A close look at the infection rate based on the increased number of tests in the past two months suggests that by election day the entire country will be close to herd immunity, and that quite possibly 40% of the population is already immune.
As of July 17, 44.2 million people have been tested, with 3.63 million positives (8.2%). Those folks who tested negative either never contracted COVID-19 or had it (with or without symptoms) and recovered.
…One eighth of the country [44.2 million] already tested is a very large sample, statistically. Applying the 8% baseline infection rate to the entire population, this means that every week after the beginning of April, another 2.67% of the people in the U.S. had recovered from COVID-19, were immune and non-contagious, and were not a threat to anybody. These numbers are additive. By July 17 (15 weeks), 40% of the country is now immune to the coronavirus, whether or not these people know it, and they cannot infect anybody else (for as long as the period of immunity lasts, likely well into the fall).
We can use the trajectory of the “hot spots” in March and April (which peaked about mid-April) to estimate the future trajectory of the percent of nationwide positive COVD-19 test results — which are now less than 2% in the former hot-spot areas — as the current set of “hot spots,” which are currently at peak, subside. I roughly estimate the following: for August, 5.4%; September, 4.0%; October, 2.1%. On the day you go to the polls to vote for either Orange Man or Senator Senex, by my estimate, 62% of the country will be immune to COVID-19, which is close to herd immunity.
And yes, there is uncertainty here, but the analysis appears reasonable, based on the number so far tested and the numbers found to test positive. It also matches what a reasonable person should expect from this respiratory disease.
Of course, because it suggests we have a lot to be optimistic about the Wuhan virus, this analysis must be dismissed immediately, out of hand. It just can’t be right. We are all gonna die from COVID-19 and that’s it.
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