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  • “We’ll probably get to the point — is my guess over the spring and summer — where the transmission rates come down so low that we’ll have some sort of functional herd immunity and we may see some relaxing of the guidelines,” Gupta said.
  • “But I don’t know that it’s going to be linear. Meaning that, when we go back into the winter of next year, they may say at least for a period of time to limit indoor gatherings, wear masks again, things like that. So, we may have this toggling for a little bit of time,” he added.
  • Public health officials have estimated more than 70 percent of the population needs to be vaccinated to achieve herd immunity.

Neurosurgeon and CNN medical correspondent Sanjay Gupta on Friday said the U.S. could see some “functional herd immunity” by the spring or summer as vaccinations ramp up across the country. 

During an interview on CNN’s New Day, Gupta was asked about guidance for people who have been vaccinated against the coronavirus. He said while vaccinated people should feel confident they are not going to get sick, they can still potentially carry the virus in their nose and mouth and should still follow guidelines such as wearing a mask and physical distancing. 


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“Hopefully data over the next few months shows that your likelihood of carrying the virus is so low that it’s not that big a risk,” he said. 

“We’ll probably get to the point — is my guess over the spring and summer — where the transmission rates come down so low that we’ll have some sort of functional herd immunity, and we may see some relaxing of the guidelines,” Gupta said. 

“But I don’t know that it’s going to be linear. Meaning that, when we go back into the winter of next year, they may say at least for a period of time to limit indoor gatherings, wear masks again, things like that. So, we may have this toggling for a little bit of time,” he added. 

Herd immunity occurs when a large portion of the population becomes immune to a virus, making it difficult for the virus to spread. This can happen either because people become vaccinated or have already been infected and built antibodies to ward off new infections. Public health officials have estimated more than 70 percent of the population needs to be vaccinated to achieve herd immunity. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 68 million coronavirus vaccine doses have been administered across the country. The U.S. is expected to have enough vaccine doses for every American by July.


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Published on Feb 26, 2021