DES MOINES, Iowa — With more vaccines going into people's arms, medical expert Dr. Ravi Vemuri with MercyOne Des Moines sat down with Local 5 to answer our four biggest questions.
Q: When will we know this pandemic is over?
A: When we’re below one active new case per hundred thousand population that’s when we know, locally, the pandemic may be over. In the United States, we have 50,000 to 60,000 active new cases for a 7-day average. That's an unacceptable number.
Locally, we base it on a number and color system. Number 25 is the highest and is considered an uncontrolled spread. That is the red zone. Currently, we're at number 18— the orange zone. That means, we're close to the yellow zone and eventually the green zone — outbreak is contained.
Q: When can we stop wearing masks?
A: Fully-vaccinated individuals can congregate with other fully-vaccinated individuals without worrying about social distancing or wearing masks. To do that, you have to wait two weeks after being fully vaccinated.
Q: Can I plan a vacation this summer?
A: Yes! The safest is to drive, but you can fly safely if you have a well-fitted mask and keep it on. Don’t take it off to have snacks or have a drink. Try to keep it on the entire flight. And remember to social distance.
Q: How are medical experts feeling about the next few months?
A: We’re encouraged that the increasing case of vaccinations, and now we have three vaccines. Soon we might have four vaccines, with the Novavax [will maybe] become available. Hopefully, by the middle of May or the end of May, anyone in Iowa or anyone in the U.S., for that matter, who wants one will be able to get one.
Dr. Vemuri said at least 70% of Iowans need to be vaccinated for cases to improve. As of Wednesday, about 20% are vaccinated.