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FactCheck: Why didn’t “herd immunity” stop Covid? – Channel 4 News

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Today’s numbers are as high as 90% of people across the UK Have Covid-19 antibodyFrom either infection or vaccination.

At the beginning of the pandemic, scientists speculated that about 60 to 70 percent of people might need to be immune to the virus to reach the “herd immunity” threshold.

This is the point at which the virus cannot spread throughout the population and declines because so many people are immune to the virus.

Obviously this is not happening as the third wave of coronavirus infection is still rampant in the UK. why?

What is herd immunity?

If many people are immune to the disease by developing natural resistance or by vaccination, it has less chance of spreading.

The virus requires all cases to infect at least one other case in order to maintain itself. If that doesn’t happen-if the replication or R number falls below one-it will decline.

Different illnesses and variants have different R numbers, and the number depends on other factors, such as control measures to reduce contact between potential sprayers.

How many people are immune?

by National Bureau of StatisticsIt is estimated that about 9 out of 10 people in the UK have antibodies to the SARS-CoV-2 virus, either from infection or vaccination.

This partially reflects the range Vaccine deployment All over the UK. At the time of this writing, 88% of the adult population had one vaccination, while 69% had both vaccinations.

Not as good as I expected

Although all vaccines used in the UK have proven effective in reducing death, hospitalization, serious illness and infections, Nothing in it 100% effective.

Vaccination does not completely prevent future transmission of the virus, especially in the form of the currently predominant delta mutants.

And there is good evidence that the antibody test is positive Doesn’t mean you are completely protected Against reinfection.

Also, it should be remembered that vaccination numbers are for the adult population only, Children play a role In spreading the disease.

Even if we vaccinated all adults in the country, and even if we were a little off that goal, that would be only about 70 percent of the total population.

Taking these factors into account, a modeler at the University of Warwick said last week that one-third of the UK’s population could still be susceptible to delta variants.

Delta blues

This suggests that about two-thirds of us are immune. This approaches the 60-70% herd immunity threshold estimated by some scientists at the onset of the pandemic.

One of the major changes since then has been the rise of delta variants. This is much more contagious than the early forms of the virus, and early estimates appear to be too optimistic.

Modelers believe that the R number of delta variants can reach 6-8. That is, one case can infect 6 to 8 others.

This means that 83 to 88 percent of the total population, including children, needs to be vaccinated to reach the herd immunity threshold and prevent the spread of the disease.

And it works only if the vaccine is 100% effective in preventing pre-infection, but it turns out that it is not.

Dr. Adam Kucharski of the London School of Economics and Tropical Medicine said: Set R to less than 1. “

The vaccine is still working

Scientists say it’s important to understand that vaccination still helps slow the spread of Covid.

Dr. Louise Dyson of the University of Warwick told Fact Check:

“It is very difficult to know the exact threshold, and caution should be exercised in quoting a particular percentage of the population as a herd immunity threshold.

“But even if the herd immunity threshold is not reached, the amount of immunity in the population still affects. The higher the immunity, the less infections can be seen with the same level of measures.”

Professor Graham Medley of the London School of Economics and Tropical Medicine, chair of the SPI-M Group, a government expert adviser, said:

“British people are in contact with about half of the people we were before the pandemic.

“With full contact and no immunity, the R of the delta is estimated to be around 7. At half the contact, R is expected to be around 3.5.

“But in reality R is about 1.4 and the difference is immunity. Therefore, immunity reduces R value by about 60%. Without immunity, we would be in a pandemic.”

Are you done?

Many scientists were pessimistic from the beginning about the possibility that we would reach the herd immunity threshold and eradicate Covid-19, even if effective vaccines were developed rapidly.

Professor Paul Hunter of the University of East Anglia said: Looking at other coronaviruses, it is expected that the infection will repeat every 4 to 6 years, perhaps more frequently in the last 10 years.

“But don’t despair. Most of these infections are asymptomatic or mild colds, as the second and post-immunization infections are usually less severe than the first. . “

Professor Willem van Schaik of the University of Birmingham told FactCheck: Vaccination or previous infections provide complete protection from reinfection and prevent the virus from being transmitted.

“While this applies to many infectious diseases (probably the most important example is measles), SARS-CoV-2 is another type of virus that can infect people who have antibodies. Importantly, when infected, the symptoms of these individuals are generally mild, but they can still be infected with the virus.

“It is becoming increasingly clear that SARS-CoV-2 will have to be dealt with for years and even decades. Therefore, COVID-19 vaccination provides protection from serious illness. It is very important for as many people as possible to provide. “

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