There’s Hardly a Consensus About Herd Immunity

What percentage of a population must be immune to reach COVID-19 herd immunity?
Based on a common estimate that each infected person will infect 2.5 people: 60%.
But it’s not that simple. With a naturally spreading virus like COVID-19—as opposed to a vaccine—variations in susceptibility are key to determining the herd immunity threshold. These nuances are incredibly complex and, some say, under-researched.
Epidemiologists have “been a little sloppy in thinking about herd immunity,” says Virginia Tech’s Kate Langwig, calling for more care in estimating thresholds.
But until there’s a vaccine, says Columbia University’s Jeffrey Shaman, there’s really just one path: “Do our best to prevent new cases.”

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