After over a year of pandemic living, Americans have been chomping at the bit to get their existence back within the realms of normalcy.
The COVID-19 pandemic has been a national nightmare, and the once-in-a-century event isn’t quite over yet. At least, not until we have enough vaccinations to reach the all-important “herd immunity”.
Experts are now warning that this may never be possible in the US.
Now, more than half of adults in the United States have been inoculated with at least one dose of a vaccine. But daily vaccination rates are slipping, and there is widespread consensus among scientists and public health experts that the herd immunity threshold is not attainable — at least not in the foreseeable future, and perhaps not ever.
Instead, they are coming to the conclusion that rather than making a long-promised exit, the virus will most likely become a manageable threat that will continue to circulate in the United States for years to come, still causing hospitalizations and deaths but in much smaller numbers.
And while the virus may never disappear entirely, there are plenty of experts who believe that COVID-19 could be pigeonholed into becoming a “mild” infection in the near future.
One of the nation’s top epidemiologists is now shying away from even using the term, for the sake of setting more realistic goals.
Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the Biden administration’s top adviser on Covid-19, acknowledged the shift in experts’ thinking.
“People were getting confused and thinking you’re never going to get the infections down until you reach this mystical level of herd immunity, whatever that number is,” he said.
“That’s why we stopped using herd immunity in the classic sense,” he added. “I’m saying: Forget that for a second. You vaccinate enough people, the infections are going to go down.”
The news comes as vaccine hesitancy continues to be an issue in the United States, with a great many adult Americans opting out of receiving an inoculation over concerns with the speed at which the jabs were developed.