Nearly Three-Quarters Of Americans Immune To Omicron


One scientific model for COVID-19 cases now estimates that some 73% of Americans are currently immune to Omicron, and that figure could jump to 80% by the middle of next month, according to a new report.

“About half of eligible Americans have received booster shots, there have been nearly 80 million confirmed infections overall and many more infections have never been reported,” according to the Associated Press.

“We have changed,” Ali Mokdad, a professor at the University of Washington, told the wire service. “We have been exposed to this virus and we know how to deal with it.”

“‘I am optimistic even if we have a surge in summer, cases will go up, but hospitalizations and deaths will not,’ said Mokdad, who works on the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation model, which calculated the 73% figure for The Associated Press,” the AP wrote on Thursday.

But the once dreamed-about idea of “herd immunity” — when enough of a population has been exposed to a single virus and built up immunity, which eventually ends its spread — does not seem possible as SARS-CoV-2, which causes COVID-19, keeps mutating into different variants. Omicron is the latest, but while it is more infectious, data shows that the strain is far less lethal.

When the COVID-19 pandemic first swept the U.S. beginning in January 2020, immunologists and scientists hoped America could reach herd immunity. While experts didn’t know exactly how many Americans would need antibodies to reach herd immunity, the number ranged from more than 50% to upwards of 70%.

Early on in the pandemic, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the top U.S. immunologist, put the number at 60% to 70%, but he later started upping that number, saying in an interview with CNBC News that it would be “75, 80, 85 percent.”

But by May 2021, experts began saying we may never reach herd immunity. “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,” The New York Times reported.

“The virus is unlikely to go away,” Emory University evolutionary biologist Rustom Antia told the Times. “But we want to do all we can to check that it’s likely to become a mild infection.”

“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, director of the Covid-19 Modeling Consortium at the University of Texas at Austin, told the Times.

Fauci sought to explain the new pessimistic predictions.

“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 told the paper. “That’s why we stopped using herd immunity in the classic sense. I’m saying: Forget that for a second. You vaccinate enough people, the infections are going to go down.”

Joseph Curl has covered politics for 35 years, including 12 years as White House correspondent, and ran the Drudge Report from 2010 to 2015. Send tips to [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @josephcurl.

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