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Herd immunity for Americans can be an elusive goal

MONDAY, May 3, 2021 (HealthDay News) – While more than half of American adults have received at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine, many scientists and public health experts now believe that herd immunity cannot be reached in the foreseeable future.

Instead, the virus will most likely become a manageable threat that will circulate in the United States for years to come, causing hospitalizations and deaths, albeit in much smaller numbers, The New York Times reported.

How much smaller depends to a large extent on the number of people vaccinated and how the coronavirus is progressing. The virus evolves rapidly, new variants spread easily, and vaccination is proceeding too slowly for herd immunity to establish as quickly as some experts had hoped.

“The virus is unlikely to go away,” said Rustom Antia, an evolutionary biologist at Emory University in Atlanta. Time. “But we want to do everything we can to check that he’s likely to become a mild infection.”

The herd immunity campaign has convinced many Americans that it is worth getting the vaccine, so vaccine skeptics can use the latest thinking from public health experts to avoid getting vaccinated Time Noted. But vaccinations remain the key to turning the virus into a threat that can be tamed, experts have said.

Dr Anthony Fauci, the Biden administration’s senior medical adviser, acknowledged the change in mentality.

“People were getting confused and thought that you would never get the infections until you hit that mystical level of herd immunity, regardless of that number,” he told the Time. “This is why we have stopped using collective immunity in the classic sense of the term. I say forget that for a second. You vaccinate enough people, the infections will decrease.

At first, herd immunity was estimated at around 60% to 70% of the population. Most experts, including Fauci, believed the United States could hit that threshold once the vaccines were available.

But as vaccine distribution picked up its pace this spring, the target threshold increased, mainly due to the emergence of more contagious variants of the virus. The predominant variant currently circulating in the United States, called B.1.1.7 and first spotted in the United Kingdom, is about 60% more transmissible.