COVID-19 cases decline in Florida: Health experts are optimistic we are reaching the end of the Delta wave

COVID-19 Vaccine – Courtesy: Shutterstock – Image by Prostock-studio

The COVID-19 case positivity rate has continued to decline for the eighth week in a row in the Sunshine State. It is now sitting at 3.8% for the week of October 8.

Just this week, the FDA vaccine advisory panel unanimously recommended booster shots for those who received a single dose of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine.

“We’re at the end of the Delta wave,” said Dr. Thomas Unnasch, Distinguished Professor of Public Health at USF. He says he’s “optimistic” about where we’re headed as the fight to keep cases down continues.

“I think that we may start to see this move into a more endemic type thing… this is gonna start to move into a sort of a normal flu type thing, where people get infected but they’re not gonna get super sick,” said Dr. Unnasch.

The virus has fewer hosts to infect as a larger number of people reach herd immunity through natural infection or vaccination.

“I think what we are likely to see is actually we’re gonna see some more outbreaks, but they’re not gonna be big waves like we’ve seen before. These are gonna be like spot fires,” said Dr. Unnasch.

Dr. Unnasch continues to urge vaccinations as the best way to protect yourself against COVID-19, even as we get closer to herd immunity. 

“What the advisers to the FDA felt is that given the data that they saw, very likely this should have been a two-dose vaccine to begin with,” said Dr. Anthony Fauci, the White House Chief Medical Advisor.

“Everybody knew that it wasn’t nearly as effective as getting two shots, and now what they’ve discovered is, ‘oh my goodness, if you give two shots of the Johnson and Johnson it’s just as good as the mRNA vaccines, you’re up around 95% protection,’ well, duh,” said Dr. Unnasch.

Both Dr. Unnasch and Dr. Fauci noted that there are several studies suggesting that Johnson & Johnson recipients should receive a booster shot of an mRNA-based vaccine.

“They seem to be even more effective in boosting the immunity through the initial shot of the J&J,” said Dr. Unnasch.

He states that J&J recipients do not need to worry about being unprotected with their single dose, but a booster shot will secure that protection.

The FDA is expected to make a decision based on the panel’s recommendations this week. Once that decision has been made, it goes to the CDC. If all boosters are needed, those could begin as early as this upcoming week.

Stay tuned for more updates on the fight against COVID-19.

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