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Is herd immunity the best way to beat coronavirus? Show more Show less

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 our best defence against the spread of coronavirus Show more Show less

Policy should be focussed on managing, rather than unsuccessfully containing, the spread of the virus.
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Herd immunity has worked before

Herd immunity is one of the ways viruses stop spreading.
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The Argument

Herd immunity has proven to be effective against widespread viral infection in the past. An example of herd immunity was when the Zika virus started spreading. Those who gained immunity had a lifetime immunity against the Zika virus and therefore couldn’t pass the virus on to mosquitoes.[1] If immunity from the coronavirus lasts long enough, the number of coronavirus cases will decrease.

Counter arguments

There is no evidence that suggests that anyone can develop immunity against the coronavirus. According to the world health organization, the UK bough 3.5 million serology tests to see if any antibodies were made from people who were infected by the coronavirus.[2] Unfortunately, there has been no signs that antibodies have been made. Without evidence of antibodies, herd immunity might not be an option to fight against the coronavirus.



[P1] Herd immunity has worked in the past. [P2] Herd immunity has stopped the spread of the Zika virus. [P3] Herd immunity will help stop the spread of the coronavirus.

Rejecting the premises

[Rejecting P3] There is no evidence that people gain immunity after being infected with the coronavirus.


Further Reading


This page was last edited on Friday, 22 May 2020 at 01:58 UTC