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Analysis: Donald Trump's answer on how the Covid-19 pandemic will end is, um, not comforting

September 16, 2020. Summarized by summa-bot.

President Donald Trump arrives for an ABC News town hall at National Constitution Center, Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2020, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

During a town hall on ABC Tuesday night, moderator George Stephanopoulos asked President Donald Trump why he said that he liked to "downplay" the threat posed by Covid-19 to the American public.

Let's get the one thing Trump got right in his answer out of the way: Yes, a vaccine would help reduce the number of people getting Covid-19.

It's not clear whether Trump was referring to herd immunity in the context of people getting Covid-19 or people getting the eventual Covid-19 vaccine.

If Trump was referring to herd immunity when it comes to the number of people getting the virus, well, then he was talking about a massive loss of human life -- well in excess of the 400,000+ American deaths that one oft-cited model is projecting by January 1, 2021.

That would mean 229 million cases and, with the death rate at 2. 96%, about 6. 8 million Americans dead from Covid-19 before herd immunity was achieved.

If Trump was referring to the acquisition of herd immunity via vaccine, his repeated assertions that the virus will disappear quickly is also wrong.

In order to achieve herd immunity, we need at least 60% of Americans to get the vaccine.

While a vaccine would undoubtedly increase -- rapidly -- the number of people with Covid-19 antibodies, it would not create herd immunity any time soon.

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