THE CONVERSATION - White House advisers have made the case recently for a “natural” approach to herd immunity as a way to reduce the need for public health measures to control the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic while still keeping people safe. The basic idea behind this proposal is to let low-risk people in the U.S. socialize and naturally become infected with the coronavirus, while vulnerable people would maintain social distancing and continue to shelter in place.
As a professor of behavioral and community health sciences, I am acutely aware that mental, social and economic health are important for a person to thrive, and that public health measures such as social distancing have imposed severe restrictions on daily life. But based on all the research and science available, the leadership at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health and I believe this infection-based approach would almost certainly fail.
Dropping social distancing and mask-wearing, reopening restaurants, and allowing large gatherings will result in overwhelmed hospital systems and skyrocketing mortality. Furthermore, according to recent research, this reckless approach is unlikely to even produce the herd immunity that’s the whole point of such a plan.
Vaccination, in comparison, offers a much safer and likely more effective approach.
Read the complete perspective paper by BCHS department chair Steven Albert inThe Conversation