dean of the Brown University School of Health, told CNN on Monday.
“We may not get to zero, we probably won’t,” Jha said. “But if we can get the infections at very low levels, most of us can get back to our lives in normal ways. I think we can probably live with that.”
“We need to be … innovative around both culturally competent education and be thoughtful about where the holes are and where we can get shots in people’s arms,” infectious diseases expert Dr. Mati Hlatshwayo Davis told CNN over the weekend.
‘Make it really easy’ to get vaccinated, doctor says
The government should “make it really easy” for people to get vaccinated, Wen said, especially Americans who aren’t really vaccine hesitant but just can’t find the time because jobs and family responsibilities.
Also, the social upside of vaccination should be emphasized.
“I think we should do just like people did with vaccine selfies,” Wen said. “I think we need selfies of people now going to bars and restaurants with other vaccinated people to show what a return to 2019 pre-pandemic life could really look like.”
One doctor told CNN on Sunday he’s worried officials haven’t offered strong enough incentives for some Americans to get vaccinated — including younger Americans.
“What I worry about mostly are the young people,” primary care physician Dr. Saju Mathew said. “I see them every day, pretty much, at work.”
But the guidelines are too cautious, Mathew said.
“I think that the CDC missed an opportunity to say, ‘Listen, we can return to pre-pandemic lives, and you can do more if you’re vaccinated,'” Mathew said. “So, I think, when the science is there with positive news, we must share that and motivate people to get vaccinated.”
But 36% of adults under the age of 35 say they don’t plan on getting one, a recent Quinnipiac University poll found.
That’s particularly worrisome for several reasons.
‘A ton of young people’ testing positive
The median age of residents testing positive for the virus has dropped, the governor said.
“When it recently came down to 44 years of age, we thought, ‘Uh oh. We’ve got a problem. We need to get our young people vaccinated,'” Justice said in a statement. “But now we’re down to 34, and that means we’ve got a ton of young people that are testing positive.”
In Oregon, where the governor recently tightened restrictions for some counties amid a surge in new cases and hospitalizations, another warning for young residents.
But in Florida, Gov. Ron DeSantis signed an executive order Monday suspending the remaining power of local governments to implement or enforce Covid-19 restrictions.
“I think that’s the evidence-based thing to do. I think folks that are saying they need to be policing people at this point, if you are saying that, you really are saying you don’t believe in the vaccines, you don’t believe in the data, you don’t believe in the science,” DeSantis said at a news conference in St. Petersburg.
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