Public health strategies that rely on group immunity to combat the pandemic of COVID-19 They’re a “dangerous fallacy“Alerts a group of 80 international scientists in an open letter published this Wednesday by the magazine The Lancet.
Allowing the virus to spread among population sectors with fewer risk factors, while protecting the most vulnerable people, is a path that “is not supported by scientific evidence,” the researchers warn.
“The evidence is very clear: controlling community infections of COVID-19 is the best way to protect our societies and economies, until effective vaccines and therapeutic methods arrive in the coming months”, consider the signatories of the text.
They include experts in public health, epidemiology, pediatrics, sociology and virology, among other disciplines.
Just launched #WCPH2020—Faced with a 2nd wave of #COVID19 & over 1 million deaths, a new Correspondence (#JohnSnowMemo) signed by 80+ researchers warns against a #herdimmunity pandemic strategy. Measures to control transmission must be implemented widely https://t.co/wjmFJmddBu pic.twitter.com/Amqgulf1AV
— The Lancet (@TheLancet) October 15, 2020
In the text they emphasize that it is still not clear how long immunity against the coronavirus is maintained after having overcome the disease, and it is not completely understood who can suffer long-term consequences.
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Betting on group immunity, they argue, can lead to a series of new waves of the pandemic over several years and place the vulnerable population in a situation of risk for an indefinite time.
The experience already obtained during the first wave suggests that it is “practically impossible and very unethical to isolate large swaths of society,” say the researchers, who believe that uncontrolled transmission among young people increases the risk for the rest of the population. the population.
The authors of the letter admit that the restrictions of recent months in many countries have caused a “demoralization and loss of confidence” among citizens, which has led some governments to evaluate the possibility of relaxing the measures during the second wave, but they emphasize that it is essential to control the infections “urgently”.
The letter in The Lancet it also warns that the lack of contagion containment measures can endanger the capacity of health systems.
“It is necessary to implement effective measures to suppress and control the transmission (of the virus), and they must be accompanied by financial and social programs” that cushion the negative consequences of these restrictions, particularly for the most vulnerable layers of the population.