Caine: County in race for herd immunity


Marion County is lagging in its race to reach herd immunity from COVID-19 as more transmissible variants close in.

Just more than 16% of county residents were fully vaccinated as of Saturday, said Marion County Public Health Department Director Dr. Virginia Caine at a news conference Tuesday. That falls far short of the 80% of residents that Caine said need to be vaccinated for the county to reach herd immunity and halt person-to-person spread of the virus.

“Especially in light of the variant, resistant strains … 80% [is] my target for herd immunity,” Caine said.

Variants first detected in Brazil, California, the United Kingdom and South Africa have all made it to Indiana. The mutated viruses spread more easily and can cause more severe complications.

The county health department does not have local data on variants, Caine said, but more than 100 cases involving variants have been reported statewide. Nationally, confirmed variant cases topped 16,000 on Monday, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

We’re in a race right now: reaching that herd immunity before we see a widespread rate of those new mutated strains,” Caine said.

Tuesday’s press conference, which included Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett, came on the heels of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament, which ended with Monday night’s championship game at Lucas Oil Stadium.

One University of Alabama fan died days after he attended the tournament. Caine said “a handful” of people who attended the tourney in late March were contacted regarding potential exposure to COVID-19.

“Yes, I expect now to see a surge,” Caine said, although she was hopeful the health department would see a “milder and a lower surge” compared to the one seen in December, based on how gradual the recent increase in cases has been.

“Other counties around the state have had their indicators worsen by quite a bit more and they have not been hosting, for example, the NCAA tournament,” Caine said.

Marion County’s 4% test positivity rate is lower than nearly all other central Indiana counties besides Shelby County, and is on par with Morgan County, as of March 28, according to the health department.

Hogsett said that the tournament “proved to the world that we can responsibly host major events. That, more than anything else, is my takeaway.”

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9 thoughts on “Caine: County in race for herd immunity

  1. “Marion County’s 4% test positivity rate is lower than nearly all other central Indiana counties besides Shelby County, and is on par with Morgan County, as of March 28, according to the health department.” But let’s keep virtue signaling with our masks. What happened to “follow the science”?

    The experiment is underway in TX, and it’s working. Time to remove the mask mandate and get workers back in the offices downtown.

    1. I’m with you David D. Enough is enough. They are not using any kind of science or otherwise they would realize masks and social distancing are not effective. Maybe we need to overturn our mayor like CA is doing to their Governor.

    2. You do realize that the government isn’t stoping workers from returning to Downtown offices, right? Those are corporate decisions. It’s time to remove the mask mandate when enough people are vaccinated. That is following the science. California has the lowest Covid-19 positivity rate in the country right now. Can Texas say the same? When you value money over life, I guess it doesn’t matter.

    3. Ah, yes, the “if we can just save one life” argument. That isn’t how anything works. Otherwise, the speed limit would be 2 mph and no one would leave their home.

      Congrats to California — it’s quite an example they’ve set out there….

    4. Libs don’t follow the science.
      Sheep are always going to follow.
      Hogsett and Holcomb are one in the same.
      Too afraid to let people make their own decisions.
      Get your shot and wear your mask. Why force others to do the same?

    5. Wes, corporations have not returned to the office for a variety of reasons including: virtual productivity, virtual signaling from Libs like you, and an uncertain legal liability environment.
      That said, congrats on finding an exact snapshot in time to put CA on a pedestal, because it supports your opinion. Can you walk us through what is happening in MI at that same snapshot in time? Masks in place, has consistently had one of the worst lockdowns in the country, courtesy of your Lib Queen. Positives rates currently worst in the country.