Health officials said that there could be chances of coronavirus immuned citizens around the world. These people are the patients once infected with the virus, got healed, and now show no strains of COVID-19 in their bodies. In Germany, for example, the study says that 15% of citizens from the country are now immune to the deadly disease. How far is the United States from this status?
Germany may have the highest rate of COVID-19 immune citizens says study
Study shows Europe now close to herd immunity.
On Thursday, Apr. 9, German scientists released a study claiming that Germany from Europe now has nearly 15% of COVID-19 immuned citizens. Authors of the study found that a small herd from their community have antibodies that block coronavirus to get inside the immune system.
Professor Hendrik Streeck, a German virologist that led the study, started their research in the country's outbreak center called Gangelt. With the help of the University of Bonn in Germany, Streeck tested 1,000 people from 400 households in Gangelt for antibodies.
Shockingly, the initial results showed two percent from them were still currently infected with the virus, while 14 percent had shown antibodies to the virus. This means that the community now has nearly 15 percent of immunity from the virus-- which seemed to be the highest percentage of Coronavirus herd immunity in the world.
The scientists believed that the study could be too early to certify as of today. However, if its verified, Professor Gunther Hartmann-- another professional that is part of the study-- said that "the 15 percent is not that far from the 60 percent we need for herd immunity. With 60 to 70% herd immunity, the virus will completely disappear from the population. Then, the elderly are no longer at risk."
How about in the U.S?
In the U.S., an estimated total of 460,000 was confirmed with the disease, and 16,000 deaths were already recorded since day one of the coronavirus spread in the country.
According to Dr. Justin Lesser, an epidemiologist at Johns Hopkins University, "the critical threshold for achieving that herd protection for COVID-19 is between 50% and 66%." This means that for the country to have official herd immunity, more than half of the population in the country should be immune to the virus.
Though the stakes are higher, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases, said that chances of U.S. to have herd immunity still depends on whether the country will have its vaccine against the virus if there's none, its harder to predict on applying herd immunity.
"Ultimately, the showstopper," Fauci said, "will be obviously a vaccine."
Another expert also supported this claim.
"What really matters is how you get to herd immunity," said Dr. William Hanage, an epidemiologist at Harvard University. "And it will be impossible to get there without a large number of deaths."