Coronavirus Outbreak Explained: What Is Herd Immunity And Can It Control The Coronavirus Pandemic?

Coronavirus Outbreak Explained: What Is Herd Immunity And Can It Control The Coronavirus Pandemic?

As the world grapples to find ways to end the COVID-19 pandemic, there is an increasing discourse on pursuing herd immunity to overcome the disease. Here is what is herd immunity
What Is Herd Immunity And Can It Control The Coronavirus Pandemic?Is developing herd immunity really a remedy to COVID-19 or is it a risky way of handling the pandemic that can even backfire? Experts explain
Highlights
  • Herd immunity can be achieved through vaccination or getting infected: WHO
  • At least 60% of the population must become immune
  • In absence of a vaccine, herd Immunity can be dangerous: Experts

New Delhi: The current COVID-19 pandemic is still expanding its reach even though most countries across the world have restrictions in place including strict lockdowns and social distancing norms to cut down the spread of the virus. Based on what experts know about the novel coronavirus, can a phenomenon called ‘herd immunity’ be an answer to this crisis? The United Kingdom and the Netherlands were the first countries to take herd immunity approach in dealing with COVID-19. However, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has warned that “herd immunity” strategy is experimental at best and dangerous at worst. National health organisations like National Institute of Epidemiology, Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI) have also highlighted that this process could harm a large number of individuals. The UK has now given up on its herd immunity building approach.

Also Read: Coronavirus Explainer: Why Is A Lockdown Important?

NDTV spoke to some experts to understand what is this phenomenon and what role can it play, if at all, in overcoming the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

According to Dr. Ambarish Dutta, Associate Professor, Indian Institute of Public Health (IIPH) Bhubaneswar, herd immunity is a uniform amount of immunity that at least 60 per cent of the population in a community, in case of COVID-19, must develop to slow down the spread of infection. He said,

When enough of the population is resistant to a germ, its spread stops naturally because not enough people are able to transmit it.

How Can A Country Achieve Herd Immunity?

According to Dr. Dutta, herd immunity can be achieved in two ways. The first way is through mass vaccinations, which for COVID-19, is still under development. The second way is through the infection which means that a person gets infected and after a while, they develop antibodies to fight the infection and thus become immune to it. Since currently, the vaccine for COVID-19 is absent; countries around the globe like, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Sweden and Holland are experimenting with the second method.

Elaborating on the phenomenon, Dr. Rakesh Sahay, Endocrinologist and Diabetologist, and Professor at Osmania Medical College in Hyderabad, said that there are a large number of people who are asymptomatic – who show no symptoms at all or have just mild symptoms like mild fever, mild cough. Most of these people will recover from the virus without getting hospitalized, he said. This will contribute to increasing the herd immunity, Dr. Sahay added. He said,

Once a lot of people develop the infection, about 80 per cent of them have mild symptoms but they overcome the virus and develop immunity. This happens as Immunoglobulin M (IgM) levels increase in their body initially and then Immunoglobulin E (IgE) levels. IgM is mainly found in blood and is the first antibody that the body makes when it fights a new infection. IgE is normally found in small amounts in the blood but the number may be higher when the body overreacts to allergens or is fighting an infection from a parasite. This immunity helps in preventing re-infections and when a large extent of the population develops this immunity then the risk of new infection or cases decrease.

Also Read: COVID-19 Outbreak: Why Are Asymptomatic Patients, A Worry For India? Doctors Explain 

Risks Involved in building herd immunity through infections

While it may prove to be effective in the long run, shooting for herd immunity right away would be a dangerous strategy especially because there is no vaccination, according to experts. This is because a large number of people will become severely ill causing a sudden boom in sick people needing hospital or ICU (Intensive Care Unit) care, ventilators or oxygen support which will overwhelm the healthcare system of the country.

Dr. Dutta pointed out that the effectiveness of herd immunity approach for a country will depend on the structure of the population of that country. He said,

In India, the dominating population is of youth. Young people are generally healthier with a stronger immune system than the elderlies. They can fight with the infection and build immunity against it in a much faster way. This is true with any kinds of viral infection. However, in Europe, much of the population is older because of which these countries there have experienced more severity and more fatality as far as COVID-19 is concerned. Since the immunity is low among most of the population, depending on herd-immunity through infection is not a wise step considering the gravity of the pandemic. Great Britain tried herd-immunity, it failed very badly.

Earlier in a tweet, Richard Horton, editor of the British medical journal ‘The Lancet’, also said that the British government is “playing roulette with the public”.

