32 votes

Reaching ‘herd immunity’ is unlikely in the US, experts now believe

25 comments

  1. [6]
    dubteedub
    Link
    That 30% figure could end up as one of the most damaging long-term impacts that Trump and his cronies have inflicted on this country. The increased prevalence of conspiracy theories, the increased...

    As a result, experts now calculate the herd immunity threshold to be at least 80 percent. If even more contagious variants develop, or if scientists find that immunized people can still transmit the virus, the calculation will have to be revised upward again.

    Polls show that about 30 percent of the U.S. population is still reluctant to be vaccinated. That number is expected to improve but probably not enough. “It is theoretically possible that we could get to about 90 percent vaccination coverage, but not super likely, I would say,” said Marc Lipsitch, an epidemiologist at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

    That 30% figure could end up as one of the most damaging long-term impacts that Trump and his cronies have inflicted on this country. The increased prevalence of conspiracy theories, the increased distrust in science, and outright hate towards institutions like the government and media. I believe that all of this can be squarely tracked back to Trump, the Republican Party, and reactionary media like Fox News.

    These monsters made the pandemic into just another culture war and now hundreds of thousands are dead in the United States alone and we have the possibility of never really getting back to life as it was before March 2020.

    28 votes
    1. [2]
      an_angry_tiger
      Link Parent
      I wouldn't put the whole of vaccine skepticism on his back, a quick bit of research turned up covid vaccine skepticism rates pretty high in other countries that I wouldn't say are particularly...

      I wouldn't put the whole of vaccine skepticism on his back, a quick bit of research turned up covid vaccine skepticism rates pretty high in other countries that I wouldn't say are particularly Trump-enthusiastic. I saw surveys that even found that France may be more vaccine skeptic than America, for example.

      11 votes
    2. [3]
      Bullmaestro
      Link Parent
      The anti-vaxx movement was already pretty big even before Trump's rise to power. If anything Andrew Wakefield is the one with blood on his hands.

      The anti-vaxx movement was already pretty big even before Trump's rise to power. If anything Andrew Wakefield is the one with blood on his hands.

      7 votes
      1. dubteedub
        Link Parent
        Here is a study by the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology that shows Trump has significantly fueled the rise of the anti-vax movement. As the research was published in May 2020, it was...

        Here is a study by the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology that shows Trump has significantly fueled the rise of the anti-vax movement. As the research was published in May 2020, it was likely done far before the COVID pandemic hit.

        Here are the highlights listed:

        • Trump voters are more concerned about vaccines than other Americans.
        • This effect emerges via Trump voters' greater willingness to believe conspiracies.
        • Reading Trump's antivaxx tweets increases vaccination concern among Trump voters.
        • Trump's antivaxx tweets did not polarize liberal voters into being more provaxx.
        13 votes
      2. psi
        Link Parent
        It’s Not Vaccine Hesitancy. It’s COVID-19 Denialism. This article flipped my perspective on the matter. While anti-vaxxers obviously exist, they compose a rather small part of the total...

        It’s Not Vaccine Hesitancy. It’s COVID-19 Denialism.

        Reluctance to get vaccinated is concentrated among young conservatives, who are skeptical of the pandemic’s harms.

        This article flipped my perspective on the matter. While anti-vaxxers obviously exist, they compose a rather small part of the total population. Instead, we see that conservatives have twisted the pandemic into yet another culture war issue (as /u/dubteedub provided evidence for). For these people, COVID-19 is mass hysteria exemplified, so why would they get vaccinated? Indeed, getting vaccinated would be an admission of wrongdoing.

        13 votes
  2. [6]
    balooga
    Link
    That vaccine willingness map in the article is interesting. It's more or less distributed how I'd expect, considering how tragically partisan the issue is. But what's up with Minnesota? Almost the...

    That vaccine willingness map in the article is interesting. It's more or less distributed how I'd expect, considering how tragically partisan the issue is. But what's up with Minnesota? Almost the whole state is solidly bright purple, surrounded by a sea of pale lavender-gray. What's different about the culture there?

    Minnesota is also the epicenter of a lot of racial justice news lately, starting with George Floyd. I'm starting to wonder if I've had some wrong ideas about the state. I've never been there but always assumed it was a pretty white-bread midwest place with Fargo accents and lots of fishing. Can anybody more familiar with it explain how it differs socially from the surrounding regions?

    6 votes
    1. [3]
      rkcr
      Link Parent
      This explains why the data is weird: https://twitter.com/dhmontgomery/status/1389223136189501444 tl;dr - doing it on a county-by-county level is misleading, however Minnesota is still less...

