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Here's what doctors think the future of COVID-19 might look like

A Yale University study shows unvaccinated people can expect to be susceptible to Covid-19 every 16 months.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Over the past few weeks, Shelby County has seen a steady decline in Covid-19 cases which has doctors optimistic. 

The rolling day average is hovering around 100, which is a drastic change from this summer when cases were close to 1,000. 

Nearly all new cases are among unvaccinated people. 

A new study from Yale University shows unvaccinated people are likely to get the virus again in under two years. Baptist Memorial Hospital infectious disease specialist Dr. Stephen Threlkeld explained why those who are unvaccinated and have natural immunity from previous won't always be infected again after 16 months. 

 "It does say that you begin to be more susceptible to potentially that reinfection than what we thought initially and in fact that’s kind of what we’ve seen," Threlkeld said. 

Doctors continue to reinforce vaccination as the best protection against Covid-19. 

Threlkeld said now the biggest factor moving forward is new strains of the virus.  He added vaccinations are the only way to keep new strains from spreading. 

 "If there are no major variants that emerge from here on in, certainly possible, we’ll see it make a transition I think fairly quickly in the next year or two into something that’s less and less severe as the population builds up more immunity," Threlkeld said. 

Like the flu, Threlkeld said Covid-19 will likely emerge every year. 

"It’ll gradually make a transition to a less and less severe illness we hope and look more and more like the other coronaviruses that cause common colds in the interval," Threlkeld said. 

Shelby County Health Department director Dr. Michelle Taylor said Thursday we can eventually expect to take a Covid-19 shot, like a flu shot, each year to protect ourselves.