Cases of COVID are declining sharply in four heavily hit states in the northeast. Does that mean that herd immunity is underway?


Want to know that parts of the United States are finally approaching herd immunity to COVID-19? Next, pay close attention to what’s happening in New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, and Connecticut.

Caused by resumption, More contagious variantsLast month, the number of COVIDs surged in all four states. But then, just as suddenly, the case began to plummet in early April. And even though the restrictions have been lifted, cases are still plummeting today.

Is this quick reversal possible — it happened despite the rise Mobility And mixture — Do you foretell the local onset of something like herd immunity (that is, when the virus runs out of unprotected hosts and begins to infect)?

People pass the signs for both the Covid-19 Testing Clinic and the Covid Vaccination Site outside the Brooklyn Hospital in Brooklyn, New York City on March 29, 2021.  (Spencer Pratt / Getty Images)

A person walking by the COVID-19 testing site and the COVID vaccination site sign outside Brooklyn Hospital in March. (Spencer Pratt / Getty Images)

“I think this pattern is important. The main factor is the combination of innate immunity from infection and vaccine-induced immunity,” said Dr. Kavita Patel, a health scientist and primary care physician at the Brookings Institution. Stated. “Between the two, you’re starting to cover most of the population in these states. We’re heading towards herd immunity by hooks and scammers.”

It may not be possible to actually know when a particular state (or the entire United States) will exceed the herd immunity threshold. Experts describe it as a time when 75-90 percent of a particular population is protected by antibodies.For one thing, true herd immunity-the goal of immunizing so many Americans that COVID-19 can never spread-is Probably unattainableDemand for vaccines is declining, hesitation continues in certain parts of the country, variants continue to emerge, and most of the rest of the world are protected by previous infections and vaccinations. not.

But there is another more direct way to find out what vaccination and innate immunity have together: ending a US pandemic emergency and reducing COVID-19 to a manageable risk. , Resumes normal life Before 75 percent of a particular population is fully dosed.

This does not mean that the pandemic has not yet raged nationwide. “We don’t even think it’s close to real herd immunity,” Howard Forman, a professor of public health at Yale University, told Yahoo News.

He points out that incidents continue to grow in states such as North Carolina, Oregon, and Nevada, with Washington Governor Jay Inslee on Thursday. His condition saidIt was hit hard last spring, but “unfortunately it started at a higher level than where the other waves started” and “we are seeing the beginning of the fourth surge.”

Still, “the more people with immunity, the less steep the slope,” explains Forman.

Patel agrees. “We are unlikely to reach“ zero COVID ”,” she says. “But it’s like a dimming switch. At about 30% immunity, you start to see a decrease in cases. At 50%, you start seeing a sharp decline. And the country’s It seems that a particular pocket is there first. “

That’s where New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, and Connecticut come in.

People administer Johnson & Johnson Coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine at Northwell Health Pop-up Coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccination site at Staten Island, New York City on April 8, 2021 I am preparing to do it.  (Michael M. Santiago / Getty Images)

Northwell Health’s pop-up COVID-19 vaccination site at the Islamic Cultural Center in Albania on April 8 in New York City. (Michael M. Santiago / Getty Images)

The statistics are suggestive.Daily mean of new COVID-19 cases 79% increase in New York In the last week of March. In new jersey 59% increase from February 21st to April 1st.. In Connecticut Increased 99% in the last 3 weeks of March..And in Massachusetts, it ’s Increased 64% over the same period..

However, since the beginning of April, the average daily number of cases has decreased by 46% in New York, 29% in New Jersey, 30% in Massachusetts and 40% in Connecticut. Despite the increasingly loose rules of bars, restaurants, cinemas and other businesses..

Tests in all four states, on the other hand, have remained at the same level for several months, suggesting that not only the number of detected infections, but the actual number of infections is declining.

The question is why now.

Theoretically, for New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Connecticut was Two factors contribute to the move towards herd immunity: immunity from previous infections and immunity from vaccination.

The reason we want to see the recent recession in these four states as an early sign of new population-level protection is that all four states boast both of the highest levels in the United States.

They were first struck and suffered most by the first wave of the pandemic last spring. Highest mortality and hospitalization rates In the country. At the same time, due to fewer tests, the number of cases is higher than anywhere else in the early United States, but only a small fraction of the number of innate, surviving, and emerging innate immunity can be captured. was. Since then, all four states, like the rest of the United States, have experienced a significant winter surge and expanded their existing protection bases.

