Scientists don't think New York State or the Hudson Valley will reach herd immunity against COVID-19.

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For many Americans, the words "herd immunity" meant the end to the COVID pandemic. Herd immunity is when a large about of the population is immune to infection.

The nation’s top infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, previously estimated 70 percent to 85 percent of the United States would need to be vaccinated for COVID-19 in order to achieve herd immunity.

Over 50 percent of all U.S. adults have had at least one dose of a COVID vaccine, but demand for the vaccine has significantly slipped recently, and now scientists are saying herd immunity won't be achieved in the foreseeable future, or ever, the New York Times reports.

“The virus is unlikely to go away,” Emory University evolutionary biologist Rustom Antia told the New York Times. “But we want to do all we can to check that it’s likely to become a mild infection.”

New York State and counties across the Hudson Valley are far away from the 70 percent to 85 percent threshold.

In New York State, 46.6 percent of New Yorkers have at least one vaccine dose while 35.2 percent have completed the vaccine series, according to Gov. Andrew Cuomo's office. Exactly one week ago, 44.3 percent of New Yorkers had at least one shot.

Below is the percentage of people from each county in the Mid-Hudson Region who have at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, according to the state's COVID-19 Vaccine Tracker.

  • Sullivan County: 38. 8%
  • Orange County: 38.9%
  • Rockland County: 42.0%
  • Dutchess County: 48.0%
  • Putnam County: 51.3%
  • Ulster County: 53.3%
  • Westchester County: 52.9%

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Dr. Anthony Fauci now says he and other experts have stopped using the "herd immunity" term.

“People were getting confused and thinking you’re never going to get the infections down until you reach this mystical level of herd immunity, whatever that number is,” Fauci told the New York Times. “That’s why we stopped using herd immunity in the classic sense. I’m saying, forget that for a second. You vaccinate enough people, the infections are going to go down.”

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