As new variants emerge around the world and vaccine skepticism continues, some experts say it'll become harder to achieve heard immunity in the U.S.

Dr. Vibha Sharma is an infectious disease expert at UMass Memorial Healthcare. She said that while people should still get vaccinated, the world will not reach herd immunity any time soon.

"Unfortunately, given the rise in mutations with this virus, herd immunity does not seem very plausible in the near future," Sharma said. "The vaccine does help in decreasing the number of cases. But to get some sort of herd immunity, we would think of at least 70% of the population being immunized at the same time. So, the hope is that is the 70% got immunized within a certain timeframe. Then the virus propagation would decrease, and there would be less chance of a mutation. But unfortunately, the second part is tied to this, because the mutations have started to happen in other countries, and it's a small world these days. Despite some restrictions, there is travel back and forth."

Speaking of variants, cases and deaths in India continue to skyrocket. Guru Samaga is director of civic engagement for the India Association of Greater Boston. Its members are working within the community to provide support to Indian family members abroad.

We also heard about the emergence of new at-home coronavirus tests from GBH News reporter Craig LeMoult.

Click on the audio player above to listen to the full episode.


Dr. Vibha Sharma - 3:10
Craig LeMoult - 12:34
Guru Samaga - 18:31