Healthcare professionals will take care of patients at Brooklyn Hospital, where coronavirus-related cases are increasing in New York City on December 15, 2020.  (Spencer Pratt / Getty Images)

Healthcare professionals tend to take care of patients at Brooklyn Hospital in December. (Spencer Pratt / Getty Images)

so covid19-projections.comYouyang Gu, an independent data scientist trained at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, used a data-driven approach with a layer of artificial intelligence to predict the trajectory of the virus, the first year of the pandemic. Spent the part. Gu stopped updating actual infection estimates on February 21, but at the time he estimated that: 38.9 percent of new jersey, 34.5% of New Yorkers, 26.4% of Connecticut And 26.3% of bay statusers I already had a COVID.

Infection rates are high in some other states, where mask wear levels are low and restrictions are loose. South Dakota (47.5% (As of February 21) comes to mind.

But some other states Also At least one vaccination In addition to such a large existing base of innate immunity to many inhabitants such as New York (44%), New Jersey (47.4%), Massachusetts (50%) and Connecticut (50.3%).

Despite continuing to phase out official mitigation measures, at least vulnerable people have begun to starve and infect coronaviruses, reducing the number of cases in the four most affected states to date. Is a combination of these two types of immunity. Measure and fight more infectious variants.

Meanwhile, experts theorize that the procession to immunity may have gained additional support from certain politics and demographics in such states. For example, all states have given older Americans early access to vaccination.Young adult Qualified only recently.. Vaccination rates for the elderly are relatively consistent regardless of partisan trends, but not for non-elderly people.

by New York Times AnalysisThe rate of full vaccinations for older people in Republican counties is only 5 percent lower than the national average. However, the proportion of young adults in the same county is 18 percent lower than average.In other words, blue states such as New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, and Connecticut may be immunizing younger Americans at a higher rate than the red states — and last year. Young Americans accounted for more than 70 percent of the spread of the virusAccording to a study by the Department of Mathematics at Imperial College London.

Second vaccination with Moderna Covid-19 vaccine at Hartford Healthcare's mobile Covid-19 vaccination clinic at McGibney Community Center in St. Charles Boromeo Catholic Church in Bridgeport, Connecticut on April 20 The woman squints.  2021. (Joseph Prezioso / AFP via Getty Images)

Women will receive a second dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine at the Community Center in Bridgeport, Connecticut on Tuesday. (Joseph Prezioso / AFP via Getty Images)

“Elderly people are vaccinated at a relatively high rate everywhere, but in managing this, vaccination of young people (than older people) is underestimated.” Forman says. “Vaccinations between the ages of 18 and 40 have a far greater impact on cases than the same number of vaccinations between the ages of 65 and 90.”

Similarly, Patel believes that certain demographics of more urban communities may also work in favor of immunity.

“The poor black and brown communities have been hit harder in all these areas, which means they have a higher level of innate immunity,” says Patel. “So even if they aren’t vaccinated so much, it helps. Then there’s a whiter, richer community. [in big cities] I am vaccinated at a very high rate. You can do math and sum them up to get more people with immunity. In fact, it could be a better demographic formula for obtaining herd immunity than a mixture in some small rural areas. “

Certainly, other units may also be working here. Warm climate and seasonality may be involved. So is the fact that New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts and Connecticut maintain their public mask obligations. Its simple precautions, combined with common-sense behaviors such as not gathering indoors, unmasking, and not vaccination, spread the virus among a declining number of people who do not yet have immunity. Will act to further delay.

But unlike previous declines, this doesn’t seem to happen as people are changing their behavior and taking more precautions. They are taking less, but the case is still falling. Something else seems to be putting downward pressure on the virus.

Created on Tuesday, December 5, 2017, Kavita Patel is taking a photo in Cleevecore, Missouri.  (Jeff Roberson / AP photo)

In 2017, Dr. Kabita Patel of Cleevecore, Missouri. (Jeff Robertson / AP)

It would be premature to claim that herd immunity has arrived in New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, or Connecticut. And the reduction in infection does not mean that these conditions are close to, or will continue to be, “zero COVID.” Vaccination remains important and medical professionals continue to advise that everyone who can be vaccinated should be vaccinated as soon as possible.

But the sudden simultaneous recession in April in four states that combine the highest levels of immunity in the United States is a sign of progress and a glimpse of what might be ahead of the gas-settling community. I can.

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