Dr. Dutta added that countries like Sweden and Holland are also trying herd immunity. They are not discouraging the younger population from moving around. These countries, as per Dr. Dutta are taking the risk of letting the youngsters get the infection so that they can become immune to it, assuming that they have a strong immune system. However, he highlighted that there is no guarantee that they will not get severely ill or there will not be any long term effect on their body due to the infection or when they come home, they will not infect the older people in the house. Denmark is another country that is gearing up to go the ‘herd-immunity path’ and ease the lockdown currently imposed.

He said,

We don’t know enough about the novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV 2. There is a lack of evidence around the science of this virus. Thus the immunology for the virus is also not known yet.

WHO director-general Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus at a media briefing has also emphasized on not easing the lockdown restrictions as only a tiny proportion of the global population, maybe as few as 2 per cent or 3 per cent, appears to have antibodies against coronavirus.

The experts recommend that while the social distancing norms must remain enforced, the health authorities and policymakers should be cautious about herd immunity as there is no shortcut and the country should ideally try to achieve herd immunity through vaccination.

Also Read: Nutrition And COVID-19: Drink Ample Water, Eat Unprocessed Food, Advises WHO To Lower Risks Of Infections

World

1,06,87,558Cases
46,95,119Active
54,76,311Recovered
5,16,128Deaths
Coronavirus has spread to 188 countries. The total confirmed cases worldwide are 1,06,87,558 and 5,16,128 have died; 46,95,119 are active cases and 54,76,311 have recovered as on July 2, 2020 at 4:07 am.

India

6,04,641 19148Cases
2,26,947 6833Active
3,59,860 11881Recovered
17,834 434Deaths
In India, there are 6,04,641 confirmed cases including 17,834 deaths. The number of active cases is 2,26,947 and 3,59,860 have recovered as on July 2, 2020 at 2:30 am.

State & District Details

State Cases Active Recovered Deaths
DistrictCases
Akola757
Aurangabad1974
Dhule228
Jalgaon1039
Mumbai45478
Mumbai Suburban5363
Nagpur692
Nashik1575
Palghar1421
Pune9920
Satara629
Solapur1291
Thane13660
Yavatmal150
Ahmednagar190
Amravati291
Beed54
Bhandara41
Buldhana88
Chandrapur32
Hingoli208
Jalna201
Kolhapur646
Latur139
Nanded176
Nandurbar42
Parbhani78
Raigad1462
Ratnagiri350
Sangli145
Gadchiroli42
gondia69
Osmanabad125
Sindhudurg114
Wardha11
Washim13

180298 5537

79091 3096

93154 2243

8053 198

DistrictCases
Chittoor319
Guntur511
Krishna557
Kurnool795
Sri Potti Sriramulu Nell*296
Anantapur428
East Godavari356
Prakasam104
Srikakulam183
Visakhapatnam103
West Godavari199
Y.S.R.205
Vizianagaram23

15252 657

8071 174

6988 477

193 6

DistrictCases
Bengaluru Rural40
Bengaluru Urban529
Mysuru107
Bagalkote103
Ballari60
Belagavi337
Bidar219
Chikkaballapura149
Dakshina Kannada179
Dharwad61
Gadag45
Kalaburagi669
Mandya346
Tumakuru36
Uttara Kannada95
Vijayapura201
Chamarajanagara0
Chikkamagaluru19
Chitradurga14
Davangere204
Hassan205
Haveri24
Kodagu4
Kolar29
Koppal5
Raichur369
Ramanagara3
Shivamogga67
Udupi1176
Yadgir538

16514 1272

8198 1120

8063 145

253 7

DistrictCases
North Goa57
South Goa69

1387 72

713

670 74

4 1

DistrictCases
Chengalpattu1314
Chennai23324
Kanchipuram503
Madurai322
Namakkal83
Ranipet133
Thanjavur130
Thiruvallur774
Thiruvarur67
Tiruppur116
Vellore71
Virudhunagar185
Ariyalur444
Coimbatore188
Cuddalore477
Dharmapuri15
Dindigul175
Erode75
Kallakurichi324
Kanniyakumari110
Karur88
Nagapattinam99
Perambalur133
Pudukkottai53
Ramanathapuram119
Salem258
Sivaganga46
Tenkasi103
The Nilgiris17
Theni129
Tiruchirappalli119
Tirunelveli433
Tirupathur45
Tiruvannamalai496
Tuticorin333
Villupuram509
Krishnagiri43

