Herd immunity: How it works, how long it might take to protect us from coronavirus

The concept of herd immunity is one of several factors determining when society might come close to returning to normal. Here's how it works.
One of several factors that experts are looking at to determine when society can return to close to normal again is the concept of herd immunity.

As more people are infected with the coronavirus and develop immunity, there are fewer people available to contract and spread the virus.

But experts warn that achieving sufficient wide-scale herd immunity to COVID-19 is not likely without the development of a vaccine as well.

Vaccinations are necessary to create that kind of large-scale immunity, as the virus won't just disappear without a vaccine, according toDr. Anthony Fauci, the federal government's top infectious disease expert.

"That is just not going to happen, because it's such a highly transmissible virus," Fauci said in a recent address to a Senate panel. "Even if we get better control over the summer months, it is likely that there will be virus somewhere on this planet that will eventually get back to us."

To learn more about the concept of herd immunity, watch the video above.

Herd immunity: UC Irvine professor explains how it could contribute to slowing spread of coronavirus
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How does herd immunity work? A UC professor breaks down the concept.

ABC News contributed to this report.
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