Dr. Peter Hotez warned that rapid spread of the delta coronavirus variant has forced the threshold for the amount of Americans requiring vaccination in order to achieve herd immunity much higher.
“We’re now realizing with the variant that’s this transmissible, that we have to get to 85%, maybe, as Tony Fauci said, 90% of the country vaccinated,” said Hotez, co-director of the Center for Vaccine Development at Texas Children’s Hospital.
“That’s not 85%, 90% of the adults, that’s 85-90% of the country which means all of the adults and all of the adolescents, if we’re really going to get past this, and this is why he’s giving these extended time frames before we get out of Covid-19.”
White House chief medical advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci predicted the nation could have some control over Covid by Spring 2022 if the “overwhelming majority of people who have not been vaccinated” get vaccinated. Covid deaths in the U.S. are as high as they were in March, with more than 1,000 a day.
U.S. officials maintain vaccination is the best tool to combat rising cases. As of Sunday, about 51% of the total U.S. population is fully vaccinated against Covid, according to data compiled by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Hotez told CNBC’s “The News with Shepard Smith” that based on data coming out of Israel, the U.S. is going to have to “readjust,” and that could include the need to wear masks outdoors.
“If you are in crowded conditions outside, this is pretty highly transmissible, so certainly, any kind of sporting event, music event — you would not want to go in there without a mask,” said Hotez.
Oregon Gov. Kate Brown signed a new statewide outdoor mask mandate Tuesday that requires people to wear masks in most outdoor settings, regardless of vaccination status.