“I don’t know what herd immunity is, but when you add that to the people who have immunity, it looks like it could be very close to herd immunity,” Abbott added. But Michael Osterholm, an epidemiologist and director of the University of Minnesota’s Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy who advised President BidenJoe BidenFederal Reserve chair: Economy would have been ‘so much worse’ without COVID-19 relief bills Biden to meet Monday with bipartisan lawmakers about infrastructure Jill Biden gives shout out to Champ, Major on National Pet Day MORE’s coronavirus team, cast doubt on Abbott’s estimation.
“There is no way on God’s green earth that Texas is anywhere even close to herd immunity,” Osterholm told The New York Times. “Look no further than Michigan and Minnesota, which have much higher rates of vaccination than Texas. And we’re already seeing widespread transmission.”
Leading public health officials with the federal government have said upward of at least 60 percent of the total U.S. population will need to be vaccinated in order to reach nationwide herd immunity. “Anybody who will tell you exactly what the level of herd immunity is is also likely to want to sell you a bridge,” Osterholm said.
About 19 percent of the population in Texas is vaccinated, the Times estimated, while Michigan comes in at about 22 percent and Minnesota at 24.
Abbott has come under fire from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other critics for lifting his state’s mask mandate and social distancing guidelines earlier this year, a decision he said was made based on state data and math.
“We must now do more to restore livelihoods and normalcy for Texans by opening Texas 100 percent. Make no mistake, COVID-19 has not disappeared, but it is clear from the recoveries, vaccinations, reduced hospitalizations, and safe practices that Texans are using that state mandates are no longer needed.” Source “With the medical advancements of vaccines and antibody therapeutic drugs, Texas now has the tools to protect Texans from the virus,” Abbott said when he lifted the mandate in early March.
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