At the beginning of this year I wrote about how the governments of the world had created a collective state of hysteria so intense that the only way they could dig themselves out of the hole they had made was with a magic bullet. That magic bullet was, of course, the vaccines. I wrote that it didn’t really matter how effective the vaccines were in the real world, or whether they prevented transmission. All that mattered was getting every single person on the planet to take the vaccine, after which the politicians would be able to declare victory.
It’s now eight months later, and we can conclude that the prediction has come to pass. In many western countries, 70+ percent of the adult population is now vaccinated. In the early part of this year, hospitalizations and deaths started to drop, and they stayed low all summer. The convenient explanation at the time was that this was thanks to the vaccines, even though the drop started at a time when very few people were vaccinated – the reduction was clearly driven by something else. My guess is that it was due to the onset of herd immunity to the original covid strain. The decline was halted temporarily due to the arrival of the more infectious alpha strain (which raised the herd immunity threshold due to its higher infectiousness), but was quickly followed by a continued trend downwards as the population reached herd immunity even to that more infectious strain. This was helped in part, perhaps, by the vaccines, and then helped even more by the arrival of summer and the effect of seasonality.
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