We’re two years into a global pandemic, and the question on everyone’s mind is: “When will COVID-19 end?” Governments and health agencies have been open about the status of the pandemic, saying that the only way to move forward from COVID-19 is through achieving herd immunity. But to reach the status of being immune to COVID-19 and its variants, the majority, if not all, of the population should be vaccinated.
But speeding up vaccination to achieve herd immunity faster isn’t as easy as it sounds. With vaccine hesitancy posing an issue, as well as the limited availability of vaccines in specific parts of the world, the exact date we can move on from COVID-19 cannot be predicted. The Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), however, says that a determining factor is human behavior.
How Human Behavior Affects Herd Immunity
Many countries, such as Singapore, are gaining the upper hand against the virus with stellar vaccination rates. As of writing, about 65.6% of the U.S. population has been vaccinated as well, bringing us closer to herd immunity. A huge bulk of the population has received their protection from COVID-19 and its various strains. However, there are still small clusters of communities that have little to no vaccine protection.
Until people decide and go through with getting vaccinated, herd immunity looks far-fetched. As aptly put by CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky, “We are battling with one another and not battling with the common foe, which is the virus itself.” What we need now is for the whole of humanity to work together to fight the virus, encouraging people to get vaccinated, and providing aid to communities with low protection.
Cases in the U.S. Declining - It May Be the Last Major Surge
A study published in JAMA Network Open revealed that individuals who initially had reservations about getting vaccinated are beginning to change their minds. Over 30% of respondents in their previous study who said that they would not get the COVID-19 vaccine now have received at least one dose of protection.
This shift of mindset and human behavior is proving to be crucial in COVID-19 cases in the U.S., with the number of infections beginning to decline starting late September. If cases continue to decrease at this rate, scientists predict that this may be the last major surge of COVID-19 cases in the nation.
Unity In Adversity: Fighting COVID-19 Together
Medical and scientific solutions to COVID-19 can only go so far. But what will really help us leap towards global herd immunity is putting up a united front against the COVID-19 virus. Get vaccinated, abide by health and safety protocols such as mask-wearing and social distancing, and do your part to curb the spread and lead humanity to a COVID-free future.