Epidemiologist discusses COVID-19 hospitalization projections

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OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – An epidemiologist is showing how vaccines and masks can flatten the curve when it comes to new COVID-19 cases.

“The pandemic is being driven by people not being vaccinated. We as Oklahomans need to think about how we can join together to prevent the disease and work as a society,” Dr. Aaron Wendelboe, a professor of epidemiology at OU, said.

He has a graph (shown in video) projecting the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations. He says when he changes variables like increased vaccinations and masking, the number of hospitalizations goes down.

“This is what we’re looking at as far as hospitalizations from COVID if we stay on the path we’re on right now. If we were to double the vaccinations that we have right now you can see the curve essentially flattens,” he said.

He says that’s not the only way the curve can flatten.

“Maybe we can’t double the vaccines, but we were able to increase it substantially, but also, let’s say, unvaccinated people were willing to mask then like the combination of increasing vaccine and masking could also just flatten this out,” he said.

His model assumes there are no more variants, but right now, the next peak is expected to come in a few months.

“This is what we’re seeing as the peak of hospitalizations here in the fall,” he said.

However, he says the winter could change things.

“This is most accurate probably through the fall, because as we move forward and we get into colder weather and stuff like that my guess is this will actually stay sustained rather than dropping off as quickly as the model is showing,” he said.

Wendelboe says the solutions can be very simple.

“We don’t have to experience the hospitalization, we don’t to have to shut down society, we don’t have to make drastic prevention measures, we can just utilize what’s essentially right in front of us, the vaccine and masks,” he said.

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