Yes, we rarely win when we play defense, however, defense is the right option when playing against a virus.

Hockey Hall of Famer Wayne Gretzky is quoted as saying, “You miss 100 percent of the shots you don’t take.” He was referring to the sport of hockey. It is true of any aspect of our lives. We miss what we do not do. There is one thing to try and fail. It is another thing never to try.

Wayne Gretzky’s quote came to me earlier today when I was having a conversation with a friend about the headlines about nearly 100% of the people who are not vaccinated are currently the ones catching the virus.

Dah vaccinated people are mostly protected, and less than one percent of them become infected. Therefore, only unvaccinated people are susceptible. is one link on this topic. is another. This link is on the same subject –

Vaccination Status and The first thing that came to my mind when seeing a headline about the unvaccinated becoming infected is – what is new? Only unvaccinated people will become infected. Is this a ploy to get more people vaccinated? Maybe.

Roughly 55% of Americans have had one vaccine shot. During July, the uptick of people fully vaccinated has risen about one percent to the current level of 47%. Those people will most likely get their second vaccine shot within the next 30 days.

Not being reported is that 98% of the nearly 30 million survivors of the virus are not being added to the totals. If the surviving numbers were added, the results would be closer to 57% of Americans are fully protected, and 65% of Americans have some level of protection.

Sixty-five percent is the threshold for herd immunity, according to early statistics from the CDC. However, the most recent statistics indicate that America needs 85% of people fully protected to achieve herd immunity.

However, who are the most vulnerable to COVID-19? The older adult population is currently nearly 80% vaccinated and almost 90% fully protected with two shots. That implies that those over 65 years of age are in good shape to withstand the viral invasion.

Breaking down America into age groups – those over 18 years of age are near 69% with complete protection from two shots and over 77% with one shot. Add the ten percent surviving coronavirus, and you have the 85% threshold achieved already. However, that is not how numbers are reported. You must add in those under 18 years of age.

What about those over the age of 12 who have recently been granted the option to get vaccinated? The numbers, excluding those under 12, are 56% fully vaccinated and 65% having had one vaccine shot. These numbers are probably more reflective of the actual status of America and the virus. Adding survivors and this reflection appear to be 66% fully protected and 75% with partial protection.

The Risk About 15,000 new cases of COVID-19 are reported daily based on the average daily totals in July. The trend line for new cases is incrementally rising, but only by a few hundred rather than the thousands, we saw months ago. The daily death trend is continuing downward with an average of a couple hundred each day.

Given an average of 15,000 new cases a day –comprised of unvaccinated people – then we would expect 150,000 new cases in ten days and nearly a half-million new cases in a month. The last time we had 15,000 new coronavirus cases daily was at the end of March 2020. However, the vaccination rate has stabilized at around 500,000 doses/day. So a half-million potential new cases a month combined with a half-million vaccines given out daily.

The new case trend skyrocketed after that. Between 75-85% of the population have some level of protection, and it is not expected to climb out of control statistically speaking wildly. However, there are that many people who can make the situation worse.

Yes, people will continue to become infected, and a small percentage of people will die. But it is far better in July of 2021 than in July 2020, when nearly 70,000 people were dying every day from COVID-19. Two-hundred and some odd today in the daily death column versus 69,000+ daily one year ago.

The Variant Enigma and Yes, just when you thought it was safe to go back into the water, the headlines are telling us that coronavirus variants are going to rush in and annihilate us. This variant is more transmissible or more dangerous. Therefore, the hospitals should stand by for new influxes of seriously ill COVID-19 cases that may swamp the hospital’s ability to address other medical problems.

This new onslaught of whatever variant will cut a wide slice through the unvaccinated – stand by – it is coming – believe us! How believable is this? Are variants that deadly? Can they infect the vaccinated population? Pfizer and others, including our government, tell us that vaccinated people have little to worry about coronavirus variants.

Yet, in the same articles, the variants are responsible for making herd immunity almost unachievable. Over a year ago, the CDC expected herd immunity to be achieved when the population was vaccinated at the 60-70% level. Instead, these same experts tell us that the new coronavirus variants changed the herd immunity threshold to 85%.

Herd Immunity
We know that herd immunity is calculated using equation one minus one over the basic reproduction number (R0). The basic reproduction number is calculated based on initial infection rates because no one is protected.

Once protective measures are in place (vaccinations, masks, social distancing, hand washing, etc.), the basic reproduction number becomes the effective reproduction rate (Rt), which measures the likelihood of an unprotected person catching a disease. When the Rt is below 1.0, the virus will eventually die away. The basic reproduction number for COVID-19 was set between 2.0 and 5.0. Therefore, herd immunity was calculated to be around 65%.

The basic reproduction rate is now less than one in the Houston metropolitan area and has been for over two weeks. Does that mean the virus is under control in Houston? Basically, but any time a large group of people gets together, anything can happen.

A church group recently met in Galveston, Texas, for a youth event with nearly 500 people in attendance. More than 125 new cases of COVID-19 were confirmed, with three of them being the delta variant (B.1.617/2) which accounts for almost 25% of new infections in the United States. It is the same variant that devastated India just a couple of months ago.


Yes, fewer people are getting vaccinated. Yet, a large percentage of the United States is protected with at least one shot, and a considerable portion of the vulnerable population is fully protected. Variants come and go – some are more lethal, and others die away. Nevertheless, vaccines are effective at keeping infection rates, hospitalizations, and deaths low.

Are we on the cusp of herd immunity? I believe so. Will we achieve it? Yes, but some communities may not. Will people continue to become infected and die? Absolutely. The vaccine was the first Band-Aid, and there are newer vaccines and anti-viral drugs on the horizon.

Will the unvaccinated become the stewpot for new infections? Unfortunately, yes. However, many protective measures can negate the risks, and people must be personally responsible. Otherwise, we see exponential increases in new cases, as recently seen in Galveston.

Do we miss 100% of the shots we do not take? Absolutely. However, playing defense against a virus is probably the best bet.

Live Longer & Enjoy Life! – Red O’Laughlin –





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