Story at a glance
- “A majority of our nation — more than 90 percent of the population — remains susceptible,” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Robert Redfield said Wednesday.
- Redfield said the coronavirus has infected as much as 15 to 20 percent of the population in some states, while only infecting less than 1 percent in others.
- The testimony comes as the U.S. topped 200,000 coronavirus deaths this week.
The United States has recorded nearly 7 million coronavirus infections and has surpassed 200,000 deaths, with public health officials warning that most of the population remains at risk of contracting COVID-19.
Trump administration health officials testified before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee on the nation’s response to the coronavirus pandemic Wednesday.
During the hearing, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Robert Redfield said a majority of Americans remain susceptible to the coronavirus.
“CDC is in the process of a very large, sequential study across the entire United States, measuring serology,” Redfield said. “The preliminary results on the first round show that a majority of our nation — more than 90 percent of the population — remains susceptible.”
“It varies in different geographic parts from states that have less than one percent with evidence of previous infection, to some that have more than 15, 20 and one as high as 24 percent,” he said. “We’ll have that finalized and probably published in the next week or so.”
NEW: CDC Director Redfield at Senate hearing:
“A majority of our nation, more than 90% of the population, remain susceptible” to coronavirus. pic.twitter.com/PGSuuQxTAC
— MSNBC (@MSNBC) September 23, 2020
The comments from the health official put the feasibility of soon achieving herd immunity without a vaccine into greater doubt. Herd immunity is the point at which enough people in a population are immune to a disease or virus so that if a new infection is introduced it will not spread rapidly, or at all.
Herd immunity occurs through infection or vaccination. If achieved through infection, it requires a large proportion of a population to get infected, and they would need to be protected against future infection by long-lasting immunity.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has previously said that 60 to 80 percent of the population needs to be vaccinated or have natural antibodies to achieve herd immunity. The WHO and other public health officials, including Anthony Fauci, have warned attempting to achieve herd immunity without a vaccine and allowing the virus to spread unchecked would result in a “staggering death toll” and overwhelm hospitals.
BREAKING NEWS ABOUT THE CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC IN AMERICA