2020-08-19 — nytimes.com
... models like Dr. Britton's hint that it's not impossible. Other researchers have suggested, controversially, that herd immunity can be achieved at rates of immunity as low as 10 or 20 percent -- and that entire countries may already have achieved that goal.
Criticism trailed Sunetra Gupta, a theoretical epidemiologist at Oxford University, after a widely circulated interview in which she said that London and New York may already have reached herd immunity because of variability among people, combined with a theoretical immunity to common cold coronaviruses that may protect against the new one.
"That could be the explanation for why you don't see a resurgence in places like New York," she said.
A second wave might also hit groups or neighborhoods that were spared by the first, and still wreak havoc, she said. Immunity is a patchwork quilt in New York, for instance: Antibodies were present in 68 percent of people visiting a clinic in the Corona neighborhood of Queens, for instance, but in just 13 percent of those tested at a clinic in the Cobble Hill section of Brooklyn.
Thinking of a city or country as composed of subgroups, demarcated by age, race and level of social activity, might also help governments protect those with the least immunity.
That perspective also might help put a renewed focus on groups who require the higher levels of immunity, because of greater exposure levels and other inequities, including Black and Latino residents, said Dr. Manoj Jain, an infectious disease expert at Emory University. "That's where this info is very useful," he said.
The models also suggest a vaccination strategy: Rather than uniformly vaccinate all groups, governments could identify and immunize those most likely to be exposed in "superspreader" events.
"Getting those people vaccinated first can lead to the greatest benefit," said Dr. Michael Mina, an immunologist at Harvard University. "That alone could lead to herd immunity."''
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