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Local physician says COVID-19 ‘herd immunity’ not the right approach for Cook County

As of the first day of October, there have been eight confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Cook County, including at least two known active cases. The reports of new cases in late September could lead to an uptick in local cases similar to what the community witnessed in early to mid-August where there were four cases in a short time frame.

With contact tracing underway and as more COVID-19 testing is done, Dr. Kurt Farchmin from Sawtooth Mountain Clinic in Grand Marais says it is likely there will be more cases in the coming days or perhaps week ahead.

Meanwhile, the topic of who has the virus, and people passing the virus to one another in the community opens up a conversation that Cook County residents and healthcare professionals are hearing nationally about herd immunity. According to the Mayo Clinic, herd immunity “occurs when a large portion of a community becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely.”

Some members of the White House Coronavirus Task Force recently recommended herd immunity as a strategy to combat COVID-19. However, some, or perhaps most medical experts say that natural herd immunity is an uncertain strategy at best. With limited resources and hospital beds in Cook County, such an attempt to contain the new coronavirus through herd immunity could be problematic, according to Dr. Farchmin.

WTIP’s Joe Friedrichs spoke with Dr. Farchmin Sept. 30. The audio below is their entire conversation.