Herd Immunity Could Defeat COVID-19 Earlier Than Expected

Medical history and past examples have suggested that coronavirus will disappear once it no longer finds enough hosts to infect in the area where it would appear. The lack of vulnerable hosts, which is known as herd immunity, requires an immunity rate of 70% across a population.

A new study elaborated by a team of medical experts argues that the threshold for herd immunity could be considerably lower, at approximately 50% or even less. Such a rate would allow humanity to combat coronavirus at a faster pace by limiting the spread of the virus.

Complex estimates

It is worth noting that the numbers have been obtained with the help of complex pandemic models. In most cases, different models will lead to different values and divergent opinions. At this point, there isn’t a single community in the world where herd immunity is strong enough to combat a second wave.

However, there are certain regions or areas where the number of immune individuals may reach a high value. It is hard to say how the population present in this region will react when the flu accompanies coronavirus during the fall and winter.

Growing numbers

Herd immunity can be calculated by taking into account the reproductive number, an indicator of the number of people that can be infected by an individual. At first, it was thought that each member could get and spread the virus in a similar way.

However, this is not the case in a real-life basis since herd immunity can vary from one group or subpopulation to another. One example is the case of old people that could get the virus and die quickly while teenagers without symptoms can spread it more easily across the community.

As laboratories from all over the world are working on vaccines, only time will tell what will happen during the winter.