It's possible to reach herd immunity, then lose it. Repeatedly. Here's what you can do to help prevent that from happening
March 30, 2021. Summarized by summa-bot.
Compression ratio: 20.2%. 2 min read.
Travelers inside Terminal 5 at John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) in New York, U.S., on Friday, March 26, 2021. The TSA screened more than 1.3 million people both Friday and Sunday, setting a new high since the coronavirus outbreak devastated travel a year ago. Airlines say they believe the numbers are heading up, with more people booking flights for spring and summer, reports the Associated Press. Photographer: Angus Mordant/Bloomberg
Herd immunity does not mean Covid-19 is over. Here's why it's possible to dip in and out of herd immunity, and what you can do to maximize the chances of snuffing out Covid-19 for good.
"Herd immunity is the point where there's enough people that have been either infected or vaccinated that you basically can't sustain transmission in the community," Murray said.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, has said herd immunity might be reached if 70-85% of people are immune.
"If we vaccinate 70% of the whole US population, including kids, and then another 15-20% have already gotten (infected), I think we're pretty close to reaching a normalcy with the virus," he said.
And that's a major obstacle for reaching herd immunity, as young people can still get infected and transmit the virus.
A big reason we might never reach herd immunity is because not enough people are willing to get vaccinated.
Murray said he believes the biggest reason we can "go in and out of herd immunity" is seasonality.
It'll be easier to see when we drop out of herd immunity, Murray said, because Covid-19 numbers will start spiking again.
That's why getting vaccinated and continuing to wear masks are so important, Murray said.
"Herd immunity will not happen until there is global immunity," Rodriguez said.
Dwindling immunity -- either from previous infection or from vaccination -- could be another reason the US could slip in and out of herd immunity.
"We don't know how long immunity from natural infection lasts," Rodriguez said.
"We also don't know yet how long we're going to have immunity from being vaccinated.
Murray said he suspects immunity from vaccination will be better than immunity from getting infected.
With two potential problems on the horizon -- waning immunity and the possibility of new, more dangerous variants -- Murray said many scientists believe "people are going to end up getting vaccinated on some regular basis. "
"The more we vaccinate, the less likely we are (going to slip in and out of herd immunity) because there's going to be less replication. "
After getting vaccinated, it's important to "still follow the recommendations by the CDC, because they will know what is happening in this country as far as variants," he said.
The best possible outcome is that coronavirus "burns itself out because there are so many people vaccinated, it has nowhere to go," Rodriguez said.
By masking up, "you really have a huge effect because if there is going to be transmission, it's going to be much less than what we've seen because so many people will be vaccinated," he said.
Murray said simple steps now can reduce the chances of losing herd immunity in the future.