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Biden says up to 98% of Americans need COVID vaccine before we can return to 'normal' life

Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

Long removed from the days of "two weeks to slow the spread," President Joe Biden claimed Monday that nearly every American will need to be vaccinated against COVID-19 before life can return to "normal."

In other words, the goalposts have shifted yet again.

What are the details?

While Biden was getting his COVID booster shot — which is recommended for the 78-year-old president — at the White House, a reporter asked him what percentage of Americans must get vaccinated before normal life returns.

Biden responded by saying as much as 98% of the country — but said it certainly can't be 75%.

"Well, look, I think we get the vast majority— like is going on in so many — some industries and some schools — 96, 97, 98%," Biden said. "I think we're getting awful close. But I'm not the scientist."

"But one thing for certain: A quarter of the country can't go unvaccinated and us not continue to have a problem," the president declared.

What is the actual number?

The herd immunity threshold — the percentage of immunity in a population to stop community spread of a certain disease or virus — for COVID-19 is not known.

The unknown, however, has not stopped public health leaders, like Dr. Anthony Fauci, from revising the threshold.

In fact, Fauci has admitted to increasing his public prediction of the COVID herd immunity threshold to coerce more Americans to get vaccinated.

For example, Fauci first estimated last year that 60%-70% of the population would need vaccination to achieve herd immunity. He revised that forecast several times, eventually telling the New York Times that as much as 90% of the population needs vaccination.

The Times reported that Fauci admitted to revising his estimate to deceive the public. "Dr. Fauci acknowledged that he had slowly but deliberately been moving the goal posts. He is doing so, he said, partly based on new science, and partly on his gut feeling that the country is finally ready to hear what he really thinks," the paper said.

Calculating the herd immunity threshold, of course, should also take into consideration the percentage of a population that gained immunity naturally through infection.

For his part, Fauci has said he doesn't have a "really firm answer" on why individuals who have been infected with COVID-19 should be subject to vaccine mandates.

According to the latest data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 55.4% of the entire U.S. population is fully vaccinated against COVID-19, which includes two-thirds of all U.S. adults.

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