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The new coronavirus which led to the outbreak of a pandemic disease has brought up issues about a phenomenon termed as “herd immunity” and whether it is possible for it to play a role in how the pandemic might progress.
Herd immunity alludes to a situation in which enough people in a population gets immunity to an infection and is able to successfully prevent that ailment from spreading further. For the herd immunity, it doesn’t make any difference whether the immunity originates from vaccination or from the individuals having had the disease. What that matters the most is that the people are immune.
With the new disease of coronavirus termed as Covid-19, as an ever-increasing number of individuals are getting infected, there will be enormous number of people who will be able to get recovered and who are immune to further infection.
Martin Hibberd, a professor of Emerging Infectious Disease at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine said a statement that, when approximately 70% of the population has been already infected and then recovered, the possibilities of outbreaks of the disease tends to become very less since most people have become resistant to the infection.
With this Covid-19 outbreak, the evidence at present suggests that the probability of one infected person infecting another two or three persons is high. This says that, if no other measures are taken, herd immunity will come into action when in between 50% and 70% of the population is immune.
Matthew Baylis, a professor at the Institute of Infection, Veterinary and Ecological Sciences at Liverpool University said that “But it doesn't have to be - and it won't be - this way”
The point at which the herd immunity plays its role can be lowered by lowering the number of people that any one person infects the other people. Measures of social distancing such as working from home, quarantining, closing of schools, reducing public gatherings as well as maintain hygiene by washing hands can help the number of people getting infected by the virus.
The herd immunity can only start earlier if there is reduction in the number of people that we come into contact with, said Baylis.