Dear 100 Hour Board,
How close do you think Utah is to achieving herd immunity? I've heard that there have probably been 10 times as many cases as official reports, which would be about a third of the population. Is there an end in sight? Do you think we'll be ok?
I don't think Utah is close to all-natural herd immunity. I think we are seeing that its going to get worse before it gets better. Especially because there are preliminary reports that show the possibility of catching the virus multiple times. I say "natural" herd immunity because there are essentially three ways that herd immunity is achieved:
- A sufficient number of people have been infected with the disease and become immune to it, thus limiting the spread of the disease in the total population
- Vaccinations allow people to develop immunity without being infected with the disease, thus limiting the spread of the disease in the total population
- A combination of #1 and #2
One example of herd immunity is smallpox. It's essentially eradicated because of vaccinations. You might be interested in this video by BYU*. With that being said, I think the safest way to herd immunity is through vaccination. Unfortunately, vaccines take time to be properly developed. And although President Trump keeps saying the vaccine will be here by election day or by the end of the year, he's wrong. It's true that vaccine makers are working very quickly and we should have a vaccine at some point in 2021, it will still take time to distribute the vaccine. Dr. Anthony Fauci believes that it might be the end of 2021 or even into 2022 before we can return to any sort of normalcy.
With that being said, we are fortunate that COVID-19 isn't extremely deadly. So, we'll largely be okay. Obviously, too many people have died already, and more will die before we can contain the virus, but don't let that keep you from being optimistic and hopeful. We will get back to "normal", whatever that might look like. I'm confident there will be a successful vaccine and I think this entire process is a great learning experience for the world because COVID-19 will almost certainly not be the last major worldwide disease (and it could be true that future diseases will be more deadly).
So, lets do our best to wear masks, keep our social distance, and trust the advice of medical experts. We don't need to live in fear, but we do need to be cautious in order to curb the spread.
I hope this helps.
-Sunday Night Banter
* Contrary to the comments on the video, I don't think BYU is saying COVID is as debilitating as other viruses. I think the video is trying to explain that its possible for natural herd immunity not to work, which could cause many unnecessary deaths.