Will the US Ever Achieve Herd Immunity

I was looking at the data over at this tracker, which has a number of interesting statistics about the US and COVID vaccinations. It was a rather sad reading exercise to say the least.

From the general trends, I really have to wonder if the US will even see 60% of the population getting both doses? Experts have estimated that we need somewhere around 70-85% of the entire population vaccinated in order to achieve herd immunity. The pace of vaccinations has begun to stagnate recently and what started out as an incredible start is now slowing to a trickle. Without something to step out the rate at which people are vaccinated I fear that the US will see a crippling wave of delta variant infections that will upend the apple cart. The chaos that ripped through India in previous months stands ready to cause similar damage to the United States if they don’t get their act together and work hard to immunize their population.

I also read today that Florida accounts for 20% of all new COVID infections happening in the United States.

And really, is it any surprise that Republican states have some of the lowest rates of vaccination, while strong Democratic states lead the charge for vaccinations? I also just saw today that modern Republican’s continue to lose confidence in science, so it’s not too surprising that their ignorance is leading them away from things that will actually protect them from this virus.

There has been a considerable effort by Republicans to undermine the strategy of getting people vaccinated, even though the very people undermining this strategy have almost certainly been vaccinated themselves. They’re happy to use the masses as a weapon, even if it means that people die unnecessarily, just so long as there is some political gain from it.

Sadly, the United States appears to be a shit-show when it comes to COVID. The proverbial asylum is being run by the inmates and they don’t (collectively) care if the building burns down around them. They’ve got their freedom (free dumb) and they’re not scared of a little virus that drowns you in your own phlegm. They will not comply.

I think, at this point, the only way the US ever is going to achieve herd immunity is by people getting sick, and probably millions more deaths as a consequence. It’s quite sad considering it doesn’t have to be this way.

13 thoughts on “Will the US Ever Achieve Herd Immunity”

  1. Dear Herald,

    Vaccine hesitancy is one of the many symptoms of a dysfunctional system plagued by numerous educational, social, cultural, political, economic and environmental issues. It is all quite a big mess in danger of getting bigger still. Even a global pandemic still cannot unite folks in the USA and wake them up. Perhaps it will take an even bigger crisis to do so, such as a series of climate change disasters.

    The best and most dedicated amongst the likes of us are also inveterate teachers of everlasting, transcendental wisdom to save humans from themselves, their self-interests and their destructive ways. I often even have to coin new words to do so. The latest example is my neologism “Viral Falsity“, which you can see in my extensive and analytical post entitled “💬 Misquotation Pandemic and Disinformation Polemic: 🧠 Mind Pollution by Viral Falsity 🦠“.

    In this said post, I have attempted to unpack as much as I can the core issues and fundamental causes that have plagued many folks, whether or not they are victims or perpetrators. I would like to inform you that I am still expanding this extensive and highly analytical post, which now contains some new, complex and sophisticated analyses.

    Wishing you a happy mid-July and a pleasant summer!

    Yours sincerely,
    SoundEagle

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I see vaccine hesitancy as just another symptom of the base problem that I tried to highlight in my I Think Asimov was Right post. A staggering combination of willful ignorance, fear, along with distrust that has been sown by the media and politicians for power and money, have eroded society to the point where it’s almost ready to tip over.

      I wish I knew how to fix the problem quickly. Unfortunately it’s taken us decades to get into this mess and it’s going to take decades to get out of it.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you for your prompt reply. I can’t agree with you more, Herald. These problems are truly deep-seated.

        When you next visit my said post that has been further improved and expanded, I would love to know what you think of it and look forward to reading your piquant thoughts and crystalized wisdom distilled into a brilliant comment(ary), whose potency might indeed impress upon my intellect so much that it could potentially be immortalized as a quotation in the post proper. As you can see in the post, a handful of the numerous quotations there are sourced directly from the excellent comments in the comment section of the post.

        Yours sincerely,
        SoundEagle

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Herald, this … They’re happy to use the masses as a weapon is spot-on! To the Repukes, it’s much more important to convince people THEIR outlook is by far the best one — and they will go to whatever lengths they must to accomplish this.

    And unfortunately, as related to the virus and vaccines, they do this at the expense of human lives.

    Speaking of variants, apparently there is a NEW one making itself known (the Lambda) in Peru and spreading to other So. American countries as well … and even a few cases in U.S.

    Seems to me things are FAR from over …

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I’ve heard little bits about this new Lambda variant. Hopefully the current vaccines are still effective against it. It only adds to the challenges that will be faced by the time the Mid-Terms arrive.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. “To the Repukes, it’s much more important to convince people THEIR outlook is by far the best one — and they will go to whatever lengths they must to accomplish this. “

      It’s just another, yet incredibly destructive, way to try and “own the libs.”

      Liked by 1 person

  3. When I think about the numbers we need for herd immunity in the US, I look at the total number vaccinated, but then I remember that we’ve had over 30 million people who have already had it and recovered, so we’d need to add those numbers in too. I fear that our reaching herd immunity, if we ever do, is going to have to be by a combination of reasonable people being vaccinated and antivaxxers getting sick.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. If we consider the additional people who were infected, and make some reasonable assumptions:
      1. That those who were infected were only infected once
      2. Those who were confirmed as infected do not also get vaccinated
      3. Those who were infected have a level of immunity comparable to full vaccinations

      There are currently around 34 million confirmed infections, which represents around 10% of the US population. That would bring the number of effectively fully vaccinated up to almost 60%. There are, of course, an unknown number of people who have been infected but were never tested and confirmed. Some portion of these people would have been vaccinated as well, so it becomes difficult to gauge just what impact they would have. We’re start getting close to the level of herd immunity we need, but we’re still far enough away that we’re likely to see some additional waves of outbreak, most likely in strong Republican states.

      The sad part is that there are at least 34 million people in the US who could be suffering from the long lasting impacts of their infections that those who have been vaccinated will not experience. Vaccinations give most or all of the immunity that infection brings without the worst effects of the disease itself.

      The situation is still bad, but not as depressing as before. Much will depend on what new variants arise and what kinds of protection that tvaccinations and previous infections provide.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. No matter the statistics nor the science — there are still a SH__-load of people that are so selfishly oriented that they refuse to take the health and welfare of others into account.

        And this goes even beyond the virus.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Yes, and sadly we’ve known that right from the beginning of this pandemic. The refusal to wear masks, the refusal to try to isolate, and the refusal to get vaccinated. All they care about is their rights, but care nothing about the other side – social responsibility. It’s all about “muh-rights.”

          I’m willing to bet some serious donuts that these are the same people that think putting more guns into people’s hands is going to help reduce gun violence.

          Liked by 1 person

  4. An addendum to put post. According to this article herd immunity is going to be much harder to achieve because of the Delta variant. The Delta variant has some resistance to the current vaccines, and has a much higher R0. If we need 85%+ to achieve herd immunity I don’t think this is achievable in countries like the US and Canada by just vaccinating.

    Like

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