New York City: on the fast track to herd immunity

COVID 19 Localisations article series

Maurice Glucksman
4 min readApr 15, 2020


Authors: Dr Glenn Cornett, Maurice Glucksman

This is the fourth article in a series. Today we have focused on two surprises:

  1. In a companion article: a terrifying situation in Indonesia
  2. Here we are reviewing an update of our New York City case. There is some potentially better news in the face of a tragedy.

These events hit close to home. We have family and friends battling Covid 19 in both places.

Case 4 Update: Is New York on a fast track to herd immunity?

by Dr Glenn Cornett and Maurice Glucksman.

New York City appears to be on a fast track to herd immunity by the end of June. This is a surprise. Detailed case study and model link. No other case we have evaluated is tracking this way.


Case 4 Update: New York City has been suffering an ordeal of historic proportions. The prospect of what may happen in Indonesia makes the situation in NYC seem tame by comparison. It is definitely not that at all. Many of our friends and families there are in a state of shock at the escalating death toll and the widespread suffering.

We fully expected when we set out to localise the model for NYC to see a long drawn out fight against COVID 19 for months, perhaps a year. Instead, we were shocked by the first case study showing that NYC appeared to be almost halfway through the pandemic. The updated data seems to verify this the the path NYC is on. Some of the points to note in the Dashboard (see the number references in blue circles on the charts)

  1. The simulation in blue tracks the historical data in red closely for new cases per day, cumulative cases, active cases, deaths per day and cumulative deaths
  2. The historical data for recoveries is far less than the simulation because the model adds in asymptomatic recoveries. We have used the benchmark from Wuhan, China where 85% of people who tested positive went unreported.
  3. The peak of new cases per day appears to be happening now
  4. Shortly the model projects both new cases per day and deaths per day will start to decline
  5. By the end of April 99% of people who are not self isolated are projected to be infected.
  6. By the end of May 99% will have passed through no reaction, a mild sickness or something much more severe and that would be roughly the definition of herd immunity. 25,000 would die and anyone self isolation would remain susceptible.

NYC appears to be on a fast, but very painful, track to herd immunity.

It is very hard to believe that this almost seems like a good news story. But barring the emergence of data we do not have access to we cannot come to any other conclusion. By mid summer NYC could start to return to a semblance of normalcy.

Acknowledgements: This was a rapidly assembled team effort.

Special thanks to Dr Hans Schepers and Dr Kim Warren for modelling help and all the synthesis and insights.

Thanks to all the others providing key inputs to these case studies article: Stephen Allott, Dr Andreas Coutras, Dr. Pantelis Katharios, Barbara Mester

And again we are really grateful to John Hill and Chris Spencer for creating the Sheetless modelling platform: we have learned how to use so rapidly and now we can seek feedback from anyone, anywhere, for free, on our live model.


We believe these results are accurate, but we cannot guarantee that. Due to the urgency of the Covid-19 Crisis we have used a fast prototyping approach and released results and models before they are fully tested in the hope that the will be used and any flaws that may exist will be identified and you will let us know so we can make improvements. We have also deliberately invited high school students to work with us so we can try to ensure the tool only require that level of skill. We have no special access to information, everything we have used as inputs is publicly available and it is possible material facts may surface that would change the results. If you have relevant information you can share to help us improve our models and analysis we hope you will get in touch. If you are interested in Localising the model for your area please get in touch.



Maurice Glucksman

Investor and analyst focused on disruption. Former equity analyst and management consultant with Engineering and Management degrees from MIT and U of Michigan