People waiting queue to take a sample for a covid-19 test, on April 23, 2020, in Prague, Czech Republic. Photo by Katerina Sulova CTK via AP Images

Herd Immunity Won’t Come Anytime Soon for Covid-19

A vaccine for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, is still more than a year away, but some individuals, and governments, are hoping that life can return to normal once enough of us have had the disease.

But estimates that 70-80 percent of the population are going to be infected are way too high, Sam Scarpino says. “It’s going to be somewhere like 5 to 20 percent, and you’re going to have multiple waves of infections because you’re still going to have a large fraction of the population susceptible.” The difference between these numbers, Scarpino said, originates with some of the simplifications that epidemiological modelers make to estimate how a disease will spread.

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