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Infectious Disease Expert Available to Comment on Delta Variant and Herd Immunity

Dr. Pia MacDonald can also provide insight on the trajectory of COVID-19

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. — Pia MacDonald, MPH, Ph.D., an infectious disease epidemiologist at RTI International, a nonprofit research institute, is available for media interviews on the future trajectory of the COVID-19 pandemic, the importance of vaccinations, and the impact of Delta variant and other virus variants on reaching herd immunity moving into the fall. She can also comment on the current trajectory of the pandemic, public health preparedness, global health security and future efforts to contain outbreaks and pandemics.

As states continue to distribute the COVID-19 vaccine and conversations about whether booster shots will be needed are beginning, it is important to note that cases are still dramatically rising across certain parts of the country and within specific communities. Announced earlier today by the CDC, public health measures such as masking indoors, should continue in areas where the virus is surging and in schools – even after individuals are vaccinated.

Dr. MacDonald can provide insight on returning to ‘normal’ life post vaccination and what that might look like moving into the fall and winter. She can also speak to the importance of tracking infections locally, testing, and getting individuals vaccinated, especially those who are hesitant.

Throughout the course of the pandemic, Dr. MacDonald has reiterated in media interviews that successfully controlling this pandemic in our communities across the U.S. requires a multipronged approach. The vaccine is extremely helpful in mitigating death and severe disease from this infection, but it is not the  ‘silver bullet’ alone to eliminating COVID-19.

In her current role at RTI, Dr. MacDonald works on emerging infectious diseases and strengthening capacity to prevent, detect and respond to disease outbreaks domestically and globally. She served as an Epidemic Intelligence Service Officer within the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and led projects funded by the CDC, NIH, and the North Carolina Division of Public Health. 

To set up an interview with Dr. MacDonald, contact news@rti.org.