Meritus Health Leaders Publish Article on Herd Immunity for COVID-19

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Maulik S. Joshi, Dr.P.H., president & CEO of Meritus Health, and Aaron E. George, D.O., associate chief medical officer, authored an article just published in the NEJM Catalyst from NEJM Group on its digital platform at Titled “You Need a Herd for Herd Immunity,” the commentary describes in detail how the health system anticipated the impact of COVID-19 and was able to “flatten the curve.”

“Many Americans live in communities like our own, outside of the major metropolitan areas where COVID-19 news is covered,” says George. “Little has been studied in communities like ours. Through aggressive testing and a unified approach with Washington County Health Department, we have been able to test more than 25,000 residents in our community and have found a COVID-19 positive rate of less than 5%. Our low prevalence rate demonstrates that herd immunity is far from reality.”

“Herd immunity” is defined as what occurs when enough people become immune to a disease to make its spread unlikely. As a result, the entire community is protected.

“We must continue to track and prepare for future peaks and surges until a vaccine is developed and deployed,” explains George. This is our vital lever for health. Until that point, we are buying time.”

The full article is available online at

Joshi has been with Meritus Health since the fall of 2019. He holds both a doctorate in public health and a master’s degree in health services administration from the University of Michigan. George started his career with Meritus Health in 2018, as the assistant program director and director of medical education for the new Meritus Family Medicine Residency Program. He continues his work there, while now also supporting the interim chief medical officer with physician leadership in the organization. George received his medical degree from the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine in Pa., and completed his residency in family medicine at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, N.C.