WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
- WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in a news conference on Monday that the herd immunity theory that officials are gunning for is simply wrong and immoral.
- Tedros argued that the herd immunity approach has never been used as a response to an outbreak, especially since not much is known about the long-term impacts of the coronavirus.
- The herd immunity approach involves purposely spreading the virus among the population to let the community develop immunity to a virus or disease.
The director of the World Health Organization (WHO) has ruled out the herd immunity approach that some experts are pushing for as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic, calling it “unethical” and scientifically wrong during a briefing on Monday.
“Herd immunity is achieved by protecting people from a virus, not by exposing them to it,” said WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, as reported by The Associated Press.
The herd community approach, which some officials are attempting to use as an alternative solution to the coronavirus crisis, is achieved when a large portion of a community becomes immune to a disease through mass vaccinations or mass spread of a disease in the absence of a vaccine.
However, Tedros argued that there is no sufficient data available to ascertain that herd immunity is possible.
“Never in the history of public health has herd immunity been used as a strategy for responding to an outbreak,” Tedros said, adding that the long-term effects of the virus, as well as the strength and duration of immunity, remain unknown.
In fact, WHO officials suspect that only less than 10 percent of the worldwide population has developed any form of immunity to COVID-19, which leaves most of the world still at risk.
Tedros also cited WHO-recorded cases of reinfection, disputing some immunity theories.
“We have some clues, but we don’t have the complete picture. Allowing a dangerous virus that we don’t fully understand to run free is simply unethical,” he argued.
Tedros’s remarks follow reports that a Trump health official spoke to doctors who are recommending the herd immunity approach.
Since the pandemic began, Johns Hopkins University has already recorded over 37.6 million people across the globe to have contracted COVID-19 and more than one million deaths.
Source: The Hill