Health expert pushes back on Texas governor’s herd immunity claim
A leading public health expert is swatting down a claim from Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) that his state will soon reach herd immunity from the coronavirus.
“We absolutely are not declaring victory at this time. We remain very vigilant and guarded and proactive in our response, but there is simple math behind the reason why still we continue to have success,” Abbott said on “Fox News Sunday,” adding later that “very simply, it’s a whole lot more difficult for COVID-19 to be spreading to other people in the state of Texas.”
“I don’t know what herd immunity is, but when you add that to the people who have immunity, it looks like it could be very close to herd immunity,” Abbott added.
But Michael Osterholm, an epidemiologist and director of the University of Minnesota’s Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy who advised President Biden’s coronavirus team, cast doubt on Abbott’s estimation.
“There is no way on God’s green earth that Texas is anywhere even close to herd immunity,” Osterholm told The New York Times. “Look no further than Michigan and Minnesota, which have much higher rates of vaccination than Texas. And we’re already seeing widespread transmission.”
“With the medical advancements of vaccines and antibody therapeutic drugs, Texas now has the tools to protect Texans from the virus,” Abbott said when he lifted the mandate in early March.
“We must now do more to restore livelihoods and normalcy for Texans by opening Texas 100 percent. Make no mistake, COVID-19 has not disappeared, but it is clear from the recoveries, vaccinations, reduced hospitalizations, and safe practices that Texans are using that state mandates are no longer needed.”
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