When COVID-19 emerged last year, governments around the world promoted hope for “herd immunity”, The promised land where the virus has largely stopped spreading Because enough people were protected against it. This now seems like a fantasy.
It was believed that the epidemic would subside and then disappear at once by a part of the population, most likely 60% to 70% have been vaccinated or have resisted a previous infection. But newer variants like delta, which are more transmissible and have been shown to avoid this protection in some cases, raise herd immunity to incredibly high levels.
Delta is causing increased outbreaks in countries like the US and UK that have already contracted the virus and are supposed to have some degree of natural immunity in addition to vaccination rates of over 50%. It also affects countries that have so far managed to keep the virus at bay. Almost exactly like Australia and China.
This month, the Infectious Diseases Society of America estimated that Delta raised the herd immunity threshold to over 80% and possibly close to 90%. Public health officials such as Anthony Fauci have sparked controversy by changing the posts of targets over the past year, which has increased the number of people who need protection before herd immunity is achieved. Meanwhile, fluctuation and vaccine supply problems mean that most countries won’t even come close to the original numbers.
“Will we get herd immunity? No, very unlikely, by definition,” said Greg Poland, director of the Vaccine Research Group at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn.
He said that even a vaccination rate of 95% would not work. “It is a melee race between the development of increasingly transmissible variants that develop the ability to evade immunity and immunization rates.
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