As more and more Americans roll up their sleeves, the term we keep hearing seems closer to reach: herd immunity.
It’s the moment when we have reached more people immune from COVID-19 than susceptible to infection. It’s been touted as the moment when everything goes back to normal. But experts say we’re not as close to achieving it as we might think.
“It's not like a light switch. You have herd immunity and suddenly magically COVID is gone,” Dr. Tom Frieden, President/CEO at Resolve to Save Lives and the Former CDC Director under President Obama said on this week’s episode of Track the Vax. “The way immunity works is the more we build up in the population. The fewer outbreaks there will be.”
Frieden explains that even as more Americans, including children, are vaccinated there will likely still be pockets of disease throughout different communities and ideologies.
“We're not about to eradicate COVID, it's going to be with us for the indefinite future. We're going to have to learn to live with it and help people not die from it,” he told host Serena Marshall.
Explaining that instead of herd immunity, it is possible we see COVID move into something like a 'risk alert level.'
"Think of a four-level system, red, orange, yellow, green. And when it's raining COVID out, you may want to wear a mask on the subway when it's not, you probably don't need to, unless you have an underlying condition that may make you more susceptible to severe illness," he said.
In this episode of Track the Vax you’ll also learn:
- What a ‘risk level assessment’ may look like.
- How variants play into the calculation.
- And the differences between vaccinated immunity and innate immunity in reaching community protection.