Public health expert gives her three reasons why herd immunity cannot work

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Public health expert gives her three reasons why herd immunity cannot work

A leading UK health expert has explained why she believes it is not possible to protect vulnerable people from Covid-19 while resuming normal life for others.

Professor Devi Sridhar, Global Public Health Chair at Edinburgh University Medical School, said arguments in favor of abolishing lockdown measures were “confusing to the public” and the move was not overall viable.

It comes as a declaration was signed by thousands of British medical professionals and academics calling for the adoption of a herd immunity strategy that would allow most people to carry on like they did before the pandemic while protecting the elderly and vulnerable from the disease.

Now signed by more than 4,000 people, it says epidemiologists and public health scientists “have serious concerns about the harmful effects of prevailing Covid-19 policies on physical and mental health”.

It says: “The current lockdown policy has devastating effects on both short and long-term public health.

“Results (to name a few) include lower vaccination rates in children, worsening cardiovascular disease outcomes, fewer cancer screenings, and worsening mental health, resulting in higher excess mortality rates in the years to come, with the working class and younger members of society bear the heaviest burden. “

Professor Sridhar spoke to GMB on Wednesday that there are three major reasons why the herd immunity approach – called focused protection – would not be successful.

“First, we’re not even sure if we can establish herd immunity with this virus from re-infection, and how long the immunity can last. We may have repeated waves of it instead of getting a shot by the population.” she said, adding that herd immunity to measles wasn’t achieved until a vaccine was developed that would offer lifelong protection.

She said the second reason is that it is impossible to completely protect the vulnerable from others: “They live with us. They live among us. No country has been able to completely shield nursing homes or other vulnerable people, even if all of them Resources were thrown on it. ” Members of society due to their integration.

“If you wanted to shield completely, you’d actually have to shield 25-30% of the people in society, as analysis shows, as well as all of their family members and interactions, which basically puts you back in lockdown.”

And she continued to criticize the plan, adding that herd immunity is not the right idea because of the long-term health problems that can come with the virus. While coronavirus is less likely to be fatal in younger people, it can cause “serious complications” and long-term problems, she said.

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In the meantime, Dr. Martin Kulldorff, who belongs to a group of top scientists who advocate herd immunity among young people, developed the strategy.

He told GMB: “Nobody is advocating a herd immunity strategy or to purposely achieve herd immunity. Herd immunity is a fact like gravity. But sooner or later we will get there either through vaccine or through natural infection or both.”

Public health expert gives her three reasons why herd immunity cannot work 1

“So the most important thing is how we can minimize the number of deaths until we achieve herd immunity. If we do nothing, everyone will be affected and we will have many deaths.”

“If we protect everyone, at some point many old people will be affected and have a high mortality rate.”

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Instead, the best choice is to shield the elderly and other high-risk groups for a limited time while young people and children continue to live normally.

The idea of ​​easing restrictions appeals to a number of business owners who say their business will struggle to survive another lockdown.

When Pizza Express founder Luke Johnson spoke about the program, he warned it would be “catastrophic” for the country to issue a second lockdown.

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Mr Johnson estimated that a second set of sweeping restrictions could result in up to five million unemployed.

Pizza Express has already been forced to close 73 restaurants, putting 1,100 jobs at risk after creditors approved a bailout restructuring.

He said, “I think a second lockdown will be catastrophic to well-being and livelihoods.

“Somehow we have to pay for the NHS one way or another; that’s £ 150 billion a year. And that means people have to work.

“If we allow a second full lockdown, we are likely to have maybe 5 million unemployed next year, which will have catastrophic economic and social consequences. I think this one disease is receiving massively disproportionate attention.”

Liverpool Mayor Joe Anderson also highlighted concerns about the impact on business.

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He said, “We’re seeing the local lockdown and pub curfew at 10am. This is just insane to me because what it’s doing is having the wrong effect.

“It drives people into houses to have parties. It makes everyone take to the streets at the same time, and yet these pubs and restaurants working together are covid-safe. They have made a lot of investments to make themselves covid-proof.” . “

He advocated more local control, telling GMB that the solution lies in more “collaboration, communication, conversation” between the government and local leaders.

GMB airs at 6 a.m. on ITV weekdays.

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