There is a Ben Shapiro tweet that says:

For a variety of reasons, many Americans seem to think that "flattening the curve" means that fewer Americans will get covid-19 total. This is inaccurate. The same number of Americans will get it over time, but the time delay means our systems aren't overwhelmed.

What does the phrase "same number of Americans will get it over time" mean in this context? Does it mean all americans will get it over time?

Based on available data, how do we go about figuring out: what is the percentage of population that will never get COVID-19?

1 Answer 1


Almost every single person in the entire USA has been sick in their lifetime. And the vast majority of everyone has gotten the flu or the common cold. 1 2 This is because they are pretty contagious and there is almost no way of stopping the spread if everyone is out and about. 3

So in the quote above, Ben Shapiro is explaining that the same will happen with COVID-19. And that makes total sense because the country can not and will not stay in lockdown. 4 Thus it will spread person to person when in close contact. 3 The whole point of a lockdown is to not overwhelm the health care system. 5 So answering your second question, the percentage of people that will NOT get COVID-19 over the next few decades is very very low.

  • 3
    I thought there was also the aspect of 'herd immunity' that was a factor, once 70-80% have the virus, then it will be harder for the virus to spread to the remaining population. This does however make assumptions about the mutation rate of the virus and how well individual's immune systems build up immunity to re-infection. Both of these points are unknown at the moment for COVID-19
    – Marcus D
    Commented May 15, 2020 at 13:34

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