Is the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic over?
New models show that the delta thrust appears to be peaking and the number of cases is on track to decline by spring.
The COVID-19 Scenario Modeling Center has combined more than nine different mathematical models from different research groups to get a perspective on the pandemic for the next six months.
Dr Rajesh Nandy, associate professor of biostatistics and epidemiology at the UNT Health Science Center, is developing similar models for North Texas and says the trend coincides with what’s happening locally.
The risk pool, which is the group of people who have not been vaccinated or have never been infected, is the smallest it has ever been, at 20% of the population.
It’s mostly made up of children, which means getting them vaccinated, if and when a vaccine is cleared for ages 12 and under, will be crucial in closing the gap.
“If we can immunize a significant percentage of this population, of this age group, it will probably push us to 90%, which could be very close to collective immunity for the community,” Dr Nandy said.
However, he said forecasters cannot predict human behavior and whether mask-to-mask changes or drops in vaccination rates will keep the door open to new, more infectious variants.
He is cautiously optimistic.
“I’m not suggesting that people stay stuck at home. I want people to go about their normal activities but take the proper precautions, and that can’t hurt us even in the best of circumstances,” Nandy said.