94049 3882

39859 967

52926 2852

1264 63

DistrictCases
Kannur357
Kottayam73
Alappuzha76
Idukki40
Kasaragod333
Kollam118
Kozhikode90
Malappuram119
Palakkad224
Pathanamthitta98
Thiruvananthapuram104
Thrissur106
Ernakulam60
Wayanad36

4593 151

2130 18

2439 133

24

DistrictCases
Raipur46
Korba100
Balod41
Baloda Bazar85
Balrampur17
Bastar2
Bemetara21
Bijapur2
Bilaspur100
Dantewada0
Dhamtari6
Durg31
Gariyaband10
Janjgir-Champa56
Jashpur77
Kabirdham52
Kanker19
Kondagaon0
Korea39
Mahasamund54
Mungeli87
Narayanpur0
Raigarh47
Rajnandgaon52
Sukma0
Surajpur9
Surguja14

2940 80

623 26

2303 53

14 1

DistrictCases
Hyderabad2475
MedchalMalkajgiri75
Ranga Reddy183
Suryapet87
Vikarabad40
Warangal Urban32
Adilabad22
Jagitial77
Jangoan8
Jayashankar Bhupalapally9
Jogulamba Gadwal40
Kamareddy11
Karimnagar17
Khammam26
Kumuram Bheem Asifabad8
Mahabubnagar30
Mancherial43
Medak11
Nalgonda33
Narayanpet3
Nirmal21
Nizamabad76
RajannaSircilla16
Sangareddy26
Bhadradri Kothagudem5
Mahabubabad10
Mulugu3
Nagarkurnool8
Peddapalli5
Siddipet7
Wanaparthy1
Warangal Rural4
YadadriBhuvanagiri40

17357 1018

9008 223

8082 788

267 7

DistrictCases
Baleshwar190
Bhadrak137
Jajapur322
Dhenkanal36
Kalahandi33
Kendrapara164
Khordha238
Koraput16
Sundargarh102
Anugul26
Balangir129
Bargarh16
Boudh34
Cuttack155
Deogarh33
Gajapati61
Ganjam581
Jagatsinghapur91
Jharsuguda8
Kandhamal28
Kendujhar34
Malkangiri20
Mayurbhanj73
Nabarangpur2
Nayagarh86
Nuapada69
Puri103
Rayagada2
Sambalpur16
Sonepur29

7316 251

1938 87

5353 164

25

DistrictCases
Barwani60
Bhopal1880
Dewas140
Dhar132
East Nimar266
Gwalior211
Indore3839
Jabalpur276
Ujjain799
Agar Malwa15
Alirajpur3
Betul35
Burhanpur351
Chhindwara16
Dindori29
Harda4
Hoshangabad37
Khargone196
Mandsaur112
Morena109
Raisen71
Ratlam51
Sagar228
Shajapur39
Shandol14
Sheopur26
Tikamgarh18
Vidisha37
Anuppur22
Ashoknagar13
Balaghat9
Bhind87
Chhatarpur35
Damoh26
Datia12
Guna8
Jhabua14
Katni3
Mandla15
Narsinghpur17
Neemuch319
Niwari0
Panna20
Rajgarh31
Rewa39
Satna24
Sehore12
Seoni2
Shivpuri15
Sidhi17
Singrauli13
Umaria10

13861 268

2625

10655 260

581 9

DistrictCases
Ahmadabad17125
Anand107
Arvalli134
Banas Kantha147
Bhavnagar146
Gandhinagar410
PanchMahals107
Surat2311
Vadodara1555
Bharuch56
Botad55
Chhotaudepur37
Dang5
Dohad43
GirSomnath45
Jamnagar63
Kachchh99
Kheda98
Mahesana159
Mahisagar125
Narmada25
Naysari35
Patan105
Rajkot135
SabarKantha101
Surendranagar55
Tapi6
Valsad47
Amreli16
DevbhumiDwarka22
Junagadh31
Morbi4
Porbandar11

33232 675

7335 286

24030 368

1867 21

DistrictCases
Ajmer379
Banswara91
Bharatpur563
Jaipur2177
Jhalawar329
Jodhpur1748
Kota503
Nagaur500
Alwar90
Barmer34
Bhilwara250
Bikaner112
Chittorgarh188
Churu81
Dausa61
Dholpur60
Dungarpur374
Hanumangarh31
Jaisalmer53
Jhunjhunu64
Karauli17
Pali352
Rajsamand140
SawaiMadhopur26
Sikar231
Tonk171
Udaipur724
Baran59
Bundi5
Ganganagar8
Jalore164
Pratapgarh14
Sirohi130