      This explains why the data is weird: https://twitter.com/dhmontgomery/status/1389223136189501444

      tl;dr - doing it on a county-by-county level is misleading, however Minnesota is still less hesitant than the national average.

      8 votes
      1. balooga
        Link Parent
        Thanks much, I appreciate the targeted breakdown of that specific visualization.

        Thanks much, I appreciate the targeted breakdown of that specific visualization.

        1 vote
    2. [2]
      stu2b50
      Link Parent
      I think that graphic is very... strange. It doesn't seem to make sense; it's too strongly state centralized. It makes no sense to me, for instance, that California is almost all 90%, but Nevada is...

      I think that graphic is very... strange. It doesn't seem to make sense; it's too strongly state centralized. It makes no sense to me, for instance, that California is almost all 90%, but Nevada is 50-60%, including the parts that are right next to each other. The political border of the state should not matter that much, those areas of California are deep red, rural, just like their counterparts on the other side of Nevada - same demographics, same climate, the state border is just arbitrary.

      Same for most of America, that just jumped out to me as someone that's driven past that area on roadtrips before.

      I don't think state borders should represent that strong of a change in belief.

      7 votes
      1. NaraVara
        Link Parent
        I think it's because these numbers are driven largely by the main population center. Those places around the border that are actually culturally similar are too rural and sparse when you cluster...

        I think it's because these numbers are driven largely by the main population center. Those places around the border that are actually culturally similar are too rural and sparse when you cluster it at country level boundaries.

        Also keep in mind the scale only goes from 50 to 100 and the increments are uneven. The darkest color is 80-91% but the light gray is 65-70% or 70-75%. If you can accept it being on the lower end (close to 80%) and the neighboring Nevada counties being in the high 60s to low 70s I think that's plausible.

        3 votes
  3. [7]
    teaearlgraycold
    Link
    If everyone who wants a shot can get one and the vaccines are essentially 100% effective at preventing death should we not return to full normalcy? Anti-vaxxers are just shooting themselves in the...

    If everyone who wants a shot can get one and the vaccines are essentially 100% effective at preventing death should we not return to full normalcy? Anti-vaxxers are just shooting themselves in the foot (head?).

    I also expect many local areas to have much higher vaccination rates than the country. Will liberal cities and metro areas really not get to herd immunity?

    4 votes
    1. [6]
      dubteedub
      Link Parent
      The issue is certain vulnerable populations that may not be able to get a shot, like those who are immunocompromised. Those groups are not able to get a vaccine and have to rely on herd immunity...

      The issue is certain vulnerable populations that may not be able to get a shot, like those who are immunocompromised. Those groups are not able to get a vaccine and have to rely on herd immunity to provide safety. It still is also not clear if children can get vaccinated and if the virus is still running around they can catch and transmit it.

      14 votes
      1. [5]
        teaearlgraycold
        Link Parent
        I know they're currently testing the vaccine for approval with children as young as 6 months. But as for those without a working immune system... we might just have to fine people who don't get...

        I know they're currently testing the vaccine for approval with children as young as 6 months.

        But as for those without a working immune system... we might just have to fine people who don't get vaccinated. There's legal precedent for it.

        7 votes
        1. [4]
          cfabbro
          (edited )
          Link Parent
          With enough social pressure, it might be possible to force enough vaccinations to achieve herd immunity too. E.g. School attendance, international travel, employment, etc. all requiring proof of...

          With enough social pressure, it might be possible to force enough vaccinations to achieve herd immunity too. E.g. School attendance, international travel, employment, etc. all requiring proof of vaccination

          Edit: Unfortunately there is also a way around that for people dedicated enough:
          Online Scammers Have a New Offer for You: Vaccine Cards

          Hundreds of sellers are offering false and stolen vaccine cards, as businesses and states weigh proof of vaccinations for getting people back to work and play.

          On Etsy, eBay, Facebook and Twitter, little rectangular slips of paper started showing up for sale in late January. Printed on card stock, they measured 3 by 4 inches and featured crisp black lettering. Sellers listed them for $20 to $60 each, with a discount on bundles of three or more. Laminated ones cost extra.

          All were forgeries or falsified copies of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention vaccination cards, which are given to people who have been inoculated against Covid-19 in the United States.

          “We found hundreds of online stores selling the cards, potentially thousands were sold,” said Saoud Khalifah, the founder of Fakespot, which offers tools to detect fake listings and reviews online.

