I think this NYTimes article is too pessimistic. In particular, it doesn't take account of the situation in Israel, where it looks like there *might* be population immunity with just 54% vaccination.

Almost 30% of the population in Israel is under the age of 16. The young population meant that we weren't *expecting* herd immunity here until kids could be vaccinated.
The article suggests that you need 80% vaccination coverage to keep unmitigated R<1. But that doesn't seem to be what we're seeing in real life. Maybe because infected kids alone don't transmit the virus to enough other people to keep the pandemic going?
Cultural venues, restaurants, cafes, bars, weddings etc reopened 8 weeks ago. Some of these businesses are technically limited to 'Green Pass' vaccinated or recovered people, but the rules aren't enforced. I've been asked for my Green Pass exactly once.
This graph from @LittleMoiz shows how hospitalisations are falling. But it's also new infections. Daily new coronavirus cases are down to double-digits, with only one test in five hundred coming back positive.
The US will have more regional effects than tiny Israel. The point @mlipsitch makes here is doubtless correct, though I wonder if his example percentages are too conservative. 70% vaccination among adults is really a lot, plus the remaining 30% will include some recovered people.
Israel's protocol (all Pfizer, 3 week interval between doses) probably also provides a higher level of protection against transmission than the one-dose J&J used in some of the US, at least in the short term.
When I look at case numbers for, say, New York City, I wonder if we're already seeing some vaccine effects there too. Cases falling, test positivity falling. 44% (=54% of adults) had at least one dose.
Yeah, maybe immune escape variants will come, and maybe the high level of immunity conferred by vaccines will wane. But that hasn't happened yet. Right now, I think it's *possible* that much of the US is on the threshold of herd immunity. I guess we'll see.
A few comments noting that Israel still has some indoor masking, case isolation, travel controls and border testing. That's all true (though test positivity of travellers is also about 0.2%).
Of these, I think border controls are the big one. As countries get some level of domestic vaccine-induced immunity, they'll probably still need to prevent large numbers of infected travellers from entering.
I don't really understand why countries, airlines and labs aren't partnering up to offer some sort of universal Covid travel system that includes proof of vaccination or recovery, PCR testing on departure and arrival, and mutual recognition of standards.

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More from @ariehkovler

4 May
I'm writing indoors at a cafe for the first time since March 2020. Every table is taken and every person has a laptop out. It's completely silent apart from the background music.
Someone just came in, saw there were no tables and went to leave when someone else offered to share a table. The new person has no laptop, but she has ringbinders. Silence continues.
Someone answered her phone. The rest of us are giving her dirty looks.
Read 9 tweets
1 May
The "watermark" theory was all over MAGA and QAnon in the week after the election. The theory was that Trump had ordered the US military to secretly watermarked the ballots in order to expose fraud by state officials.
Here's a few examples from 8 November showing what they imagined the "real" ballots might look like under UV light. QAnon adherents also referenced the Q phrase "watch the water", claiming it might refer to watermarks.

The irony is that QAnon dumped the watermarks theory months ago, and have spent recent days explaining how the UV light at the Maricopa "audit" wasn't looking for watermarks because that would be dumb! The UV must really be looking for something else like skin oil
Read 4 tweets
1 May
Was just about to write about Rob Petrosian, a pro-Trump TikTok account that pretends to be a White House Correspondent, posting old videos as if they're news. But @TRWerkmeister got there first. observers.france24.com/en/americas/20…
"Petrosian" has nearly 300k followers on TikTok and his videos have 4.9M likes. They're mostly old clips labelled as if they're happening now, with fake captions
The Petrosian account was behind the false claim that Biden collapsed at the White House during Easter and was hospitalised. This fake claim, complete with a video of reporters running to the West Wing, was all over MAGA networks that day.
Read 4 tweets
30 Apr
Israel's Health Ministry came up with a plan to limit numbers at Meron due to Covid. The plan was ignored by the Government. The authorities just allowed the various Hassidic sects to do their own thing. Last night's tragedy is the result.
This is from a news report yesterday, before the tragedy at Meron.

From a Haredi website 3 years ago: "Who will prevent a disaster at the Toldot Aharon bonfire lighting?". It noted the narrow exit and risk of a crush. But the authorities turned a blind eye for years until tragedy struck.

Read 4 tweets
29 Apr
Israel reports 41 cases of the B.1.617 lineage "Indian Variant" of the coronavirus. Of them, 24 are recent arrivals from abroad and 17 are cases of community spread. Four of the cases were in vaccinated people.
The 24 from abroad are probably unvaccinated. Of the 17 domestic cases, 5 are kids. That leaves 12 adult domestic cases, of which 4 are from the (vast majority) adult vaccinated population and 8 from the (about 13%) adult unvaccinated population.
These numbers are too small to say much. I don't know the current proportion of vaxxed/unvaxxed in daily infections to compare as a baseline. They *look* consistent with the vaccine being meaningfully effective against the Indian variant to me, though.
Read 4 tweets
28 Apr
In a rare case of the headlines underselling good news, yesterday's Public Health England finding that vaccination cuts transmission by up to 50% is actually much better than it sounds.
Why? Two reasons:
The 40-50% reduction in transmission was among THOSE WHO GOT INFECTED DESPITE VACCINATION. That's already a minority of vaccinated people. Most people don't catch the virus at all after vaccination.
Today's ONS study suggests 65% protection against infection after one vaccine dose, rising to 70% after two. So it's 50-60% **of the 30-35% who catch it** who can transmit it in the home. A much bigger reduction in transmission overall.
Read 5 tweets

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