WHO calls for herd immunity approach against Covid-19

Grant Boone
October 15, 2020

The idea of letting Covid-19 spread through populations until enough people have developed immunity is a recipe for "unnecessary infections, suffering and death", United Nations health chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Monday in Geneva.

Herd immunity occurs when a large portion of a community becomes immune to a disease through vaccinations or through the mass spread of a disease.

"Never in the history of public health has herd immunity been used as a strategy to address an outbreak, let alone an epidemic", Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in an online press release.

World Health Organization (WHO) chief Tedros pointed out that herd immunity is reached through vaccination, not by exposing people to a virus.

"The herd immunity argument is therefore at odds with both mortality data" and figures on the spread of the disease, they said.

The most recent example of a reinfection came on Tuesday, when a man from Nevada tested positive for Covid-19 twice. We do not accept any responsibility or liability for the accuracy, content, images, videos, licenses, completeness, legality, or reliability of the information contained in this article. "There are no shortcuts and no silver bullets", the World Health Organization chief said.

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It's another sign Ontario isn't ready for the expected spread of COVID-19 this fall, said Green Leader Mike Schreiner. But, as Etches pointed out, Tam also said people should listen to their local medical officers of health for advice.

In that deadlier second wave, young people, who are less susceptible to dying from COVID-19, had helped spread the virus to older populations, who subsequently saw higher rates of death.

The WHO chief mentioned about digital technologies including those being used in India that are helping to make these tried-and-tested public health tools even more effective, such as mobile applications to support contact tracing efforts.

Alyssa Bilinski, a PhD candidate at Harvard University, and Dr Ezekiel Emanuel, vice provost of global initiatives and professor at the University of Pennsylvania, compared U.S. coronavirus death rates through September 19 to those of 18 other countries with varying pandemic responses.

In that declaration, they have expressed "grave concerns" regarding the physical and mental health impacts of the "prevailing Covid-19 policies" implemented around the world. But it is not at all clear how long COVID-19 antibodies last. For other pathogens, immunity may be fleeting at best.

At the same time, "for every country that is experiencing an increase there are many others that have successfully prevented or controlled widespread transmission with proven measures", Tedros said.

Alternatively, it may have been a more virulent strain of the virus.

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