There is a growing belief among scientists that the U.S. will not achieve ‘herd immunity’ when it comes to the coronavirus and there will be new flare-ups for the foreseeable future, but becoming less of a threat to the public.
The New York Times reported that the reason is that the virus is mutating at a faster rate than vaccine jabs are being given. Rustom Antia, an evolutionary biologist at Emory University, told the paper that the virus is “unlikely to go away.”
“But we want to do all we can to check that it’s likely to become a mild infection,” he said.
Herd immunity doesn’t make any one person immune, and outbreaks can still flare up. It means that a virus is no longer easily jumping from person to person, helping to protect those who are still vulnerable to catching it.
Nobody knows for sure what the herd immunity threshold is for the coronavirus, though many experts say it’s 70% or higher.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the country’s top disease expert, said, “People were getting confused and thinking you’re never going to get the infections down until you reach this mystical level of herd immunity, whatever that number is. I’m saying: Forget that for a second. You vaccinate enough people, the infections are going to go down,”
The Associated Press contributed to this report