COVID-19 and Herd immunity : What you need to know

Scientists and doctors around the world are running against time to find a cure for COVID-19. One of the possibilities that people think may work is the ” Herd community”. This blog talks about my understanding of COVID-19 and Herd immunity and What you need to know. 

Image source – Google ( reference purpose only )

COVID-19 and Herd immunity: What you need to know

What is Herd Immunity?

When most of a community is resistant to a contagious disease, this gives indirect protection—or herd immunity (also called herd protection)—to those who are NOT immune to the disease.

For example, if 80% of a population is immune to a virus, four out of every five people who meet someone with the disease won’t get sick (and will not broadcast the condition any further).

In this way, the spread of infectious diseases is kept under control. Depending on how contagious infection is, usually, 70% to 90% of a population needs immunity to achieve herd immunity.

Image source – Google ( reference purpose only )

However, it is not yet certain as to how many people should get infected for a society to develop herd immunity to the novel coronavirus.

Immunity is the key to achieving HERD immunity. It is our immune system that sends antibodies at the incoming viruses to counterpoise them.

Read – Building your child’s immunity.

NWP Blog - The Immune System

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Medicines just support the method of antibody generation. Antibodies are defenses that we have against any incoming virus. But as we know, there is no known cure/medicine against coronavirus infection.

But can herd immunity really protect us against Covid-19? Is this actually possible?

There is no accepted method, but the common consensus is that, if 60 to 90 percent of the population of a community is immune to a virus, herd immunity can be achieved.

Herd immunity has been achieved for diseases such as polio, measles, mumps, and even chickenpox, but mostly through painstaking immunization programs in India and across the world.

The problem with viruses is that most of them mutate fast. This is the reason why a very effective vaccine against common flu — caused by the influenza virus — has not been made.

Herd immunity in COVID-19

After many months, we only have a rational perception of how long the person is infectious and the possible modes of transmission. 

Research suggests that after infection with some coronaviruses, reinfection with the same virus — though usually mild and only happening in a fraction of people — is possible after a period of months or years. Further research is needed to determine the protective effect of antibodies to the virus in those who have been infected.

Even if infection with the COVID-19 virus creates long-lasting immunity, a large number of people would have to become infected to reach the herd immunity threshold. 

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Image source – Google ( reference purpose only )

An estimate of 60%, in a population of over 1.3 billion, adds up to a lot of human beings. And, again, even if the percentage of people who die as a consequence of infection is assumed to be a conservative 1 %, that still adds up to lot of people who may not make it out alive — in fact, nearly 8 million (10 lakhs).

How can you slow the transmission of COVID-19?

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Until a COVID-19 vaccine is developed, it’s crucial to slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus and protect individuals at increased risk of severe illness, including older adults and people of any age with underlying health conditions.To reduce the risk of infection:

  • Avoid large events and mass gatherings.
  • Avoid close contact (within about 6 feet, or 2 meters) with anyone who is sick or has symptoms.
  • Stay home as much as possible and keep distance between yourself and others (within about 6 feet, or 2 meters) 
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
  • Wear a cloth face-covering in public spaces, such as the grocery store, where it’s difficult to avoid close contact with others, especially if you’re in an area with ongoing community spread. Only use nonmedical cloth masks — surgical masks and N95 respirators should be reserved for health care providers.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with your elbow or a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw away the used tissue.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Avoid sharing dishes, glasses, bedding, and other household items if you’re sick.
  • Clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces, such as doorknobs, light switches, electronics, and counters, daily.
  • Stay home from work, school, and public areas if you’re sick unless you’re going to get medical care. Avoid public 

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**Disclaimer – images used in this article are NOT my property and have been used only for the sole purpose of a reference **

This is a personal blog that chronicles my own experiences/research. Readers must take proper medical advice (if any discussed above) before trying anything at home.

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Princy Khurana (@clanpedia) with proper and specific direction to the original content.

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14 thoughts on “COVID-19 and Herd immunity : What you need to know

  1. I never heard of this term before, the post was really informative. It is for every individual to take responsibility and take all the necessary precautions.

  2. This is quite an informative post Princy. Even I wasn’t very clear about the heard immunity. You have simplified this a lot for better understanding. Hope we all develop immunity and stay protected from Covid

  3. I wish that herd immunity factor work in case of COVID 19 also. Agree that till vaccine us developed following the government issued guidelines is must

  4. Super informative post. I was actually reading this with complete concentration. This was something I had not heard before. IL definitely be sharing this information with my friends

  5. Herd immunity is new term to me but after reading article I had understand what is it exactly and we had seen same thing in past for various other infectious diseases. It was an informative read and thanks for reminding all preventive measures for covid 19. Will help all of us to stay safe during this hard time.

  6. Very Informative. Immunity is the crux to fight with this deadly spreading virus. More than physical trauma it’s mental trauma which are killing people.

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