The Herd Isn’t Immune?
Crazy enough, it’s been almost 18 months since the COVID-19 pandemic started. For some, it has felt like years have passed by, and for others, it feels like it happened yesterday. Nonetheless, the question everyone has been asking is ‘When will the pandemic end?’. When will the time come where we can shed our masks and go back to our lives in 2019? Some of us have already done that, but we still have much of the population wearing masks in accordance with government recommendations. The common answer to that question is the idea of herd immunity, where a certain percentage of the population being immune indirectly prevents others from being infected. Herd immunity can occur in two ways, the first being through infection. If a lot of people get infected, their bodies build natural immunity while fighting the virus. However, that isn’t really the greatest idea due to the amount of people who can die and the long-term health effects that come with it. The second option is through vaccinations, where people get their immunity through a vaccine. This is the preferred option for the world, and for COVID, medical experts have set the vaccination rate at 70 percent of the population. Unfortunately, that number has changed for the worse.
As you can see, COVID has been surging all over the world, regardless of the country’s previous handling of the virus. The key problem is the new variants that have formed during the past few months. The worst one now is the Delta variant, which is the cause of the India outbreak and the current global surge. This is known to be more infectious, and it has an easier ability to evade the vaccines, although the vaccines still have a very high efficacy rate against it. This also comes with the fact that vaccination rates are still very low. The world sits around 30 percent, and countries like the US and Israel sit at 60 percent. Some countries around the world don’t have a supply of vaccines, and countries who do also have a high level of vaccine hesitancy. All of this combines to make herd immunity impossible, with health experts predicting that the vaccination rate needs to be at 90 percent to achieve it. With more dangerous variants likely to arrive in the coming future, lockdowns are very likely, hurting our economies even more. The only chance this will end is when COVID becomes a seasonal flu, and our bodies are adapted, but who knows how long that will take. What do you think about these herd immunity projections?
I am not a financial advisor and my comments should never be taken as financial advice. Investments come with risk, so always do your research and analysis beforehand.