Supporters of collective immunity, involving the circulation of the new coronavirus within populations, promote a “dangerous scientifically unsubstantiated error”, according to dozens of health experts.
A “scientifically unsubstantiated” strategy
In an open letter recently published in the medical journal The Lancet, more than 80 specialists from universities around the world recalled that the only effective way to limit excess mortality during the pandemic was to control the spread of the disease. This comes after numerous US media reported that senior administration officials Trump had expressed support for an online statement advocating collective immunity, which has already gathered more than 9,000 signatories around the world.
While a second wave of Covid-19 sweeps over theEurope, several countries have reintroduced travel controls and implemented regional lockdowns. According to the authors of the open letter, the social and economic consequences of the lockdown led to ” widespread demoralization and decreased confidence In government measures to control the spread of the virus.
This is also reflected in a renewed interest in collective immunity, which could lead to a large, uncontrolled epidemic in people considered to be at low risk of death or of serious complications from the virus.
Among the many flaws in the concept, scientists mention in particular ” uncontrolled transmission by young subjects likely to cause significant morbidity and mortality in the general population », Which would have a catastrophic human and financial cost, in addition to overloading health establishments. According to them, the possibility of being re-infected with Covid-19, recently highlighted by a British study, suggests that collective immunity offers no guarantee that people who contract the virus will remain protected against it for a significant period of time.
Unnecessary infections, suffering and death
Still according to the authors of the letter, this strategy would present a risk for vulnerable populations for ” an indefinite period “, And would lead to” recurrent epidemics “From Covid-19, similar to those caused by many infectious diseases before the invention of vaccines. ” It would also place an unacceptable burden on the economy and on health workers, many of whom have died from Covid-19 or suffered severe trauma. “, Is it also specified in the document.
In recent months, theWorld Health Organization has regularly recalled that attempting to achieve collective immunity would result in countless victims, that its very concept was ” unethical “And that any country favoring this strategy was” a really dangerous calculation “.
” The vast majority of people in most countries remain susceptible to this virus “, Notably estimated Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, general manager of the organization. ” Letting it flow unchecked therefore means allowing unnecessary infections, suffering and death.. “