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UK Considering 'Herd Immunity' Virus Control. What's That?

UK Considering 'Herd Immunity' Virus Control. What's That?
(Dreamstime)

Friday, 13 March 2020 05:37 PM

The British government is reportedly hoping to reduce the impact of the coronavirus, which has been declared a pandemic, by allowing it to go through the entire population “so that we acquire herd immunity.”

In the sobering ITV report, journalist Robert Peston wrote about the aim to minimize the impact of COVID-19.

“The strategy of the British government… is to allow the virus to pass through the entire population so that we acquire herd immunity, but at a much delayed speed so that those who suffer the most acute symptoms are able to receive the medical support they need, and such that the health service is not overwhelmed and crushed by the sheer number of cases it has to treat at any one time,” he wrote.

Peston added the British government’s “chief medical officer and the chief scientific advisor – have made two big judgements.”

“First, as the World Health Organization on Wednesday in effect conceded, that there is no way now of preventing the virus sweeping across Africa, Asia and the Americas – which in practice means that it will be an ever-present threat to the U.K., unless and until a mass vaccine is available for use,” he wrote.

“Second, the kind of coercive measures employed by China in Wuhan and Hubei have simply locked the virus behind the closed doors of people’s homes. And just as soon as the constraints on freedom of movement are lifted there, the monstrous virus will rear its hideous face again.”

The U.K.-based Independent explained that herd immunity means that when enough people in a community are vaccinated against a disease, it can make it more difficult for the disease to spread to susceptible individuals who have not yet been or cannot be vaccinated. 

But herd immunity only works if the majority of a population have been vaccinated against a condition.

Mark Woolhouse, a professor of infectious disease epidemiology at the University of Edinburgh, told the news outlet herd immunity can also occur naturally.

“If you’ve been exposed to any infection, enough people have already been exposed to it, have developed antibodies and they’re immune to it, you can have natural herd immunity, and that particular virus will not be able to cause an epidemic in the population,” he told the Independent.

“It doesn’t mean it won’t be able to spread as there’ll still be some susceptible people, but it won’t take off and cause an epidemic,” he added.

But the Independent reported there’s currently “no chance of herd immunity with coronavirus.”

“As a brand-new virus, no one has immunity to it, so every human being is susceptible to the virus,” Independent health writer Shaun Lintern warned. “Herd immunity will only come into effect once a huge majority of people have had it and survived so their bodies create antibodies to the virus.”

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The British government is reportedly hoping to reduce the impact of the coronavirus, which has been declared a pandemic, by allowing it to go through the entire population "so that we acquire herd immunity." In the sobering ITV report,...
uk, virus
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2020-37-13
Friday, 13 March 2020 05:37 PM
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