MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Dr. Fauci and other medical experts are worried about another spike in COVID-19 cases after seeing states, like Mississippi, lift restrictions and mask mandates.
UTHSC Dean Scott Strome agreed and believed we should reopen once 70 to 80 percent of the population is vaccinated.
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He expects there to be another wave but it won’t be as deadly because more people are getting vaccinated.
“I’m very concerned about reopening too early, we’ve seen this time and time again, you, unfortunately, know what’s going to happen,” said Strome.
Strome said he expects another spike in COVID cases as states like Mississippi lift mask mandates and restaurant capacity restrictions.
However, he doesn’t believe the spike will be as bad as it was over the holidays.
“I do think we’ll see a small next wave, really the size of that wave and viral strengths that populate that wave are really going to be dependent on how many people get vaccinated and how folks protect themselves and their neighbors by practicing good social hygiene,” said Strome.
Strome said another factor is the new variants.
He said the vaccine doesn’t protect as well against the South African and Brazilian variants.
“We have to get more folks vaccinated so we can prevent the influx of these rare and potentially newer variants so folks don’t get the disease,” said Strome.
Strome said three things are key: social distance, wear masks and if possible, get vaccinated.
“As we are able to get folks vaccinated, we are all going to get safer because it decreases the size of the reservoir,” he said.
He added that even though more people are getting vaccinated, it’s still hard to tell who is vaccinated and who isn’t in large crowds.
For this reason, he still suggests people wear masks around others.