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Hawaii is at the “beginning of the end of the pandemic” with collective immunity on the horizon; Authorities warn not to let our guard down

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HONOLULU (KHON2) – The end of the pandemic is on the horizon, according to health officials.

Things are looking good as COVID cases continue to decline and Hawaii has reached a 70% vaccination rate, but medical professionals are warning everyone not to let their guard down and to continue taking precautions.

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When can everyone throw off their masks or travel and eat out without having to show proof of vaccination? When will things really get back to normal? There is light at the end of the tunnel, but authorities are urging everyone to stay the course a little longer.

“We are seeing the beginning of the end of the pandemic,” said Lt. Gov. Josh Green, “it’s not totally over yet, there have been cases still.”

But these numbers are dropping. According to Department of Health spokesperson Brooks Baehr, the average number of daily cases has fallen 55% since early October.

“At the height of this outbreak, we were aware of over 800 new cases of COVID per day,” Baehr said. “Now we’ve dropped to 123 cases on the seven-day average. So we are absolutely heading in the right direction.

Hawaii has reached the benchmark of 70% of its population fully vaccinated on Friday, October 15, bringing the state closer to collective immunity.

“As a doctor, herd immunity seems to have started to take hold,” Green explained.

“When you see that the population is over 90% onset of vaccination and the number of cases decreases by 50% every two weeks,” said Green, “that’s kind of the definition of decreased risk and collective immunity “.

But Hawaii isn’t there yet, according to Green, and the virus is determining what comes next, as evidenced by this summer – there is no magic number.

“At one point we were going to talk about removing all the 70% restrictions and then the dastardly delta variant came along and just was a game-changer,” Baehr said. “And we had to adapt and we don’t know what to expect at the next corner.”

Baehr, however, is cautiously optimistic.

“So again, you ask, is there light at the end of the tunnel?” Absoutely. But it’s a long tunnel, ”he said.

The virus will still be there, according to Brooks, even when the pandemic is over.

“The end of the pandemic is going to be different for people who are vaccinated and those who are not,” Baehr said. “For those of us who are vaccinated, we will benefit from significant protection against COVID-19. But for those who are not vaccinated, COVID-19 will remain a serious and serious threat. “

“Also, we should only see small outbreaks, but not big outbreaks,” Green added. “So you will see small outbreaks of the virus in 2022 and 2023 in areas where their vaccination rates are only 55 or 60%. “

In many ways, however, life will return to normal. No one really knows what’s going to happen.

Find more COVID-19 news: cases, vaccinations on our Coronavirus News page

“What exactly does the end of the pandemic look like? We’re not exactly sure, ”Baehr said.


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