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Opinion: The danger of a giant Covid belly flop

April 8, 2021. Summarized by summa-bot.

Compression ratio: 22.9%. 1 min read.

Kent Sepkowitz writes about the US's goal of achieving herd immunity -- the concept that once a critical mass of people are immunized against Covid-19, the whole population will be protected.

With more and more vaccination, the likelihood that a non-immune person will come in contact with an infected person is progressively reduced until -- poof -- the risk of catching the infection is almost gone (though never zero).

"Vc" is the proportion of people who must be vaccinated to protect the rest of the herd, "R0," pronounced R-naught, is an estimate of the number of secondary cases from the original infected person and "E" represents effectiveness of a given vaccine against transmission.

Pandemics and health care are decidedly more complex, which has led all to wonder: what is the magic number of people we need to vaccinate so we can all forget these disastrous last 14 months?

Each has an impact on risk of transmission (and therefore the number of immune people needed to protect the rest of the "herd").

For example, San Diego and Minneapolis offer very different climates for viral growth, yet national herd immunity will be rolled into a single number.

Stated more simply, the herd likely is protected at a very different percent of vaccinated people in an Orthodox Jewish community in San Diego where people live near the school and walk to most activities compared to a gated community in a Minneapolis suburb where many prefer to keep to themselves.

and, therefore, a higher R-naught will require, among other things, a higher level of vaccination to designate the herd as sufficiently immune.

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