Month: July 2020: terms

Herd Immunity

Is Herd Immunity Even Possible with Coronavirus?

We’ve been hearing talk about herd immunity quite a lot recently. Is this our light at the end of the COVID-19 tunnel or just more media hype? In this post, I attempt to get a more realistic picture of what’s it actually means to achieve herd immunity, and what it takes to achieve it. What is Herd Immunity? Herd immunity occurs when a certain percentage of a population has become immune to infection by a given pathogen, in this case SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. Once the threshold has been reached, the chain of infection is disrupted enough that even individuals who are not immune to infection enjoy a reduced risk of catching the disease. In practical terms, it is the point at which community spread has dropping enough that we can stop wearing masks in public. Immunity comes from the presence of antibodies which are acquired either by vaccination (which currently doesn’t exist) or by prior infection. How do we achieve Herd Immunity? For your garden varieties of influenza, it takes between 33 and 44 percent of the population to be immune before herd-immunity status is achieved. That most certainly does not apply to SARS-CoV-2 because it is …

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