18312 298

3317

14574 354

421 8

DistrictCases
Faridabad867
Sonipat404
Ambala93
Bhiwani60
CharkiDadri43
Fatehabad38
Gurugram2950
Hisar98
Jhajjar114
Jind38
Kaithal48
Karnal104
Kurukshetra55
Nuh68
Palwal120
Panchkula39
Panipat78
Rohtak145
Sirsa50
Yamunanagar19
Mahendragarh47
Rewari56

14941 393

4202

10499 527

240 4

DistrictCases
Agra933
Aligarh215
Amroha80
Bareilly17
Bijnor157
Bulandshahr166
Firozabad190
Gautam Buddha Nagar1119
Kanpur Nagar286
Lucknow386
Mathura129
Meerut504
Moradabad252
Muzaffarnagar117
Rae Bareli78
Rampur203
Saharanpur298
Sant Kabeer Nagar132
Varanasi243
Auraiya37
Ayodhya120
Azamgarh138
Baghpat68
Bahraich73
Balrampur49
Banda27
Basti214
Bhadohi60
Budaun23
Etah52
Etawah46
Ghaziabad794
Ghazipur159
Gonda59
Gorakhpur166
Hapur225
Hardoi49
Jalaun41
Jaunpur194
Jhansi41
Kannauj69
Kasganj16
Kaushambi6
Mainpuri46
Mau48
Mirzapur22
Pilibhit15
Pratapgarh15
Prayagraj30
Sambhal116
Shamli40
Shravasti23
Sitapur32
Sultanpur97
Unnao42
Ambedkar Nagar92
Amethi206
Ballia60
Barabanki168
Chandauli38
Chitrakoot4
Deoria143
Farrukhabad36
Fatehpur3
Hamirpur3
Hathras43
Kanpur Dehat4
Kheri72
Kushi Nagar67
Lalitpur3
Maharajganj85
Mahoba3
Shahjahanpur25
Siddharth Nagar159
Sonbhadra10

24056 564

6709

16629 545

718 21

DistrictCases
Central4817
East2472
New Delhi3405
North3059
North East1914
North West5463
Shahdara1580
South2329
South East2446
South West2391
West4768

89802 2442

27007 737

59992 1644

2803 61

DistrictCases
Dhubri30
Goalpara19
Marigaon50
Baksa14
Barpeta28
Biswanath16
Bongaigaon12
Cachar80
Charaideo29
Chirang6
Darrang20
Dhemaji47
Dibrugarh61
Dima Hasao86
Golaghat203
Hailakandi57
Hojai89
Jorhat24
Kamrup42
Kamrup Metro276
KarbiAnglong13
Karimganj85
Kokrajhar37
Lakhimpur57
Majuli2
Nagaon143
Nalbari23
Sivasagar20
Sonitpur27
South SalmaraMancachar4
Tinsukia84
Udalguri28
West KarbiAnglong5

8582 355

2719 151

5851 204

12

DistrictCases
East District3
North District0
South District3
West District0

101 12

48 11

53 1

0

DistrictCases
Buxar134
Gaya115
Munger188
Patna279
Rohtas256
Arwal52
Aurangabad75
Banka134
Begusarai243
Bhagalpur266
Bhojpur103
Darbhanga143
Gopalganj123
Jehanabad178
Kaimur (bhabua)105
Lakhisarai72
Madhepura82
Madhubani199
Nalanda123
Nawada122
PurbiChamparan138
Purnia135
Saran101
Siwan139
Vaishali87
Araria68
Jamui47
Katihar175
Khagaria253
Kishanganj75
Muzaffarpur96
Pashchim Champaran57
Saharsa88
Samastipur139
Sheikhpura118
Sheohar20
Sitamarhi73
Supaul87

10249 206

2233

7946 259

70 3

DistrictCases
24 Paraganas North1031
24 Paraganas South281
Darjeeling97
Howrah1435
Jalpaiguri88
Kalimpong18
Kolkata2777
Maldah235
Medinipur East153
Medinipur West159
Hooghly604
Murshidabad125
Nadia139
Paschim Bardhaman70
Purba Bardhaman130
Alipurduar39
Bankura116
Birbhum206
Coochbehar210
Dinajpur Dakshin50
Dinajpur Uttar216
Jhargram9
Purulia66

