Herd Mentality

Johns Hopkins Professor: US Will Hit COVID Herd Immunity by April

He says COVID will be "mostly gone" in a few months — but his peers aren’t convinced.

Feb 20 / Tony Tran
Futurism
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COVID-19 will be “mostly gone” by April, according to a Johns Hopkins professor. 

Dr. Marty Makary, a researcher at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, points to several reasons to be hopeful in a new op-ed for The Wall Street Journal.

He believes a combination of natural immunity from previous infection, rising vaccination rates, and a dramatic drop in cases mean America will reach herd immunity by April. In fact, Makary estimates that as many as 55 percent of Americans already have immunity to COVID. 

“There is reason to think the country is racing toward an extremely low level of infection,” Makary wrote. “As more people have been infected, most of whom have mild or no symptoms, there are fewer Americans left to be infected. At the current trajectory, I expect COVID will be mostly gone by April, allowing Americans to resume normal life.”

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Other experts believe things are substantially more complicated. The New York Times reports that according to a model recently released by public health data group PHICOR, the US could reach herd immunity by April if the country dramatically increases the rate of vaccinations to 5 million shots per day. That would be a massive increase from its current rate of about 1.7 million shots per day. 

“There are still key pieces of missing information that could substantially affect what may happen to the pandemic over the ensuing months,” Dr. Bruce Y. Lee, who leads research at PHICOR, told the Times. “Should many people lose immunity over the next several months after having recovered from infections, that would make many more people susceptible to the virus again.”

Additional variables include whether or not we relax social distancing measures, as well as the impact of new deadlier variants of the coronavirus as they spread throughout the US. 

Still, Makary’s prediction is a reason to be hopeful — but at the same time, it’s crucial we remain careful and take precautions against the spread of COVID. That means wearing masks, maintaining social distancing, and avoiding insurrectionist super spreader events

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