As governments have struggled to kill the spread of the coronavirus, policies have varied. Herd immunity - followed by countries including Sweden - has come under scrutiny. The strategy assumes a large section of the population will inevitably be infected whatever is done. Rather than enforce lockdown measures, herd immunity encourages social distancing in public places. The aim is to have as many low-risk people infected as possible. Immune people cannot infect others. Therefore, the more there are, the faster we kill its exponential growth, and the easier it will be to treat the vulnerable. The WHO has criticised the approach, as have many others. Is the Swedish government correct?
Herd immunity is irrelevantShow moreShow less
Herd immunity ensures public health through an immunisation programme
Here's what a lot of us don't really want to hear: the truth of the matter is that it's not just Sweden who are trying to achieve herd immunity. Sweden is the only country who is trying to ostensibly achieve herd immunity.
There is a distinction. All of these lockdown measures are just a slow-burn approach to herd immunity, without any government saying it outright.
In the absence of a vaccine, the only chance we have of trumping this virus is by achieving herd immunity. Sweden will obviously reach herd immunity faster given its lack of lockdown. But the rest of the world is heading for periodic lockdowns and there is no vaccine available. In practice, this means the rest of the world is also doing its best to achieve herd immunity, just in slow motion. Without a vaccine, all we have is herd immunity. Or else it is the end of life as we have known it.