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Shelby County Health Department weighs in on if COVID-19 become a seasonal threat like the flu

Published: Jan. 28, 2022 at 6:32 PM CST
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - As the surge in cases of COVID-19 reaches its peak in some parts of the Mid-South, some Shelby County doctors believe the virus could eventually become a seasonal threat, like the flu, thanks to vaccines that fight against it.

When it comes to the possibility for COVID-19 to go from pandemic to endemic, Shelby County Health Department Director Dr. Michelle Taylor says there’s good news.

“I do think that we’re headed in that way,” said Dr. Taylor.

An endemic is when a virus is constantly maintained in a community with occurring outbreaks.

“The more people who get vaccinated, the closer we get to that endemic state meaning that COVID will become more like the flu,” said Dr. Taylor.

Just over 50% of people are fully vaccinated in Shelby County. But for COVID-19 to become seasonal, like the Flu, Dr. Taylor says that number needs to go up significantly.

“We also know in other parts of the world, some scientists are saying that it’s even better 80, 85, even 90 percent and I know people are saying, there’s no way that’s going to happen in Shelby County,” said Dr. Taylor. “I don’t believe that.”

Lower, vaccination rates among minorities, children and teens are one of the reasons why the county decided to reopen this Whitehaven mass vaccination site Friday.

Dr. Taylor says more people need to get vaccinated, especially children.

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