Path to Herd Immunity

Path to Herd Immunity

COVID-19 Projections machine learning team cites the following notes in their live analysis of herd immunity in the United States.

Key briefing notes include:

Path to Herd Immunity: 2021 Outlook of COVID-19 in the US

We estimate COVID-19 herd immunity (>70% of population immune) will be reached in the US during summer 2021 (Jun-Aug 2021). At a high level, herd immunity is a concept in which a population can be protected from a virus if enough people possess immunity.

At the time herd immunity is reached, roughly half of the immunity will be achieved through natural infection, and the other half will be achieved through vaccination.

New infections may become minimal before herd immunity is reached. But due to imported cases and localized clusters, it is unlikely that new infections will drop to zero until at least 2022.

Deaths may drop to low levels even earlier (May-Jul 2021), in part due to a vaccine distribution strategy that initially prioritizes high-risk individuals. Once deaths fall to minimal levels, we may see a relaxation of restrictions.

Summarizing the above findings, our best estimate of a complete “return to normal” in the US is mid-summer 2021 (June/July 2021).

We estimate roughly 80% of the US population (~265 million) will receive at least one dose of the vaccine by the end of 2021, with children and adolescents being the last group to receive it (Aug-Nov 2021).

We estimate around 35% of the US population (~120 million) will have been infected by the SARS-CoV-2 virus by the end of 2021. That is an additional 55 million infections since mid-December 2020.

This translates to a final US COVID-19 death toll of roughly 600,000 (±100,000) reported deaths, or ~300,000 additional deaths since mid-December 2020.

Source: COVID-19 Projections

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