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The COVID-19 Resurgence – Is Herd Immunity Possible?

The COVID-19 Resurgence - Stronger than Before?
Credit: AFP

The WHO has time and again warned of the second wave of coronavirus outbreaks. After the resurgent COVID-19 has been wreaking havoc in Europe, the World Health Organization (WHO) has taken a stricter stance.

Furthermore, they have again played down their chances for ‘herd immunity’ once more.
The WHO has also predicted that the mortality rate is going to skyrocket because of respective governments avoiding the directions given by the International department.

The All Strong Second Wave

With nearly 100000 daily reported cases in Europe, the pressure on their respective health departments is mounting. A higher infection rate translates to a higher mortality rate. Moreover, such an alarmingly high number of cases would mean that the medical facilities will be overtaxed with the sudden influx of patients.

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The UK alone is reporting close to 20000 new cases each day. Russia, Italy, and Switzerland rank in the top five for the most reported cases.

During peak times, coronavirus claimed more than 7500 lives each day. Thankfully that number has come down significantly. There are around 5000 deaths each day nowadays. Soumya Swaminathan says that the caseloads in the ICUs were rising because of the second wave of COVID-19. Soumya serves as the Chief Scientist at WHO.

Deaths don’t occur as soon as COVID-19 affects someone. Death usually follows after a couple of weeks. Swaminathan also affirmed this concept as he added that we shouldn’t be complacent about falling mortality rates. This is because, as the increases in mortality are lagging behind increases in cases by a couple of weeks to date, COVID-19 has infected more than 38 million people. More than 1.1 million lost their lives to this deadly virus.

Swaminathan asserts that even with speedy development and clinical attempts going on there is still a lot of time until we get anything solid. Added to that, even if something is indeed successful, mass producing it in a month would be a nightmare. Swaminathan is hopeful of initial inoculations this year, but also thinks that speedy, mass shots are unlikely.

The Vaccinations In Work

As of now, there are two potential vaccines that scientists were rooting for. The vaccines are from Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca. Both of these pharmaceutical giants are carrying out trials in the U.S. But due to safety concerns, both of these potential candidates are on a pause. If manufacturing a single vaccine can be such a cumbersome project the manufacturing of billions of billions of working vaccines is going to be an impossible task.

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Like all scarce resources, mass production of any such vaccine will give rise to a ton of other questions. One of the top questions are like who gets inoculated first. Swaminathan says that we all want our health care workers and front-line workers to be the first ones to get the vaccines, but even then that of the health care professionals was getting the vaccine is going to be impossible to decide on.

The way the pandemic is progressing it is thought that it will be a long time before a viable vaccine is ready to be exposed to people. Young folk might have to wait as long as two years to lay their hands on any such approved vaccine. Soumya thinks that her immunity against the COVID-19 and the elusive idea of running a herd immunity campaign would cause unethical deaths.

WHO has given out instructions as it is urging hand-washing, social distancing, masks, and when unavoidable, limited and targeted restrictions on movements. All these are options  to control disease spread. According to Soumya, herd immunity is only possible after a vaccine. A whopping 70% of people need to test the vaccine to break the transmission cycle.

About the author

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Adeena Tariq Lari

The author is a graduate of dental surgery from the Dow University Health Sciences, Karachi. She has an academic background in content writing as well as English literature, giving her an edge in the field. Adeena is always curious about physical and mental health. She is always passionate about research and delivering high-quality reliable content to users.

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