Through vaccination or infection, doctors predict Florida will hit herd immunity to COVID-19

The coronavirus is sweeping through unvaccinated populations across the globe, and especially in Florida

Bay Area experts believe this will be the final wave of the pandemic because, after this spike, we should hit herd immunity because the majority of people will have either been vaccinated – or infected.

Modeling done by University of South Florida researchers shows our region could be headed for a record-breaking spike in COVID-19 cases, with a peak likely in mid-September.

"The numbers that I'm seeing in terms of daily infection rates are doubling every seven days. And that's the fastest that I've seen since I started doing the calculations back in July of last year," explained Dr. Thomas Unnasch, USF College of Public Health Distinguished Professor.

It’s the same story at the state level. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, coronavirus cases topped 19,000 in early January.

"Florida today reported 13,000 cases a day. So we're getting pretty close to the peak that we saw back in January in terms of daily case numbers," said Unnasch.

That will likely continue to climb over the next four to six weeks, with unvaccinated people accounting for most of the infections.

Unnasch and other experts expect this to be the final wave of the pandemic.

"We're getting to a point where the virus is just not going to have enough people to infect that it's going to be able to maintain itself anymore," he said.

Meaning we will finally hit herd immunity.

Only about half of Floridians are fully vaccinated so the rest will get that protection by contracting the virus, but that will come with a human cost.

"And at the end of this, it's probably going to be about 90% of the people overall who are going to either have had it or be vaccinated," said. Unnasch.

With the rise in cases, comes a new surge in hospitalizations and younger people in the beds.

Since the delta variant is so contagious, waiting to get the coronavirus shot is not a good idea, Unnasch says.

"So, if you've been thinking about getting the vaccine but and putting it off, now's the time to do it," he said.

There has also been an uptick in the number of fully vaccinated people getting COVID-19 but the symptoms are minor, meaning the vaccines are working.

Getting the shot protects you from serious illness, hospitalization, and death.