Mayo Clinic studies impact if no COVID-19 vaccine in Minnesota

Miguel Octavio
Updated: April 21, 2021 11:11 PM
Created: April 21, 2021 10:46 PM

(ABC 6 News) - The vaccines are preventing an increase in coronavirus infections across the country.

But a new study from the Mayo Clinic is showing a new perspective: What Minnesota could look like today if vaccines weren't available.

"What would happen if there were no vaccines is kind of this massive surge," Dr. Curtis Storlie, Mayo Clinic director of data science and author of the study said. 

The study finds the state would see its largest surge yet without vaccinations: More than likely double the number of COVID-19 cases and ICU patients today compared to the winter peak. 

About 400 patients were being treated in intensive care in the state in December. 

"We had to cancel elective surgeries and pretty much anything that wasn't completely necessary had to be put off," Storlie said.

But the study also sheds some hope. One of the three hypothetical scenarios forecasted if 75% of Minnesotans are vaccinated to this day. 

"It was basically this immediately drop off," Storlie said.

Storlie said at the country's current rate, 75% of Americans could get at least one dose of the vaccine in six weeks but only if people are willing to take it. 

That's why he said the research is so important. It's about showing the impact of the vaccine. 

"We're getting to a point now that vaccine availability is not going to be the issue anymore," Storlie said. "It's just a matter of staying the course and making sure that we finish the job."

Storlie did note several caveats in their research. He said people may not behave the same if vaccines were not around and it's tough to pinpoint how much the virus could be mutating. 

The study also notes it's difficult to understand how much of the current spread is because of the variants versus people's behavior. 

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