Public health experts and scientists say they do not believe herd immunity will be attainable in the foreseeable future as COVID-19 vaccination rates drop, The New York Times. report.
According to experts speaking to the Times, the coronavirus is likely to become a constant threat. But can be managed in the US for years to come. It was also reported that the new strain of COVID-19 developed faster than reasonably expected herd immunity.
“Viruses are unlikely to go away,”; Rustom Antia, an evolutionary biologist at Emory University, told the newspaper, “but we want to do everything we can to determine if it is likely to become a mild infection.”
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“People get confused and think you can never get infected until you reach the immunity level of any mysterious herd,” Fauci told the Times, adding why he stopped using the term. Herd immunity “
“I’m saying: forget about that for a second. You vaccinate enough people, the infection is reduced, ”he said.
Harvard University epidemiologist Marc Lipsitch told the newspaper that vaccination remains the key to fighting the epidemic.
High levels of immunity “It’s not like winning a competition,” Lipsitch said. “Then you have to feed it, you have to get vaccinated above that threshold.”
Initially, public health experts such as Fauci said herd immunity can be achieved by vaccinating about 70 percent of the population. However, as new strains such as B.1.1.7 first detected in the UK began to increase, that number rose to about 80 or possibly 90 percent.
If herd immunity cannot be achieved, the most important goal is to reduce hospitalization and mortality rates, experts told the Times, focusing on the most vulnerable populations.
“What we want at the very least is to get to a point where we have very little sporadic flashes,” Carl Bergstrom, an evolutionary biologist at the University of Washington, told the paper. “That would be a very reasonable goal in this country where we have a very good vaccine and deliver it.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 56 percent of U.S. adults have received at least one coronavirus vaccine, and more than 40 percent are fully vaccinated.