Could the US Go from Worst To First in Crushing Covid-19?

The total number of people infected with Covid-19 is over 25.4 million as of Jan 26, 2021. The death toll has reached 425,208 according to data compiled by the NY Times. While a few months ago it seemed that there was no end in sight to this immense tragedy, it is now possible to imagine a victory over the coronavirus. An interesting article in The Asia Times noted that the US may to be first Western country to crush Covid-19. From the article:

Europe’s bungled rollout of coronavirus vaccines makes it likely that the United States will be the first big Western nation to eliminate the Covid-19 pandemic, German immunologists told Asia Times in interviews this week. Although Germany showed much lower infection and mortality rates during the first wave of the pandemic in the spring of 2020, Europe’s failure to source and distribute vaccines on a scale sufficient to dent the pandemic gives the United States a clear lead.

The US is vaccinating its population at three times the rate of France and Germany, according to the Our World in Data website. The only country acting faster is the United Kingdom, with a daily vaccination rate of 0.5 doses per 100 people.

A combination of vaccination and past infection may immunize two-thirds of America’s population against the virus by the middle of 2021, one German virologist explained. That should be sufficient to give America “herd immunity,” slowing the future spread of the virus to very low levels. With 25 million confirmed cases and over 150,000 new cases per day, the United States will have more than 50 million inhabitants with resistance to the virus due to past exposure. The US has vaccinated 20 million people in under four weeks, and at the present rate of six million vaccinations per week, an additional 170 million Americans will be resistant by the end of the second quarter of this year. By that projection, 220 million of America’s 330 million inhabitants, or two-thirds of the total, will be resistant, and America will achieve herd immunity.

Virologists believe that  “herd immunity” will be achieved when somewhere between 43% and 60% of the population becomes resistant to COVID-19.

Source: US likely to be first Western nation to crush Covid-19, Asia Times, Jan 27, 2021

Economic professor Alex Tabarrok at George Mason University also predicts the US will win over the virus this year. Below is an excerpt from his post at The Marginal Revolution :

By July it will all be over. The only question is how many people have to die between now and then?

Youyang Gu, whose projections have been among the most accurate, projects that the United States will have reached herd immunity by July, with about half of the immunity coming from vaccinations and half from infections. Long before we reach herd immunity, however, the infection and death rates will fall. Gu is projecting that by March infections will be half what they are now and by May about one-tenth the current rate. The drop will catch people by surprise just like the increase. We are not good at exponentials. The economy will boom in Q2 as infections decline.

If that sounds good bear in mind that 400,000 people are dead already and the CDC expects another 100,000 dead by February. We have a very limited window in the United States to make a big push on vaccines and we are failing. We are failing phenomenally badly.

To understand how bad we are failing compare with flu vaccinations. Every year the US gives out about 150 million flu vaccinations within the space of about 3 months or 1.6 million shots a day. Thus, we vaccinate for flu at more than twice the speed we are vaccinating for COVID! Yes, COVID vaccination has its own difficulties but this is an emergency with tens of thousands of lives at stake.

I would love it if we mobilized serious resources and vaccinated at Israel’s rate–30% of the population in a month. But if we simply vaccinated for COVID at the same rate as we do for flu we would save thousands of lives and hundreds of billions of dollars in GDP. The comparison with flu vaccinations also reminds us that we don’t necessarily need the National Guard or mass clinics in stadiums. Use the HMOs and the pharmacies!

Source: We Will Get to Herd Immunity in 2021…One Way or AnotherAlex Tabarrok @ The Marginal Revolution

With the new administration in power, let’s all hope that we win this war over this nasty virus. If a poor and communist China was able to crush it with no vaccines last year we should be able to crush it as well especially with the availability of multiple vaccines.

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