Long Wait for Herd Immunity if Inoculations Continue to Slow
On Wednesday, the Alaska Department of Health announced another death of an Alaska resident as a result of Covid-19, as well as 338 new people identified with the virus. There have been just over 73,500 positive resident cases in Alaska, with 1,738 Alaska resident hospitalizations and 385 resident deaths since the pandemic reached Alaska nearly a year-and-a-half ago.
While many areas of the country, especially in Texas and Florida, are seeing multiple deaths per day due to Covid, Alaska has kept its average to less than one a day.
“I mean each time that occurs I think about how preventable those deaths are and how it’s impacting the families,” said Alaska Public Health Nurse Lorne Carrol. “But also, these losses impact the community.”
Carroll spoke about the Covid-19 Pandemic on The Coffee Table.
He said variants are a natural part of pandemics, with the virus being kept alive by evolving to be even more infectious, as it’s passed around.
Carroll also said those who are holding off getting an inoculation and hoping herd immunity will kick in to stamp out the virus, might have a long wait.
“A synonym, or another word that means the same thing as herd immunity, is community immunity. So I guess that would be a situation in which there is a sufficient proportion of the total population that that's immune to an infectious disease. And that makes it the spread from one person to the next person, unlikely. We know from a year and a half of evidence that when folks get infected with the virus, and this is in the absence of vaccination, they have what we call active immunity for roughly 90 days,” Carroll said. “So if we're relying of people getting sick and then the community will have enough immunity that it will eventually stall out or won't be able to pass from person to person, that's probably not going to work.”
Repeat infections are becoming pretty common among the unvaccinated. Carroll said vaccination immunity is proven to last longer than 90 days.
Carroll said the Homer Public Health Center has been getting a lot of calls lately from businesses seeking guidance regarding the Covid surge.
“It’s hard to keep operations going when you’ve got one or more folks out for isolation because they were sick, or quarantined because they were exposed and unvaccinated,” he said.
The Delta Variant of the coronavirus is now by far the most prevalent in the state, according to DHSS, with 178 of new infections Tuesday coming from exposure to it, rather than the original virus or other variants.