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US to achieve herd immunity to Covid by Q4 2021: McKinsey

Prashasti Awasthi Mumbai | Updated on September 25, 2020 Published on September 25, 2020

Epidemiological end of the pandemic may not arrive until 2022

McKinsey & Company, a global management consulting firm, estimates that the United States is likely to achieve herd immunity to the novel coronavirus in the third or fourth quarter of 2021.

The report stated that numerous vaccines are underway and may receive approval by the US Food and Drug Administration Emergency this year-end. The granting of a Biologics License Application (also known as approval) will likely take place in the first quarter of 2021. McKinsey said in a report that herd immunity in the US could also be achieved as soon as the second quarter of 2021. It depends on the efficacy of the vaccines and the duration of its effectiveness.

However, the report also noted that the epidemiological end of the pandemic may not be achieved until 2022. This can get delayed if the vaccines report efficacy or safety issues - or if their distribution and adoption are slow. The report said: “At worst, we see a long-tail possibility that the US could be still battling Covid-19 into 2023 and beyond if a constellation of factors (such as low efficacy of vaccines and a short duration of natural immunity) align against us.”

It added that the second endpoint of the pandemic may be reached earlier than the first. “We estimate that the most likely time for this to occur is the first or second quarter of 2021 in the United States and other advanced economies. The key factor is diminished mortality,” it added.

The report also stated that there is a high chance that a lot of cases went unreported. Estimated case-detection rates range from 3:1 to 10:1.2. That would mean that between around 90 million and 300 million people around the world have some immunity to SARS-CoV-2, the report added. In some overly crowded cities, such as Mumbai and New York City, subpopulation antibody-positivity rates range up to 50 per cent. While, in most countries, the anti-body positivity rate is less than 10 per cent (and often less than 5 percent), McKinsey said.

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Published on September 25, 2020
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