90 Miles From Tyranny : How Close Is US to Herd Immunity for COVID-19? What the Numbers Show

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Tuesday, April 28, 2020

How Close Is US to Herd Immunity for COVID-19? What the Numbers Show

There has been considerable interest lately in Sweden’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to Sweden’s top epidemiologist, Dr. Anders Tegnell, Sweden is expected to achieve herd immunity in several weeks’ time.

Sweden pursued a much more relaxed mitigation strategy, practicing social distancing while avoiding a national lockdown, and approximately 20% of Swedes may have been infected and may now be immune to the virus.

In these trying times, we must turn to the greatest document in the history of the world to promise freedom and opportunity to its citizens for guidance. Find out more now >>

Herd immunity is the point at which a large enough percentage of the population is immune to a disease that new cases are not likely to spread to others.

In other words, it’s when there are enough people who are immune to the disease that the disease has nowhere to go and eventually dies off. Therefore, every person who has been infected and recovered, or infected and remained asymptomatic, will help contribute to herd immunity.

But how close are we to achieving this? Although several studies are suggesting that there are far more people with antibodies to the virus than we know of, it’s not clear that we are very close.

An earlier study of pregnant women found that 29 out of 33 women who tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 were asymptomatic at the time of the test, and 26 of them never developed any symptoms at all. That finding suggests that for every pregnant woman with symptomatic COVID-19, there were seven who were infected with the virus, but never developed the disease.

That also suggests that for every woman with symptomatic COVID-19, there may be up to four other women who were infected, but don’t show symptoms.

The study is difficult to generalize because the sample was small and because the study took place in New York City, where incidences are expected to be very high. Furthermore, women seem to be less susceptible to the COVID-19 disease, which would cause the numbers to overestimate the asymptomatic prevalence of SARS-CoV-2.

To get a better idea, the state of New York has been conducting antibody tests and announced preliminary results on April 23, which found that 13.9% of New York residents had the virus and recovered.

In New York City, that rate was up to 21.2%. In upstate New York, away from the metropolitan centers, the rate was much lower at 3.6%.

If those numbers bear out, approximately 2.6 million people have been infected in the state, including 1.7 million people in New York City.

As of this writing, the state’s health department is reporting that it has had 288,045 positive test results. Initial testing has focused on symptomatic patients, so the majority of...

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