Even if achievable, the strategy would kill too many people, say scientists
Like the Covid-19 virus itself, the idea of herd immunity has surged back into public life having been suppressed for months. It was initially touted as a way to hold back the pandemic – by allowing sufficient numbers of infections to occur and so reduce numbers of non-immune potential hosts for the virus. The disease would then stop spreading, it was argued.
The notion quickly fell out of favour when researchers highlighted the high death toll that would have to occur in the UK before herd immunity was achieved. Nevertheless, the idea has now bubbled back and is again making headlines.
According to signatories of the Great Barrington Declaration which was published last week, it is now time to remove lockdown restrictions for most of society and to allow the population to get on with their lives while still protecting the vulnerable and old. Herd immunity would build up and soon the scourge of Covid-19 would disappear.