Epidemiologist predicts when Indiana will reach herd immunity from COVID

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FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – How soon until Indiana society returns to normal? It’s a question Hoosiers have thought about every day since the COVID-19 pandemic began. An epidemiologist is predicting when normal might be.

Dr. Thomas Duszynski, Director of Epidemiology Education at Indiana University Fairbanks School of Public Health has been calculating the variables of how fast Indiana can get to herd immunity, which he’s defining as at least 70 percent of Hoosiers get the COVID vaccine.

Duszynski thinks at this rate, with just a couple vaccine producers in the market, Indiana could return to normal around October.

But he presses that this is a serious foot race to hit that 70 percent as fast as possible, faster than the time it takes any new strands of the virus to gain strength.

“The race is can we get enough vaccine in people before these variants maybe take hold of the population and those case numbers start to go back up again,” he said. “I’m encouraging people don’t let your guards down at this point. Even though numbers are improving, that’s great news, that’s the way we want to be. Vaccines are starting to roll up. We’ll hopefully get another vaccine producer in the market soon. But we still have to get people to wear their masks, stay physically distanced, practice good hand hygiene, and sign up to get vaccinated as soon as you’re eligible.”

So Duszynski believes the finish line for the pandemic could be in mid-fall. But unfortunately, he said that prediction is a moving target because it’s dependent on how fluid COVID vaccine distribution chains are. Clogs in the supply chain could move that October prediction even further back.

As of February 5 more than 191,000 people had fully vaccinated in Indiana’s population of over 6.7 million people.

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