SALT LAKE CITY — A top infectious disease specialist with Intermountain Healthcare says recent news is encouraging but there’s still a lot of work to do before we see an end to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Doctor Todd Vento called the situation “night and day” better compared to November and December, and we can be grateful to have far fewer cases today. But the coronavirus is mutating and new variants are turning up, including a new strain from California.
Dr. Vento says Utahns should plan on wearing masks and practicing social distancing even after the state ends its mask mandate on April 10th.
“Still do a mask,” he told Intermountain Healthcare’s monthly briefing on COVID-19. “Still watch your distancing. You’re good at it now. We’ve been doing it for 12 months plus. And then get the vaccine.”
Dr. Vento says President Biden’s goal of celebrating on the 4th of July is realistic, but there’s a lot of work to do before then.
“We’ve had this miracle of developing multiple vaccines for the world. We really need to use it now, right? The old adage is that vaccines really don’t do anything. It’s vaccinations that stop the public health emergency.”
He says new data from Israel shows the Pfizer vaccine is 90% effective at decreasing transmission of the virus to asymptomatic people, but he says people should plan on getting whichever vaccine is available to them, since all three are effective at preventing severe illness.