The Africa Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has warned that, in a worst case scenario, more than 800 million Africans could be infected with the coronavirus. This is expected if the virus is consciously allowed to spread in a bid to achieve herd immunity.
The BBC reports that according to the Africa CDC, this could put the lives of 8.4 million Africans at risk to achieve immunity naturally.
Wessam Mankoula, the incident manager for Covid-19 at the Africa CDC, said, giving the virus an avenue to spread will come at a high human cost. To date, according to the BBC, more than 1.5 million people have been exposed to the virus in Africa.
Meanwhile, World Health Organization chief, Tedros Adhanom, said relying on acquiring herd immunity naturally would be problematic, both scientifically and ethically. He said, “Herd immunity is achieved by protecting people from a virus, not by exposing them to it.” Adhanom added, “Never in the history of public health has herd immunity been used as a strategy for responding to an outbreak, let alone a pandemic.”
In the absence of a vaccine, according to the National Geographic, relying on natural infection to control the coronavirus pandemic, would lead to months, perhaps even years, of a horrifying cycle in which cases subside and then surge. It reports that even if herd immunity could be achieved, it would be constantly eroded by the birth of children and the waning of immunity in those previously infected.
There have been at least 22 documented cases of reinfection worldwide since the start of the pandemic.
Umm Muhammed Umar