I use the word, free, liberally in this title. An opinion piece from the Wall Street Journal yesterday suggests that herd immunity could be achieved by April 2021. I do not know. My best guess is still late summer.
Herd Immunity by April
https://www.newsmax.com/us/covid-herd-immunity-vaccine-johns-hopkins/2021/02/19/id/1010756/ If the pandemic is under control in another 70 days or so, will that reduce the current change behavior? Will people stop social distancing or wearing face masks when they pay their federal taxes? Probably not. I believe there will be skepticism remaining for many more months.
The current policy of providing older Americans with the coronavirus vaccines first is not supporting herd immunity sooner. Viruses spread more quickly in the work-a-day world, not in protected communities. Americans under 40 years of age should be getting the vaccine before older Americans. Why? Because this group of people is not spreading the virus compared to those decades younger.
Regardless, part of this prediction’s argument is the recent downward trend in daily doses since the first of the year. When the new COVID-19 case rate drops 77% in six weeks, the virus’s natural immunity is underestimated. Current antigen tests do not measure specific immune cells to indicate natural immunity. Current thinking is that around 50% of Americans have innate immunity today.
https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/country/us/ Six weeks ago, nearly 310,000 new cases of COVID-19 a day were reported. The seven-day rolling average yesterday was just over 70,000 new coronavirus cases, about the same level as of late October 2020. Is the cause of this reduction in new cases natural immunity?
I do not think anyone can be confident. Christmas vacations ended, and the last four weeks of winter weather have kept social distancing near record lows. The rate of decline in new cases is staggering, however. Daily deaths lag a couple of weeks from recent cases. The steepness of drop of daily deaths is more pronounced than ever before and equal to late November and early December. Worldwide statistics on recent cases and daily deaths mirror the United States.
https://www.webmd.com/lung/what-is-herd-immunity#1 Herd immunity is achieved when enough people become immune to disease so it cannot spread. The reproduction number, R0, estimates the average number of people an individual with a disease can spread. The higher the R0 number, the faster the disease infects others.
COVID-19 has an R0 of between 2 and 3. One person can infect two or three others. To halt the virus’s transmission, one-half to two-thirds of a population must be immune via natural immunity from having had the virus or through vaccinations.
R0 for Houston, Texas
https://www.tmc.edu/coronavirus-updates/effective-reproduction-rate-for-harris-county/ One of the resources I use is the Texas Medical Center. The R0 for Houston is 0.81 this week. An R0 of less than 1.0 for 14 consecutive days indicates community control. Houston’s R0 has been below 1.0 for the past seventeen days. It is an indication that the virus is not spreading as rapidly as it did a few months ago.
Sixty million vaccinations have been distributed, with over 40 million people receiving one dose and the remainder having two doses. Three weeks ago, these numbers were half. The trend line is stable with two companies providing vaccines. Shortly Novavax, AstraZeneca, and Johnson & Johnson’s vaccines will be available.
Nearly 30 million Americans have contracted COVID-19, with a bit over one-half million deaths attributed to the virus. Two-thirds of Americans have recovered, and another one-third are active cases with over a 97% survival rate. Thirty million Americans have natural immunity from surviving the virus and 40 million have had the first of two doses of vaccine. That is 70 million out of 330 million living in the United States. When do we reach 200,000 Americans to attain herd immunity? Is April 2021 realistic?
I think April is optimistic, but the middle to end of summer is realistic.
Live Longer & Enjoy Life! – Red O’Laughlin – RedOLaughlin.com
It’s interesting that you blog about this, I recently had a similar discussion with a neighbor. I, too, believe that the younger workforce should be vaccinated first due to their likelihood of close proximity at work. Robin and I, retired, are able to stay away from others, so we’ll be okay. To your point, many of the USG Civil Servants have received their first shots, so it appears that the DOD is in agreement with your thoughts.