How close are we to herd immunity? The data is clear enough

More than half of Texans have either recovered from the coronavirus or have been fully vaccinated as of Monday, according to state data.

When 75% or so of us have immunity, we will have reached what is sometimes called “herd immunity,” when the virus can hardly spread even in the absence of safety precautions like physical distancing and masks.

Herd immunity is a “calculated number based on the infectivity of a virus,” explained Baylor College of Medicine President Dr. Paul Klotman.

For example, herd immunity for the highly contagious measles virus is 95%. For regular COVID-19, it’s closer to 65%.

The more infectious variants make true herd immunity for this pandemic about 75%, Klotman said.

“I think we’re getting close,” he added, pointing to local data.

More than half a million people in the nine-county Greater Houston area have contracted COVID-19 officially, as of Monday.

The true number is closer to 2.4 million, based on numerous “prevalence” studies, including a CDC study, showing that for every positive COVID-19, there are several others uncounted.


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