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Coronavirus Herd Immunity, a Moving Target

There are too many unanswered questions remain for researchers to reach definitive conclusions about Covid-19 herd immunity, according to a Government Accountability Office report.

Typically, herd immunity is achieved when 70% to 90% of the population is immune through natural infection or vaccination. Even if herd immunity is achieved, it might not be equal across the population, so outbreaks could still occur. The “herd immunity threshold” refers to the percentage of the population that needs to become immune to an infectious disease so that people without immunity are safe because they aren’t likely to come into contact with an infected person.

To determine this threshold, researchers must know how contagious the disease is. This requires figuring out how many people an infected person can infect. Scientists have estimated how contagious COVID-19 is, but uncertainties about such factors as the accuracy of testing and how long immunity lasts make this calculation difficult.

Read this article from the Journal of the American Medical Association

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Dr. Justin Groode | Patient Advocate Alliance LLC

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