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Vaccines a big help but COVID-19 is still a threat, experts say

Doctors urge South Floridians to keep their guard up even as some restrictions relaxed

COVID-19 safety measures still critical even as vaccines expand, experts say
COVID-19 safety measures still critical even as vaccines expand, experts say

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. – After new CDC guidelines for people who are fully vaccinated came out Monday, there is a growing sense that we’re through the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

But experts say while the guidance makes sense, South Floridians should still be cautious, so we don’t go backwards.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Monday that fully vaccinated Americans can gather with other vaccinated people indoors without wearing a mask or social distancing. They also said vaccinated people can come together in the same way — in a single household — with those considered at low-risk for severe disease, such as vaccinated grandparents visiting healthy children and grandchildren.

“Anything we do in life has risks, and for every risk we take we measure that risk-benefit ratio,” said Dr. Aileen Marty, an infectious diseases expert at Florida International University.

She says, with that in mind, the CDC’s loosened guidelines are reasonable.

But she and her colleagues, like Dr. Bindu Mayi from Nova Southeastern University, say that just because things are better doesn’t mean we’re totally back to the way things were before the outbreak.

“We’re still at a much higher level today than we were this fall before we had the second climb back up, so we are not out of the woods from this thing at all,” Marty said.

Added Mayi: “Unfortunately, I don’t think we can say we are past the worst. I think we thought that last year and then we saw that no, and then it picked up as we saw and towards the beginning of the year our cases were just through the roof.”

Both experts say that while they are encouraged by the number of people who are already vaccinated — at least 3.6 million people have gotten at least one shot in Florida — we still have a ways to go to achieve herd immunity.

However, if vaccinations continue and people follow the safety precautions, we should get back to our old normal.

“I think we can comfortably say the worst is over when the majority of the population is vaccinated and we see numbers going down but we also see a more consciously cautious behavior,” Mayi said.

Experts also say that people who have gotten and recovered from COVID-19 should still get a vaccine. Although you will have some antibodies if you’ve recovered, they may be lesser and weaker than those given to you by a vaccine.


About the Author:

Ian Margol joined the Local 10 News team in July 2016 as a general assignment reporter. Born in Miami Beach and raised in Broward County, Ian is thrilled to be back home in South Florida.