          9 votes
          1. [2]
            teaearlgraycold
            Link Parent
            That should be a felony. But I don't imagine many people will do that. I've seen tons of people in rural areas ignoring mask mandates - but no one pulling the "mesh mask" bullshit that gets...

            Online Scammers Have a New Offer for You: Vaccine Cards

            That should be a felony. But I don't imagine many people will do that. I've seen tons of people in rural areas ignoring mask mandates - but no one pulling the "mesh mask" bullshit that gets overblown online. Hardcore old-school anti-vaxxers will buy these, but the new age covidiots will probably actually get vaccinated when required to.

            11 votes
            1. wervenyt
              Link Parent
              Not a lawyer, but falsifying medical records seems like it should be covered by existing felony forgery charges.

              Not a lawyer, but falsifying medical records seems like it should be covered by existing felony forgery charges.

              7 votes
          2. teaearlgraycold
            Link Parent
            Thankfully for me there isn't much of a difference between a herd immunity world and a "herd immunity in my pool of friends" world. I've never been much of a fan of crowds.

            Thankfully for me there isn't much of a difference between a herd immunity world and a "herd immunity in my pool of friends" world. I've never been much of a fan of crowds.

            2 votes
  4. [6]
    Loire
    Link
    Question from the epidemiologically uninformed. Wouldn't infection rates amongst the vaccine-averse contribute towards herd immunity? Herd immunity is not solely a factor of vaccination, why is it...

    Question from the epidemiologically uninformed. Wouldn't infection rates amongst the vaccine-averse contribute towards herd immunity? Herd immunity is not solely a factor of vaccination, why is it "unlikely" solely due to vaccination rates?

    Statements like this come across as continually moving the goal posts.

    3 votes
    1. [4]
      HotPants
      Link Parent
      Answer from the epidemiologically uninformed. Natural immunity lasts a year or two, where as vaccines can be given yearly. Infection spread increases the risk of a dangerous mutation that can...
      • Exemplary

      Answer from the epidemiologically uninformed.

      Natural immunity lasts a year or two, where as vaccines can be given yearly.

      Infection spread increases the risk of a dangerous mutation that can reinfect those with immunity.

      4 votes
      1. [3]
        NaraVara
        Link Parent
        I mean, it's been established already that we're gonna need boosters. I'm advocating for federally administered vaccine cocktails that handle influence and COVID and whatever else all at once. I'm...

        I mean, it's been established already that we're gonna need boosters. I'm advocating for federally administered vaccine cocktails that handle influence and COVID and whatever else all at once. I'm sure we can mRNA herpes and hepatitis and HPV out of existence if we cared enough.

        2 votes
        1. [2]
          Loire
          Link Parent
          Perhaps I'm misremembering but it recall that a future of yearly covid vaccinations has been discussed as a very real possibility since the beginning. I don't fully understand where this...

          Perhaps I'm misremembering but it recall that a future of yearly covid vaccinations has been discussed as a very real possibility since the beginning. I don't fully understand where this "woe-is-us, the virus will never go away now" comes from. We've been discussing this eventuality since the beginning.

          Im sure we can mRNA herpes and hepatitis and HPV

          Don't we have hepatitis vaccines already?

          2 votes
          1. NaraVara
            Link Parent
            We do, but it needs boosters pretty regularly and most people don’t bother unless they’re traveling somewhere with dodgy water sanitation. We also have an HPV vaccine now, but adoption has lagged...

            We do, but it needs boosters pretty regularly and most people don’t bother unless they’re traveling somewhere with dodgy water sanitation.

            We also have an HPV vaccine now, but adoption has lagged because nobody seems to think it’s important enough to push for. It is only cervical cancer risk, after all, and who cares about women after their childbearing years? Also religious fanatics seem to think it’s some kind of just deserts for having sex.

            3 votes
    2. stu2b50
      Link Parent
      I also found the article frustratingly brief on reasons why this is the case. I read the whole thing but it seemed the closest to an answer was Idk, I feel like the people that want to get...

      I also found the article frustratingly brief on reasons why this is the case. I read the whole thing but it seemed the closest to an answer was

      If even more contagious variants develop, or if scientists find that immunized people can still transmit the virus, the calculation will have to be revised upward again.

      Idk, I feel like the people that want to get vaccinated will get vaccinated, the people that don't will be disproportionally likely to catch the virus in the near future and either gain some kind of immunity (I mean, your body did fight off the virus somehow) or die.

      I fully accept that this can be wrong, is probably wrong, but I haven't really seen what's to indicate it won't happen.

      6 votes