Random COVID-19 sampling study shows Indiana is “far away” from herd immunity

Local News

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) – Wednesday, data was released from the third phase of the IU Fairbanks School of Public Health’s COVID-19 random sample study.

The study is used to measure the spread of the virus throughout Indiana.

Since the beginning of the pandemic in early March, the Indiana State Department of Health has reported just over 312,000 positive cases of COVID-19. Leaders with the Fairbanks says that numbers does not show the true spread of the virus.

“Infections is not the same as the more commonly reported numbers of cases. As I’ve noted in a previous press conference, cases are just the tip of iceberg,” said Dr. Nir Menachemi, Fairbanks endowed chair.

Since April, Fairbanks has conducted three phases of a COVID-19 study, testing random Hoosiers for the virus to help determine the spread statewide.

In phase 3, which results were released on Wednesday, data shows that as of early October 7.8% of Indiana’s population has been infected with COVID, with an estimated 10.6% infected as of November 20.

“At an almost 11% population prevalence, we are very, very, far away from the approximately 70% needed to achieve herd immunity,” Menachemi said.

Fairbanks leaders say this means Hoosiers must express more caution to prevent spikes in deaths and cases.

“We need to be very vigilant especially in particular around reducing exposure to the disease,” said Dr. Paul Halvorsen, dean of Fairbanks School of Public Health.

Indiana’s health commissioner says she does have concerns that Thanksgiving will cause numbers to spike and she is encouraging families to consider changing their normal holiday plans.

“I cannot repeat this enough. Bringing together large groups of people from outside your immediate household puts everyone at risk for COVID-19. There is still time to make the hard choice today, so that you can enjoy many more tomorrows with your loved ones,” said Dr. Kristina Box, Indiana State Health Commissioner.

The Fairbanks School of Public Health says they plan to conduct more study on this topic in 2021.

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