Moving past the pandemic?: Experts reveal information about the lack of herd immunity

As vaccines and the COVID-19 pandemic are being continuously researched, many experts have shared their concerns about the post-covid world.

Kendall Jarvis

As vaccines and the COVID-19 pandemic are being continuously researched, many experts have shared their concerns about the post-covid world.

Kendall Jarvis, News Editor

United States experts are now stating that herd immunity will either be unachievable or extremely difficult to reach. This is due to the new discoveries made by scientists in the past few months.

The recent developments of the different coronavirus strains, scientists now believe that COVID-19 will be a recurring virus for many years to come. The term ‘herd immunity’ is being pushed away from the media because experts do not want the public to think of mass immunity as a magical number or the exit from the pandemic.

Senior Addie Menke recalls the beginning of the pandemic, when U.S. citizens were told that two weeks of quarantine would return the country back to normal, but as we have seen in the past year, this reality was not achieved. Now knowing that it is unlikely for the world to completely eradicate COVID-19, Menke recognizes the importance of individual responsibility for safety over requirements set by the government. “I think all we can do is individually be responsible for our own bodies, getting the vaccine, or wearing a mask,” she stated. 

On Thursday, May 20, Governor Kim Reynolds put this responsibility in Iowans’ hands by banning schools, counties and cities from enforcing mask mandates. This bill was signed and made effective immediately leaving the choice to wear a mask up to individuals. 

These actions taken by the Iowa General Assembly and Governor Reynolds go against the actions COVID-19 experts want to promote. Experts believe the number of hospitalizations and deaths caused by the coronavirus can be drastically reduced, but only with a majority of Americans vaccinated. 

The continuation of vaccinations is essential for life to return to normal. After a few months of vaccines having high availability, daily vaccination levels are slowing down. This decline of vaccinations is concerning for experts, and this issue has been combatted with many incentives given for individuals who receive the COVID-19 vaccine. 

Although the number of individuals receiving the vaccine is crucial for decreasing hospitalizations and deaths, booster shots or yearly revaccinations, similar to the flu, may be necessary to maintain a covid-free world. 

Senior Erica Heiselman understands the importance of taking precautions even after receiving the vaccine, and questions what the future post-covid world will look like. “If the coronavirus remains prevalent, then a post-covid world may become our ‘new normal’ with a whole set of new vaccines every year, as well as different regulations,” she said.

As the future is beginning to look very different than the one proposed during the early stages of the pandemic, many things seem uncertain. But, the experts are certain on one thing right now — continuing to take precautions now is key. 

While experts are trying to promote continuing to stay safe, many U.S. citizens are tired of living through the pandemic and want a normal summer. Addie Menke mentioned this desire and recognizes the needed balance between safety and normalcy. “I think people are trying to make the best of this summer and make it more normal. As teens, we had a really weird year and missed out on the exciting summers of the past. Many people who have made their decision about the vaccine and may feel safe enough to return to having a normal life,” she shared.

This new information from the experts can make many lose hope but balancing safety and normalcy this summer will be the newest challenge for the U.S.