DALLAS — Dallas County could reach an 80% level of herd immunity to COVID-19 as soon as this June as long as vaccinations increase, the Parkland Center for Clinical Innovation president and CEO said Tuesday.
Steve Miff spoke at a news conference with Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins Tuesday about how far along the county is with vaccinations.
PCIC is a non-profit, data science, artificial intelligence and innovation organization affiliated with Parkland Health & Hospital System. It has been working with Dr. Philip Huang and the Dallas County Health and Human Services to track the pandemic since last March.
Miff said more than 900,000 Dallas County residents have been infected with COVID-19. That number includes people who have been tested and confirmed positive for the disease and also people who have recovered from the disease. That's about 35% of the county's roughly 2.636 million residents.
Tuesday, Dallas County reported 412 new cases of COVID-19 and 18 deaths due to the disease.
Miff said as of today, about 10% of Dallas County residents have been vaccinated. That number is not evenly distributed across the county; some ZIP codes have higher combined levels of vaccination.
"We still have a ways to go," he said. "But we're going to get there by being vaccinated."
If county residents continue to be cautious — wear masks and practice social distancing — and continue to get vaccinated, Dallas County could reach 80% herd immunity by June, Miff said.
That goal is dependent upon a higher amount of vaccinations per week, though. At the current rate of vaccinations in the county, Dallas County won't reach 80% herd immunity until August.
"At the current rate of roughly 43,000 vaccinations per week, which we've been able to do the last few weeks, we won't get there until August," Miff said. "The forecast model we've put forth, by achieving 65,000 vaccinations per week, that's how we get there to immunity by June.
"This is not going to be easy but it's also very optimistic."
Miff added that the models PCIC is tracking will be constantly updated, and PCIC will provide monthly updates as to how the county is faring as it works toward herd immunity.
Jenkins reiterated Miff's suggestion that people continue to be cautious and social distance and wear masks.
"[This date is] a lot sooner than others are projecting. It's good news, and we need good news after the week we've all had."
Watch the remarks in full in the below video. Miff starts speaking at the 43:43 mark.