Public health experts and researchers say they do not believe herd immunity can be achieved in the near future due to declining COVID-19 vaccination rates, The New York Times reports.
According to experts who spoke to the Times, coronavirus is more likely to become a constant but manageable threat in the United States for several more years. New COVID-19 strains are reportedly also developing too fast for herd immunity to be reasonably expected.
“The virus is unlikely to disappear,”
Anthony FauciAnthony FauciFauci vs. Rogan: White House works to prevent misinformation Nepalese hospitals run out of beds as coronavirus outbreaks in India spill over border Fauci says COVID-19 crisis ‘like a war’ as India tops 400,000 cases MORE, the country’s largest expert on infectious diseases and President BidenJoe BidenBrander, smoke, floods, droughts, storms, heat: America needs a climate stability strategy Late. Susan Collins pushes 28 percent corporate tax rate back, saying jobs would be lost Biden financial adviser hits infrastructure plan as necessary investment MORE‘s top medical adviser, acknowledged a shift in thinking from experts who once thought it was possible to obtain herd immunity in the summer.
“People got confused and thought you’ll never get the infections down until you reach this mysterious level of herd immunity no matter what the number,” Fauci told the Times, adding that this was why he had stopped using the term “crew immunity. “
I say: Forget it for a moment. You vaccinate enough people, the infections will go down, ”he said.
Harvard University epidemiologist Marc Lipsitch told the newspaper that vaccination is still the key to fighting the pandemic.
A high level of immunity “is not like winning a race,” Lipsitch said. “You must then give it. You must continue to vaccinate to stay above this threshold.”
Originally, public health experts like Fauci had said that herd immunity could be achieved by immunizing about 70 percent of the population. However, as new strains such as B.1.1.7 were first discovered in the United Kingdom began to grow, the number was raised to around 80 or possibly even 90 per cent.
If herd immunity cannot be achieved, the main goal will be to lower the number of hospitalizations and deaths, experts told the Times, focusing on the most vulnerable populations.
“What we at least want to do is get to a point where we just have really sporadic little flares,” Carl Bergstrom, an evolutionary biologist at the University of Washington, told the newspaper. “It would be a very sensible goal in this country where we have an excellent vaccine and the ability to deliver it.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 56 percent of American adults have received at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine, and more than 40 percent are fully immunized.