Local doctor asks the public to remain vigilant or risk possibly enduring 4th wave of COVID cases

ATLANTA — Just 58 days into the Biden administration, the president reached his goal of 100 million vaccines administered in the U.S. in the first 100 days in office.

One in 10 Georgians are now fully vaccinated.

The numbers are encouraging, but family physician Dr. Cecil Bennett remains cautiously optimistic.

“If we could just bear down for another 30 to 45 days, I really believe we’ll be in a much better place than we are right now,” Bennet said.

The Newnan area doctor is considering there are three FDA-approved vaccines, and supply in the U.S. is expected to increase dramatically. But he sees another issue at hand.

“If 40% nationally of individuals decide not to become vaccinated, it really means we cannot achieve herd immunity. So it is a concern,” Bennett said.

“The point is that enough people will be immune where it really cannot spread rapidly throughout the community,” Bennett said.

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There is also concern of the variants that have popped up. Three strains are identified. Two are in the U.S. and the UK variant is expected to become the dominant strain here by April.

Bennett said studies have shown that the U.K. variant is 70% more contagious than the U.S. version of the virus. According to those same studies, the U.K. variant is also more deadly. Bennett believes this, coupled with some states reopening 100% and doing away with mask mandates, can create a perfect storm.

“We could not ask for a worst-case scenario right now when we’re so close to solving this problem,” Bennett said.

Bennett and many of his colleagues believe the messaging is paramount right now. He says to maintain the precautions we’ve had in place, and when your vaccine eligibility comes, get the vaccine.