19170 611

5959 198

12528 398

683 15

DistrictCases
South Andamans33
Nicobars1
North And Middle Andaman1

100 3

50 3

50

0

DistrictCases
Pondicherry111
Karaikal2
Mahe4
Yanam0

714

430

272

12

DistrictCases
Anjaw0
Changlang31
Dibang Valley0
East Kameng0
East Siang1
Kamle0
KraDaadi0
KurungKumey0
Leparada0
Lohit3
Longding0
Lower Dibang Valley0
Lower Siang0
Lower Subansiri0
Namsai2
PakkeKessang1
Papum Pare8
Shi Yomi0
Siang0
Tawang1
Tirap0
Upper Siang1
Upper Subansiri0
West Kameng0
West Siang1

195 4

128

66 4

1

DistrictCases
Dimapur20
Kiphire3
Kohima7
Longleng0
Mokokchung0
Mon8
Peren2
Phek1
Tuensang3
Wokha0
Zunheboto0

459

291

168

0

DistrictCases
Dadra And Nagar Haveli20

0

0

0

0

DistrictCases
Ranchi148
Bokaro16
Deoghar5
Dhanbad32
Garhwa80
Giridih19
Hazaribagh110
Jamtara2
Koderma58
Simdega48
Chatra1
Dumka5
East Singhbum170
Godda2
Gumla28
Khunti10
Latehar14
Lohardaga8
Pakur4
Palamu27
Ramgarh75
Sahebganj0
SaraikelaKharsawan20
West Singhbhum21

2521 31

575

1931 47

15

DistrictCases
Gomati74
North Tripura14
Dhalai196
Khowai24
Sepahijala174
South Tripura53
Unakoti49
West Tripura45

1396 8

302 1

1093 7

1

DistrictCases
Kargil77
LehLadakh43

990 17

295

694 46

1

DistrictCases
Anantnag395
Bandipora175
Shopian255
Srinagar300
Baramulla271
Budgam110
Ganderbal37
Jammu138
Kathua53
Kulgam295
Kupwara231
Rajouri39
Ramban151
Reasi26
Samba25
Udhampur155
Mirpur0
Muzaffarabad0
Doda27
Kishtwar10
Poonch35
Pulwama108

7695 198

2734 60

4856 134

105 4

DistrictCases
Chamba29
Hamirpur117
Kangra105
Sirmaur11
Solan32
Una41
Bilaspur21
Kinnaur2
Kullu4
Lahaul And Spiti0
Mandi21
Shimla10

979 26

355

614 34

10

DistrictCases
Jalandhar297
Ludhiana293
Patiala132
Amritsar485
Barnala25
Faridkot74
Firozepur50
Gurdaspur154
Hoshiarpur140
Kapurthala44
Mansa31
Moga65
Pathankot86
S.A.S Nagar137
Sangrur107
Shahid Bhagat Singh Nagar (Nawanshahr)99
Sri Muktsar Sahib71
Tarn Taran163
Bathinda60
Fatehgarh Sahib57
Fazilka53
Rupnagar (Ropar)74

5668 100

1652 95

3867

149 5

DistrictCases
Haridwar94
Dehradun370
Nainital323
Almora71
Bageshwar31
Chamoli36
Champawat45
PauriGarhwal36
Pithoragarh43
Rudraprayag30
Tehri Garhwal110
Udam Singh Nagar83
Uttar Kashi24

2947 66

589

2317 86

41

DistrictCases
Bishnupur7
Chandel5
Churachandpur32
Imphal East10
Imphal West21
Jiribam3
Kakching2
Kamjong5
Kangpokpi26
Noney1
Pherzawl3
Senapati6
Tamenglong2
Tengnoupal9
Thoubal18
Ukhrul4

1260 26

681

579 26

0

DistrictCases
Chandigarh313

446 6

73 3

367 3

6

DistrictCases
East Khasi Hills22
East Garo Hills0
East Jaintia Hills0
North Garo Hills1
Ribhoi0
South Garo Hills0
South West Garo Hills4
South West Khasi Hills0
West Garo Hills5
West Jaintia Hills1
West Khasi Hills1

52

9

42

1

DistrictCases
Aizawl10
Champhai0
Hnahthial0
Khawzawl0
Kolasib11
Lawngtlai2
Lunglei2
Mamit8
Saiha0
Saitual1
Serchhip0

160

37

123 1

0

DistrictCases
Lakshadweep District0

0

0

0

0

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