New research shows the importance of a high rate of vaccination for reducing case numbers and controlling the pandemic. Data scientists from Mayo Clinic have developed highly accurate computer modeling to predict trends for COVID-19 cases. 

As per the findings of a study published n Mayo Clinic Proceedings, vaccination can help keep positive COVID-19 cases from becoming an emergency. Hence, hospitalisation rates can be reduced, ICUs need not be overwhelmed and death and severe illness can be controlled. 

Vaccination trends are crucial to the future course of the pandemic. The Mayo researchers estimate that a peak of more than 800 patients would be in hospital ICUs in Minnesota this spring if no vaccines had been developed. The projections take into account new variants of the SARS-CoV-2 virus as well as current public health measures and masking standards. The predicted ICU census levels would be more than double the number of Minnesota COVID-19 patients who were hospitalised in ICUs on Dec. 1, at the height of the most recent surge last year.

"It is difficult to untangle how much of this elevated rate of spread right now is due to new variants as opposed to changes in social behaviour," the authors say, but "regardless of the reason, the absence of vaccinations in the current environment would have been likely to result in by far the largest surge to date."

If Minnesota had achieved vaccination of 75% of the population by early April, the study estimates that the 7-day average of cases per 100,000 residents, the number of COVID-19 patients hospitalised and the number in ICUs would plummet by early July. "According to the model, this level of vaccination would completely suppress the growth (even in the face of the recent elevated spread rate) and immediately drive cases and hospitalisations down to very low levels," the authors say.

Source: Mayo Clinic News Network

Image Credit: iStock 

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