Britain Nears Herd Immunity
More than 73 percent of Britons will be vaccinated or previously-infected by Monday.
National News (“UK ‘to hit herd immunity next week’ as vaccines break the link between cases and deaths“):
The UK will reach the threshold of herd immunity against Covid-19 on April 12, according to modelling by University College London, as vaccines “break the link” between cases and deaths.
The Office for National Statistics said the number of weekly coronavirus deaths in England and Wales had fallen by 92 per cent from the peak of the second wave.
While this is fantastic news for them, they very much got here the hard way.
The latest figures covering the week ending March 26 showed 719 deaths in a week, down from 8,945 from a week in January. On January 19 alone – the UK’s deadliest day of the pandemic – 1,358 people died with Covid-19.
Scientists said the proportion of people who have protection against the virus – either through vaccines, previous infection or natural immunity – will hit 73.4 per cent next Monday, the same day non-essential shops and outdoor hospitality reopens.
Prof Karl Friston from UCL told The National that the UK’s current threshold for herd immunity was 72 per cent. “When you add to both the vaccine-induced immunity and natural immunity through previous infection and a small proportion of people who might have pre-existing or innate immunity – which could be up to 10 per cent – you can see immediately there aren’t many people left. “Suffering the Christmas surge and the success of the vaccination campaign has put us in a good position for reaching the threshold of herd immunity.”
A separate study by Imperial College London found infections had fallen by about 60 per cent since February – but the data suggests the decline is levelling off.
So, while vaccinations have helped considerably—as has a shrewd policy decision to prioritize getting one dose into as many people as possible as fast as possible rather than the two doses to become “fully vaccinated”—the fact of the matter is that they’re reaching herd immunity so fast because so many have already been infected.