Doctors from Connecticut’s two largest health care systems say they believe in the latest wave of the COVID-19 pandemic could peak in the state.
Dan Corcoran of NBC Connecticut spoke with Dr. Howard Forman, a professor of public health at Yale University, on the matter.
Then: Looking at today’s and yesterday’s numbers, do you think we’ve peaked?
dr. Forman“We’re a small state, but we’re also a big state. So I believe we’ve passed the peak of transmission on average across the state. We’ve almost certainly passed the peak of cases. We’re probably on or something past the peak and hospitalizations now – or maybe just on it. And then unfortunately we’ll see more deaths as this continues to unfold. But we’re at the right end of the curves now.”
Then: “We are all looking forward to this Omicron variant just fading away. But is it only a matter of time before another variant shows up and puts us back in the same position? Is there a way to know how many waves of this virus will we actually have?”
dr. Forman: “I will continue to insist that everyone just stay humble. Every time I’ve heard people say ‘this is it’ and ‘it’s over now’ they are just proving they’re wrong every time. faster hitting, lower intensity on an individual basis; higher intensity on a population basis. We don’t know what the future holds. It’s a good thing, though, that for the first time, a wave has seemingly hit the entire country at the same time, so we’re not just looking at how a part of the country will be hit hard while another part is recovering I think within the next two months most of the country will be in sync with recovery And it will probably be true that 99% of the population has some degree of infection or a vaccine or both.”
Then“Does the fact that so many people have gotten the Omicron variant change the game when it comes to achieving that idea of herd immunity?”
dr. Forman: “Herd immunity means it won’t spread anymore. We won’t get to that level because what we’ve learned is that whether it’s the vaccine or a previous infection, it doesn’t stop people from spreading. But what it does seems to indicate is that successive waves can be less severe than the vaccines and that previously acquired immunity helps prevent more serious diseases. And we’ll have to keep looking at that, because that may or may not be true. We’re hearing about many more cases from reinfection that were severe. So we’ll have to keep monitoring that. But it’s certainly good that the vast majority of the population now has some sort of immunity.”
Then: “We have spoken to you several times during this pandemic. And we thank you for that. Looking at where we are now and where we have been, what are your thoughts? Do you still think there is a light at the end of this long tunnel? Have your views on anything changed in the past few months?”
dr. Forman: “We have learned to live with this much better. We have not closed our schools. We are starting to hand out higher quality masks. We are learning that during peak transmission, using masks, boosting, limiting busy events are going to help; even if it’s not perfect it helps. We also learned that we can have better times like in the summer. I think we just have to learn to live with this instead of always on the run. It does mean that we change our way of life at different times have to keep adjusting throughout the year, but hopefully that will become second nature to us instead of disrupting all the time.’