San Francisco and Seattle proudly claimed they had achieved herd immunity for the pandemic virus. A week ago, the mayor of Seattle announced that their city was the first to claim the title of herd immunity for a large city in the United States. In the past few days, San Francisco also reported they reached levels to qualify for herd immunity.
Seattle reported that 70% of all residents over the age of 12 had been fully vaccinated, and almost 80% have had at least one shot. San Francisco declared that their herd immunity milestone of 80% of eligible residents had received at least one dose of the vaccine, and nearly 70% were fully protected.
https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/coronavirus/in-depth/herd-immunity-and-coronavirus/art-20486808. Herd immunity is achieved when it is difficult for the virus, any virus, to infect others. People have already had the disease, or they are vaccinated. Once herd immunity is achieved, the infection rate continues to fall.
Natural infection from the virus accounts for around 10% of Americans. Most of the reporting does not include the previously infected in their totals. They report only those vaccinated. It is extremely rare for a survivor of the virus to get infected again. It happens, but it is super rare.
Fully vaccinated people can become infected again – less than 1%. And, when the vaccine fails, and the person becomes infected, they can infect others. The vaccine is preventive in that it stops the infection. A vaccinated person has a lower risk of hospitalization and severe symptoms.
One aspect not getting much press is the number of vaccine deaths. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/safety/adverse-events.html#:~:text=Reports%20of%20death%20after%20COVID,received%20a%20COVID%2D19%20vaccine. Almost 5,500 deaths have been reported within a noticeably short window from those vaccinated. The FDA and CDC do not think this is a high number, but it is grossly more than nearly every vaccine given in the past 15-20 years.
Is the vaccine causing death? Nobody knows. Could some of the people getting vaccinated been in that group of seriously challenged immune systems? Maybe.
Seattle & San Francisco
https://www.healthline.com/health-news/seattle-and-san-francisco-reach-covid-19-herd-immunity-how-they-did-it. San Francisco claims it was their priority to get the vaccine to those in need as quickly as they could. In many cities, people wanting vaccinations show up at a central location. In San Francisco, teams went to the people to deliver the vaccines.
The low level of hesitancy is also a claim used to support their success. Several states have significantly higher numbers of people who are not sure if they will get vaccinated. That hesitancy makes herd immunity more challenging to achieve.
https://covid.cdc.gov/covid-data-tracker/#vaccinations. Nearly 90% of Americans over the age of 65 have had at least one shot, and over 77% have had both vaccine doses. Over 50% of those over the age of 12 have had one shot, and over 60% have had both shots. Overall, 45% of all Americans have had their first shot, and over 53% have had both shots.
There is a lot of concern about communities achieving herd immunity and opening to those vaccinated and unvaccinated. Israel had no increase in infections when they allowed all groups to co-mingle.
https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/country/us/. The United States is still showing declining numbers of new COVID-19 cases and daily deaths, like the overall world statistics. India was a recent hot spot of infection, and their rates of infection and deaths are dropping dramatically. Brazil and Argentina have slight decreases in new infections and daily deaths, but their statistics are static or barely falling, unlike other places in the world.
The major countries in Europe all show rapidly declining new cases and daily deaths. Indonesia sees a rapid increase in new cases and daily deaths. The Philippines reached a high recently, and new cases and daily deaths declined and then remained unchanged. South Korea sees a constant level while Japan is experiencing significant downward trends.
The pandemic is well under control in some countries like Israel and Australia. However, other countries are still having difficulty containing the rapid increase in new cases. As more vaccines become available, these trends will reverse, and control will be established.
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