CDC director says when the Covid pandemic ends depends on human behavior

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  • The pandemic is entering its 20th month, and some experts predict that the US may be in its last major surge.
  • But the US only has a 55% vaccination rate, and the delta variant is far more contagious than any other type.
  • CDC director Dr. Rochelle Valensky says the end of the pandemic here depends on one major thing: human behavior.

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CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Valensky can’t predict when the pandemic will end, saying it largely depends on human behavior – and that could be a problem.

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As the COVID-19 pandemic approaches its 20th month, cases The US has begun to decline after a wave of delta infections peaked at more than 172,000 a day in mid-September. Some medical experts predict that we may be the last big surge of the virus, but when it ends is anyone’s guess.

“We have a lot of science right now; we have vaccines,” Valensky told reporters Thursday at a session organized by the Health Coverage Fellowship, a health journalism program. “We can’t really predict human behavior. And human behavior hasn’t served us very well in this pandemic.”

We are fighting each other and not fighting the common enemy, which is the virus itself.
Dr. Rochelle Valensky
CDC Director
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with about 55% of the US population complete vaccination, and some additional protection among those who have recently been infected, don’t have enough immunity to fight off the more infectious delta variant, the infectious disease expert warned.

“With the Delta version, the R-naught is 8 or 9,” Valensky said. r-zero, or original reproduction number, denotes the average number of people to whom an infected person will spread the virus. “That means we need a lot of protection in the community to not get the disease.”

And the problem is, she continued, some communities have high vaccination rates and are very well protected, but “there are places where there is little protection.”

“And the virus isn’t stupid — it’s going to go there,” Valensky said. “So your question really depends on how well we work together as a humanity and a community about what we need to do to keep ourselves safe in those communities.”

But so far, “we are fighting with each other and not battling the common enemy, which is the virus itself,” Valensky continued.

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