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Lexington doctor discusses new COVID-19 information as the pandemic continues

Published: Nov. 8, 2020 at 1:41 PM EST
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - It’s been eight months since the start of the pandemic. Doctors and researchers have learned a lot since then, and some information has even changed.

Dr. Mark Dougherty is an infectious disease specialist and epidemiologist at Baptist Health Lexington. He says more people are in the hospital for COVID-19 complications, but fewer patients are in the ICU.

“In April and in the early part of May we were concerned that we were going to run out of ventilators. We were struggling to make sure we had enough capability for the critically ill patients, but I do not think we’re going to run out of ventilators at this point,” he said.

Dougherty says part of that is because treatment has gotten better in the last eight months since the pandemic began. In that time, they’ve also learned that people lose antibodies in just a few months after having the virus.

“Herd immunity through natural infection is an illusion and it’s not going to happen,” he said firmly. “It’s not like measles, it’s not like chickenpox. Most of those you can get over and then you don’t generally get them back again.”

He warns that younger people with mild to no symptoms lose those antibodies even quicker. It’s why he’s worried about the upcoming winter season as students head home for the holidays and families come together.

Dougherty says personally, he’s not celebrating Thanksgiving with his large family this year. He’s hoping people will also play their part with masks and social distancing, so life will return to normal. “I’m tired of not being able to see my grandchildren, I’m tired of not being able to see my mom. We need to get over this and past it!” he said.

UK Hospital and Baptist Health Lexington are part of a COVID-19 phase three clinical trial. People can register on stopcovidky.com

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