Fauci Acknowledges He Increased His Estimates on Herd Immunity Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images)
By Jeffrey Rodack | Friday, 25 December 2020 01:26 PM
Dr. Anthony Fauci admits he has been slowly increasing his estimates on what the U.S. would need to achieve herd immunity against COVID-19.
According to The New York Times, many epidemiologists have been estimating since the start of the pandemic that it would take 60% to 70% of the population to acquire resistance to the coronavirus in order for the disease to fade away.
And the Times noted Fauci, the most prominent U.S. infectious disease expert, tended to agree during the pandemic’s early days. But about a month ago he raised the estimate to ''70, 75%.'' In a Dec. 16 interview with CNBC he said: ''75, 80, 85%'' and ''75 to 80-plus percent.''
Fauci concedes he has been deliberately moving the goal posts, partly based on new science and his gut feeling the U.S. is finally ready to hear what he really believes.
He said it may take close to 90% immunity to stop the virus.
Now that some polls show that many more Americans are ready for vaccines, Fauci said he felt he could deliver the message that a return to normal might take longer than first believed, the Times noted.
''When polls said only about half of all Americans would take a vaccine, I was saying herd immunity would take 70 to 75 percent,'' Dr. Fauci said. ''Then, when newer surveys said 60 percent or more would take it, I thought, 'I can nudge this up a bit,' so I went to 80, 85.''
A Gallup poll last month showed that 58% of Americans are now willing to get the vaccine. The number is up from a low of 50% in September.