UVA Health doctors weigh in on future of pandemic

UVA Health
Published: Feb. 26, 2022 at 11:25 PM EST
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - COVID-19 cases in the Blue Ridge Health District are declining and UVA Health doctors are weighing in on how long this will last.

“We’re truly at the point now, where you have some level of immunity, either because you’ve gotten it or you’ve been vaccinated,” UVA Health’s Dr. Bill Petri said.

Petri says it’s crucial to be patient right now.

“We’re not to the point we were before Thanksgiving, when transmission was quite low,” Petri said.

Dr. Costi Sifri with UVA Health says in the state, about 72% of people had COVID-19.

“What we don’t know is how long will this high level of immunity lasts, the coronavirus appears to be different than something like measles where once your immune your immune for life and just how long immunity lasts,” Petri said.

Though these doctors know immunity wanes, Dr. Petri says if there’s less virus around that won’t be as much of an issue, especially if levels of the virus keep going down.

“400 cases per seven days is where we are today and that’s half of what it was a month ago, so that’s really good. It’s not 90% less, and so we are officially according to the Department of Health in a high transmission setting,” Petri said.

Petri says we probably won’t be in that state much longer, because “it’s dropping like a rock.” A new variant could change this progress, but these doctors say that’s too far ahead to predict right now. Dr. Sifri says COVID has been unpredictable.

“We can conclude by saying that we’re probably in a pretty good place in terms of our anticipation, how COVID is going to impact our communities right now. How that plays out later on, I think is less clear,” Sifri said.

This uncertainty is why doctors with UVA Health say it’s important to maintain that patience.

“Hopefully, we’re not at a new baseline or something and have a kind of middle level transmission here. Hopefully, it’ll just keep on on dropping,” Petri said.

Petri says he still wears a mask in public settings, but he anticipates in a few weeks that may not be the case.

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