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COVID in Context: Gov. Abbott says Texas “could be very close to herd immunity.” Here’s what the data says.

Published: Apr. 13, 2021 at 10:03 AM CDT
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BRYAN, Texas (KBTX) - Gov. Greg Abbott appeared on Fox News Sunday, answering a question about decreasing COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths in Texas.

The governor used the opportunity to speculate about herd immunity: “When you look at the senior population, for example, more than 70 percent of our seniors have received a vaccine shot, more than 50 percent of those who are 50 to 65 have received a vaccine shot. 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.”

Experts were quick to refute Gov. Abbott’s claims, calling them false.

The numbers also do not support the governor’s comments.

As of April 13, about 5.6 million Texans had been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, representing about 19% of the total Texas population.

Furthermore, there have been 2.4 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Texas, representing approximately 8% of the total Texas population.

Even with overly generous assumptions (1. that all people who have had COVID-19 still have antibodies regardless of timeline and 2. that there is no overlap between those vaccinated and those naturally infected--both assumptions that would not be supported with evidence), the number of inoculated Texans still only reaches 27%.

Experts say herd immunity can be achieved anywhere in the 60-90% inoculation range, meaning Texas is not even halfway to herd immunity at this point.

Tune in for COVID in Context weekdays on Brazos Valley This Morning, 4:30-7 a.m. on KBTX.

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