Delta may push herd immunity threshold over 80%, experts say

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Infectious disease experts say the percentage of the population that needs to be vaccinated against COVID-19 to reach herd immunity could be 80 percent or higher, now that the delta variant is spreading rapidly across the U.S., according to Medscape.

The estimated threshold for herd immunity is higher because delta is about two times more transmissible than the original virus.

"For delta, those threshold estimates go well over 80 percent and may be approaching 90 percent," Ricardo Franco, MD, an assistant professor of medicine at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, said during an Aug. 3 briefing hosted by the Infectious Diseases Society of America.

Throughout the pandemic, experts have debated at what threshold herd immunity for COVID-19 will occur — and whether it is even attainable. Initially, the general consensus was that 60 percent to 70 percent of the population need to be vaccinated, according to The New York Times. 

As of Aug. 3, 49.7 percent of the U.S. population was fully vaccinated against COVID-19, CDC data shows.

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