Dr Paul Offit (pictured) says he believes the U.S. can get the coronavirus pandemic under control by June
A public health expert claims the U.S. may be able to control the spread of the novel coronavirus by this summer.
Despite America recording its highest single-day death toll with more than 4,300 fatalities, Dr Paul Offit told CNN’s New Day he is optimistic for several reasons.
Offit, director of the Vaccine Education Center and a physician in the Division of Infectious Diseases at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, says two new vaccines are soon expected to be approved, which will speed up the national rollout.
He adds that with warmer weather and the incoming Biden administration, the U.S. may be able to stop the transmission of COVID-19 by June.
Currently, there are only two vaccines approved for emergency use authorization in the U.S.: one by Pfizer and the other by Moderna.
Both require two doses and are administered between three and four weeks apart.
However, Offit says two ‘remarkably effective’ vaccines are ‘right around the corner’ from Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca/University of Oxford.
Early results show that a single dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine induced an antibody response in 97 percent of participants while the AstraZeneca jab was shown to be 70.4 percent effective at preventing symptomatic COVID-19.
He says mass vaccination sites will help speed up the rollout as will the Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca vaccines, which don’t need to be stored in freezers. Pictured: A dose of the AstraXeneca-0xford Covid-19 vaccine in Newcastle, England, January 13
Mass vaccinations combined with the number of people who already have been infected will also help bring the U.S. closer to herd immunity. Pictured: People wait in cars for a vaccination against the coronavirus at a new ‘vaccination superstation’ in San Diego, January 11
J&J’s vaccine is a one-shot jab and both companies have made shots that can be stored in the refrigerator.
This means they will be easier for pharmacies and other medical centers to store because they do not require the ultra-cold temperatures of the other two vaccines.
What’s more, having such an easy vaccine to distribute as mass vaccination sites are set up across the country.
Such locations in Citi Field, home of the New York Mets; Gillette Stadium, home of the New England Patriots; the Pennsylvania Convention Center and even Disneyland.
This means long lines of people won’t have to wait in hospitals and the rollout will be sped up.
‘We’re finally starting to get how to mass administer,’ Offit told CNN.
Offit adds that the incoming administration of President-elect Joe Biden will have more stringent policies than those of the Trump administration. Pictured: Biden removes his face mask to speak during an event at The Queen theater in Wilmington, Delaware, January 8
Between the number of people who have been infected, which Offit estimates is between 65 and 70 million, and those vaccinated, herd immunity could be reached.
‘That’s 20 percent of the population that when they’re re-exposed to this virus are not going to become sick with it,’ he said.
If at least 60 percent of the population gets the vaccine, he added: ‘then I really do think that by June we can stop the spread of this virus.’
Another factor that should help slow the spread is the upcoming warmer weather in the spring and summer.
Viruses tend to spread better in colder weather because the air is less humid and as more people gather indoors. The coronavirus is no different.
And a May 2020 study from Mount Auburn Hospital in Cambridge, Massachusetts found that the rate of coronavirus transmission slowed down as the maximum daily temperature hit 52F.
‘The weather will get warmer, when the weather gets warmer, that makes it much more difficult for this virus,’ Offit said.
Lastly, Offit says the policies enacted by President-elect Joe Biden’s incoming administration will help slow the spread.
Biden’s approach to the pandemic has differed drastically to that of President Donald Trump,
Trump repeatedly downplayed the severity of the pandemic, never encouraged the public to wear masks, and pushed to get a vaccine approved before the November 3 presidential election.
He also told several lies including that deaths by suicide would outnumber COVID-19 deaths if the economy took a downward turn, that the outbreak would ‘disappear’ or ‘fade away,’ and that 99 percent of cases are harmless.
By comparison, Biden said he will ask everyone to wear a mask in his first 100 days in office and plans to speed up vaccine distribution.
Offit told CNN that Biden’s administration ‘isn’t into this cult of denialism’ and will ‘take this problem head on.’