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Some experts now project reaching 'herd immunity' unlikely in U.S.

Experts believe the virus will become more manageable even if the country doesn't have herd immunity.

Updated: May 3, 2021 - 9:21am

The Facts Inside Our Reporter’s Notebook

The United States will not reach so-called "herd immunity" from COVID-19 as new variants emerge and a large percentage of the population so far does not want to get a vaccinate, according to some scientists.

Herd immunity is achieved when enough of the population has received a vaccine or has become immune after contracting the virus, weakening it and not allow it to further spread. 

Another factor is that some countries will continue to struggle with outbreaks.

"We will not achieve herd immunity as a country or a state or even as a city until we have enough immunity in the population as a whole," Lauren Ancel Meyers, the director of the Covid-19 Modeling Consortium at the University of Texas at Austin, told The New York Times.

Such scientists say the virus will become more manageable but that it will still cause hospitalizations and deaths, but in smaller numbers, according to

Experts once thought herd immunity was attainable this summer, with 60 to 70% of the population being vaccinated.

But with more contagious variants, they now think the percentage must be closer to 80% of the population, which they say is not foreseeable in the near future.

Roughly 30% of the U.S. population is fully vaccinated, according to the most recent reports, while polling shows roughly 40% of the remaining population is hesitant to get the shots. 

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