Story at a glance:
- The New York Times reports that the new virus variants make it harder to reach herd immunity.
- Anthony Fauci and experts say 80 percent of the U.S. has to be vaccinated.
- Thirty percent of adults don’t want to get vaccinated, making full vaccination impossible to achieve.
Experts in the public health field say herd immunization during the U.S. coronavirus pandemic is unlikely due to several factors.
The new variant of COVID-19 from the U.K. and some refusing to take precautions, such as wearing a mask or getting vaccinated, has raised the bar of achieving herd immunity, The New York Times reported.
Previously, health experts believed that between 60 and 70 percent of Americans had to be immune to the virus. However, with the new strain from Britain, B.1.1.7, 80 percent of the U.S. has to be immune to the new virus — something experts are doubtful about.
"The herd immunity threshold is not attainable — at least not in the foreseeable future, and perhaps not ever," the Times wrote. "Instead, [experts] are coming to the conclusion that rather than making a long-promised exit, the virus will most likely become a manageable threat that will continue to circulate in the United States for years to come, still causing hospitalizations and deaths but in much smaller numbers."
The British variant is about 60 percent more transmissible than the original American version. Although half of all adults have been vaccinated, 30 percent say they are reluctant or unwilling to get their shots.
President Biden's chief medical adviser, Anthony Fauci, said people should forget about what experts have said in the past, which they said depended on herd immunity, and focus on getting vaccinated or encouraging them to get vaccinated.
“People were getting confused and thinking you’re never going to get the infections down until you reach this mystical level of herd immunity, whatever that number is,” he said. “That’s why we stopped using herd immunity in the classic sense."
"I’m saying: Forget that for a second. You vaccinate enough people, the infections are going to go down.”
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