Herd immunity is a fantasy

Despite what science or the failed coronavirus strategy in Sweden tell us, people continue to entertain herd immunity as a possible strategy for ending the Covid-19 pandemic.

During ABC’s town hall meeting with voters on Tuesday, President Donald Trump said the coronavirus would “go away,” even without a vaccine. “You’ll develop — you’ll develop herd — like a herd mentality. It’s going to be — it’s going to be herd-developed, and that’s going to happen. That will all happen,” he said.

It seems Trump meant herd immunity, rather than “herd mentality,” but no matter — the line of thinking he was apparently trying to invoke goes like this: if Americans let SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19, run amok, then eventually enough people will be immune (around 70 to 90%) that the virus will no longer pose a threat to the population.

I’ve previously written about how reckless and ineffective this line of thinking is, and many experts have agreed. The strategy would cause a catastrophic number of deaths in the US. And Sweden, which took a lax approach to coronavirus restrictions, is still far from the herd immunity threshold. Thanks to researchers using genomic sequencing techniques, we now know that people can be reinfected with Covid-19 — a fact that should be the final nail in the coffin of any ill-conceived hopes for herd immunity.

This article originally appeared on CNN. To read the full article, click here: Herd immunity is a fantasy

Originally published on CNN (September 19, 2020)

© William A. Haseltine, PhD. All Rights Reserved.