Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Viruses Don’t Just ‘Go Away.’ The Toll of Reaching Herd Immunity Without a COVID-19 Vaccine

Experts say it would take a long time to reach herd immunity against COVID-19 without a vaccine. AJ Watt/Getty Images


In a recent town hall with ABC News, President Donald Trump repeated claims that the coronavirus would “go away [during] a period of time” because people would develop a “herd mentality.”

He obviously meant herd immunity, or when a high enough number of people are immune to a disease so it can’t spread through the population.

However, the president’s assertion isn’t true.

Viruses don’t just “go away” without vaccines. Even measles, once eradicated from the United States, now sees pocket infections among people who aren’t vaccinated, typically because of personal beliefs.

Nonetheless, at a congressional hearing Wednesday, Sen. Rand Paul, a Republican representing Kentucky, said herd immunity was responsible for a decrease in cases in New York City, once an epicenter of the pandemic where an estimated 22 percent of its citizens have contracted the coronavirus.

Dr. Anthony FauciTrusted Source, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, scolded Rand for that assertion, as well as some of his other comments during the pandemic, including not heeding warnings from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  Read more >>