Projections model shows vaccine won’t reduce deaths due to COVID-19

In the next two weeks, two coronavirus vaccines will be up for emergency use authorization review, but a model from experts at the University of Washington shows a vaccine won’t reduce the number of coronavirus deaths by that much.

We looked at what doctors and health experts believe will be more impactful against COVID-19 than a vaccine Friday.

“I really worry about the ICU capacity and hospital capacity in our country at the moment,” said Dr. Michael Mina, an epidemiologist at Harvard.

As the pandemic drags on, Mina worries we’re becoming numb to the numbers.

“Yesterday, we saw almost 3,000 deaths,” Mina said. “I worry that the population has been conditioned now to just think of them as numbers.”

With the numbers of lives lost, people everywhere are pinning their hopes on the upcoming vaccines.

“We’re talking about the potential availability of vaccines that may protect up to 95% of vaccine recipients being made available in the coming weeks,” said Dr. William Moss, the Executive Director of International Vaccine Access Center at Johns Hopkins.

The latest COVID-19 death projections show a rapid roll out isn’t fast enough.

“We are showing the total number of deaths from the beginning until April 1 to be 539,000 in the United States,” said Ali Mokdad, Ph.D., a professor of Health Metrics Sciences at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at University of Washington in Seattle.

Mokdad said the vaccines won’t really impact our death rates until mid-2021 because it takes time to build up our collective immunity. Mokdad says his models show masks can save lives now and in the future.

“If 95% of us wear a mask when we are outside our homes, we can save 66,000 lives between now and April 1,” Mokdad said.

Looking at the University of Washington’s latest projections for Florida, if we adopted universal masking here in the Sunshine State, we could save about 3,000 lives between now and April 1.

“These vaccines are not going to be the silver bullet that brings us back to the pre-pandemic period,” Moss said. “We’re still going to need, particularly in the months going forward, to continue to wear masks as a public.”

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Reporter:Veronica Marshall
Writer:Jack Lowenstein
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