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Yucatán making gains on the way to herd immunity

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Carlos Rosado van der Gracht
Born in Mérida, Carlos Rosado van der Gracht is a Mexican/Canadian blogger, photographer and adventure expedition leader. He holds degrees in multimedia, philosophy and translation from universities in Mexico, Canada and Norway. Sign up for the Yucatán Roundup, a free newsletter, which delivers the week's top headlines every Monday.
Despite a dramatic rise of COVID-19 infections, Yucatán’s hospital capacity is still within manageable limits. Photo: Courtesy

Yucatán may be inching towards COVID-19 heard immunity thanks in part to vaccinations, but experts warn against complacency. 

“We may be looking at an immunity approaching 65% in Yucatán’s population,” said an epidemiologist and public health expert, Rudy Coronado Bastarrachea. 

Herd immunity occurs when a large portion of a community becomes immune to a disease via previous infection or vaccination, making the spread of disease from person to person less likely.

For example, if 60% of a population is immune to a virus, three out of every five people who encounter the disease won’t get sick and are much less likely to spread the disease to others.

But Yucatán is far away from ridding itself of COVID-19. On Friday health authorities reported 301 new coronavirus cases, the highest one-day tally since the pandemic arrived.

Earlier: New ‘party tax’ sparks anger in Yucatán

The extremely contagious California and Brazil variants of COVID-19 were confirmed in Yucatán last week, which some epidemiologists believe accounts for the large growth of infections.

However, public health experts say that there is no reason to believe that these and new variants are any more lethal. 

Roughly 15% of Yucatán’s population — mostly 50 or older — has been fully immunized against COVID-19. But this number is likely to rise considerably once the second round of vaccinations for people in their 40s and 30s wraps up.

COVID-19 vaccines have recently been approved by Mexican authorities for people as young as 12, but it is still not known if and when vaccines will be made available to people younger than 29. 

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