Rapidly declining U.S. Covid infections, hospitalizations, and deaths are removing the urgency to vaccinate the nation. Vaccine demand is falling just as the U.S. is ramping up production of the vaccine. The nation is expected to have 200 million doses stockpiled before the 4th of July.
But will there be anyone left to vaccinate?
As of today, about 30 percent of the country has been fully vaccinated. Forty-three percent have received at least one dose of the Moderna or Pfizer two-dose treatment. And it’s having an effect.
With the U.S. recently averaging at least 50,000 new daily cases, the pandemic is far from over. But the U.S. is nearing a nationwide benchmark of having 40% of adults fully vaccinated, which many public-health experts call an important threshold where vaccinations gain an upper hand over the coronavirus, based on the experience from further-along nations such as Israel.
“When you get to somewhere between 40 and 50%, I believe you’re going to start seeing real change, the start of a precipitous drop in cases,” said Anthony Fauci, the top U.S. infectious-disease expert, in an interview.
Israel reported zero deaths for the first time during the pandemic for the first time 5 days ago. About 58 percent of the country has received both doses of the vaccine, making Israel the world leader in vaccinations.
In early March, new cases in Israel began a steep decline—after a short spike at the end of February—around the same time that the fully vaccinated portion of the population passed 40%. On Feb. 27, the seven-day rolling average of new confirmed cases in Israel hit 4,117, according to Our World in Data, an Oxford University project that tracks the pandemic. By April 22, when the fully vaccinated level reached 58%, Israel was averaging just 129 new daily cases.
“At somewhere between 35% and 50% vaccinated, you will see a plateau and then a decline in new cases” in the U.S., said Eyal Leshem, director of the Center for Travel Medicine and Tropical Diseases at Israel’s Sheba Medical Center.
The WHO says that a nation will get “herd immunity” when 65-70 percent of the people have been inoculated. Other experts believe the number is closer to 50 percent when combined with people already infected. In truth, no one is sure.
What is clear is that demand for the vaccine is falling. And the reason for that is that the number of people infected on a daily basis is falling. There is no urgency to get vaccinated if the danger is receding.
There are still 2.7 million people getting vaccinated every day, down from 3 million last week. But at the current rate, the U.S. won’t technically achieve herd immunity until the end of August.
There will be panic from government officials when cases spike for a few days, with public health workers demanding we put our masks back on and shut down the country again. But the people have made it clear that they’re in control and will do what they want to do and damn the government.
The people have already achieved “herd immunity” from government edicts. It’s time we start acting like it.
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