Doctors optimistic Kansas could be approaching herd immunity

Published: Oct. 25, 2021 at 11:01 PM CDT
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - New data from Sedgwick County shows COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations are down and for the first time since the start of the pandemic, doctors believe we could be approaching herd immunity, if it hasn’t already been reached in Kansas. Doctors believe Kansas has possibly reached herd immunity between the state’s vaccination rate and natural immunity from those who’ve recently contracted the virus. It’s a promising step in the right direction after a difficult two years. With that, however, doctors warn it may still be too early to drop all precautions.

Currently in Kansas, vaccination rates have stalled at just above 50 percent, but because so many contracted the virus in the fourth wave, doctors believe Kansas may be approaching herd immunity.

With the new data showing an improving picture for Kansas hospitals, Sedgwick County is reporting its lowest positive percentage rate since July.

“Hopefully, we’re seeing the end of (the Delta variant),” said Pediatric Infectious Disease Specialist Dr. Robert Wittler. “I’d never want to speak to quickly about those things, but you know that’s been the trend.”

For the first time in months, the trend is moving in a positive direction. Hospitalizations in Wichita dropped by more than 30 percent since early September and experts believe this number will continue to drop as case numbers decrease across the country.

“They’re certainly trending down in Sedgwick County and so is our ICU admission, so that’s a good thing,” Dr. Wittler said.

While optimistic, Dr. Wittler cautioned that we’ve been in similar territory before with a noticeable drop in cases and in those prior cases, a premature drop in precautions led to another spike. He said the vaccine is still the best tool for life moving closer to normal.

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