Individuals have a “skewed notion” of the chance of Covid
Dr. Marty Makary told CNBC on Tuesday that people failed to realize that the coronavirus threat in the US is now dramatically lower than it was in earlier stages of the pandemic.
“There is a lot of good news out there and I think people need to hear that good news now. People have a completely distorted perception of risk, ”said the Johns Hopkins surgeon and professor in an interview on Squawk Box.
The death rate from Covid in the US has become “much different” as the disease circulates more among younger populations, Makary said.
For these younger Americans, he said, the death rate from Covid has become similar to that of seasonal flu. “Right now we have 1/50 of the daily cases of this virus” compared to flu cases during a mild season in the US, he added.
The seven-day average of new daily Covid cases in the US is around 15,800, according to a CNBC analysis of data from Johns Hopkins University. That’s more than 60% less than about a month ago when the US average of daily new infections with the coronavirus was about 45,000. The highest single day of new cases in the U.S. was 300,462 on Jan. 2.
The sharp decline in Covid cases coincided with more Americans receiving vaccines. According to data compiled by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 64% of US adults had received at least one dose of vaccine and 53% were fully vaccinated by Monday.
According to the CNBC analysis of the JHU data, the seven-day average of new Covid deaths reported daily is around 460. That is 21% less than a week ago. The highest single day of new death toll in the US was 4,477 on January 12.
People “have to be careful if they are unvaccinated and haven’t had the infection, but we have to move on at some point,” said Makary, author of many books, including “The Price We Pay: What Broke American Health Care – And How To Fix It.” “It is now in paperback with a new Covid section.
In February, Makary wrote an attention grabbing comment in the Wall Street Journal entitled “We’ll have herd immunity by April.” Not all agreed with his prediction after the piece was released, some thought it was too aggressive at the time.
Makary said Tuesday he believes “the concept of herd immunity has been misinterpreted as eradication”. He noted that in the comment he admitted that the coronavirus will continue to exist for decades.
“We are currently using the term population immunity so people don’t misunderstand herd immunity as a finish line or something binary,” Makary said. “I think you will see it circulating in younger communities and that is different from the threat that was just, say, two months ago.”