Epidemiologist predicts Florida will soon reach COVID herd immunity

An epidemiologist in Florida says there may be one benefit to the delta variant. He thinks it’s helping us inch closer to herd immunity in Florida. 

You’ve probably never heard the terms "peak" and "wave" as much as you have in the last year-and-a-half. This graph shows the ups and downs, including the latest surge, a tidal wave. 

"I thought I was good. I had caught COVID before but it’s not getting good," said Tim Fluker, who lives in Altamonte Springs.

One epidemiologist says the tide might finally be turning. University of South Florida Professor Edwin Michael predicts Florida will reach herd immunity next month. 

"That will be reached, 90% with current vaccination rates on 9/11," said Dr. Michael. 

Herd immunity is when enough people become immune to a disease that the population becomes protected from that disease. Dr. Michael says because of the delta variant, 90% of Floridians either need to get COVID or get the shot for herd immunity to happen here. With the current vaccination rate and rise in cases, we’re on our way. 

"It’s the resurgence that is driving this. It’s much faster than vaccination rates."

There are still unknowns, like how permanent immunity will be, what will happen in schools, and whether new variants will develop. 

"I’m slightly optimistic…but this thing changes wildly," said Dr. Michael.

"It’s exciting that we’re hitting herd immunity. I think that’s awesome. Hopefully, more people are getting vaccinated and socially distancing and all that so it’s exciting," said Olivia Kralik, who lives in Altamonte Springs.

Some worry there will just be another wave.

"As long as cases keep going up, I don’t see immunity anytime soon."

As of now, Dr. Michael predicts Florida will peak on August 24 and booster shots will solidify September 11 for herd immunity.

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