Have we reached herd immunity with COVID-19?

It might look different with this virus.
Posted at 9:37 AM, Mar 01, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-01 12:37:08-05

(KERO) — After so many infections from the omicron variant, people are wondering if we're finally reaching herd immunity against COVID-19. The term has been used a lot since the pandemic started but some experts say it might look different with this virus.

Usually, herd immunity is when enough of a population is immune to a virus that it's hard for it to spread to those who aren't protected by vaccination or prior infection. But experts say COVID might end up more like the common cold, where people get it over and over again but do not have severe symptoms. Just like a winter cold.

One model already estimates 73-percent of Americans are somewhat immune to omicron now. And that the number could rise to 80-percent by mid-March.

Epidemiologist Shira Doron with Tufts Medical Center said that puts us in a good spot going forward.

"If there are lots of cases, even if there are peaks and valleys, even if there are sometimes probably in the winter for the northeast and maybe in the summer, for the south periods, where hospitals are full or fuller. Even with that, that as it as the general population will have built up layers of immunity from multiple vaccine doses from multiple infections, hopefully, after the vaccine, we will start to see that it doesn't have as much of an impact on our day to day lives."

She added that even though you could get boosted immunity after catching the virus vaccinated people get the same immunity and are much less likely to end up in the hospital.