World Health Organization chief slams 'unethical' use of herd immunity as COVID-19 response

A security guard uses a handheld thermometer to take the temperature of customers wearing face masks or coverings due to the COVID-19 pandemic as they wait to enter a bar in Liverpool north west England

"Herd immunity isn't a method, however a scientifically confirmed phenomena, similar to gravity, and you wouldn't say that an airplane pilot is utilizing a "gravity technique" to land a airplane".

Some countries around the world are said to be using the concept of herd immunity as a response to COVID-19.

The declaration's signatories include Sunetra Gupta, PhD, and Gabriela Gomes, PhD, two scientists who say herd immunity can be achieved when 10% to 20% of a population has been infected with the virus.

While emphasizing vigilance in protecting the vulnerable, the GBD classifies school closings as "a grave injustice" and asserts that "those who are not vulnerable should immediately be allowed to resume life as normal", while incorporating "simple hygiene measures, such as hand washing and staying home when sick".

Some studies have indicated that antibodies to SARS-CoV-2, the virus which causes COVID-19, wane months following infection, suggesting that the body does not maintain long-term immunity to the virus. "Our objective ought to due to this fact be to reduce mortality and social hurt till we attain herd immunity". "It would also place an unacceptable burden on the economy and health-care workers, many of whom have died from COVID-19 or experienced trauma as a result of having to practice disaster medicine".

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease expert, on Thursday called herd immunity and implications from The Great Barrington Declaration "nonsense and very risky", when it comes to stopping the spread of coronavirus in the U.S.

Managing COVID-19 by allowing herd immunity to develop in low-risk populations while protecting the most vulnerable is "a risky fallacy unsupported by the scientific evidence", warn an worldwide group of 80 researchers in an open letter.

Its lead authors, the Times said, include Jay Bhattacharya, MD, an economist and medical professor at Stanford University, the academic home of Scott Atlas, MD, President Trump's science adviser.

Kerkhove added that herd immunity as an approach to let the coronavirus circulate is risky and might lead to extreme cases and unnecessary deaths. "The objective of these restrictions is to effectively suppress SARS-CoV-2 infections to low levels that allow rapid detection of localised outbreaks and rapid response through efficient and comprehensive find, test, trace, isolate, and support systems so life can return to near-normal without the need for generalised restrictions", the letter read. This lack of data builds upon another unknown: how often people can get reinfected by the disease, which has already been reported in a handful of cases.

The researchers thus conclude that "the somewhat counterintuitive results that school closures lead to more deaths are a effect of the addition of some interventions that suppress the first wave and failure to prioritise protection of the most vulnerable people".

"We can not afford distractions that undermine an effective response; it is essential that we act urgently based on the evidence", they concluded.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases, testifies before a House Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis hearing on July 31, 2020 in Washington, DC.

"Quite frankly, that is nonsense and anybody who knows anything about epidemiology will tell you that that is nonsense and very unsafe", Fauci said, predicting that the approach would cause many avoidable deaths.

The World Health Organization has also repeatedly warned about the dangers of pursuing herd immunity.

The discussions of reaching herd immunity had misunderstood what the concept of it means, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus warned. "It's not an option".

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