NIH Director: Coronavirus Herd Immunity “Close” in Some Regions

NIH Director: Coronavirus Herd Immunity “Close” in Some Regions
(Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Some regions on the U.S. are reaching herd immunity from COVID-19 according to National Institutes of Health Director Francis Collins.

Nearly a third of the U.S. population has been vaccinated, and over 32 million have contracted COVID, giving them some level of immunity (though there’s disagreement on how long it lasts). The 60 million is only confirmed cases however – many more who contracted it likely had likely went undetected due to them being asymptomatic. Given that there have been nearly 600k coronavirus deaths in the U.S. and we know the average death rate across all demographics is about 0.5%, that would imply 120 million actual cases (or just over a third of the population).

While there is some overlap in people who have contracted the virus and then got vaccinated against it later anyway, the share of the population with some level of immunity is now large enough in some regions to be approaching herd immunity.

As Fox News reported:

On Sunday, Colins predicted that the US could reach “herd immunity” from COVID-19 at 70 to 85 percent of people vaccinated or previously infected — and said some regions of the country are getting close to that.

Dr. Francis Collins said experts “don’t really quite know” yet the exact rate of the population that needs some form of protection to achieve herd immunity, but the benchmark is likely “up there around 70, 85 percent.”

Dr. Fauci’s estimates of herd immunity initially ranged from 60-70% before he moved the goal posts.

While stating he doesn’t believe we’re “there yet” nationally, Collins added:

“You can see some places in the country that are getting close to that with a combination of having had a lot of cases of COVID, which also provides you with some immunity, plus the vaccines,” Collins told NBC host Chuck Todd on “Meet the Press.”

Collins cites Democrat-run Michigan as an example of a region that still has work to do.

“There are other places that are way behind, and those are the places we all worry about as the next hotspot,” he said.

“You can see Michigan has gone through a terrible time in the last month. They are now getting past that, which is really encouraging. But what’s the next one? You can look at the map and say, ‘Where are vaccines lagging?’ Those are the places to worry about.

Two things seem certain; that the pandemic may soon be behind us – and that some share of the liberal population will continue wearing masks for the next decade regardless.

Matt Palumbo is the author of Dumb and Dumber: How Cuomo and de Blasio Ruined New YorkDebunk This: Shattering Liberal Lies, and Spygate


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