• Five reasons why COVID herd immunity is probably impossible

    De la difficulté à établir des modèles de prévision du fait de la variabilité des comportements humains

    The most challenging aspects of modeling #COVID-19 are the sociological components, Meyers says. “What we know about human behaviour up until now is really thrown out of the window because we are living in unprecedented times and behaving in unprecedented ways.” Meyers and others are trying to adjust their models on the fly to account for shifts in behaviours such as mask wearing and social distancing.

    Sur l’importance des mesures barrières même après #vaccination :

    To understand the additive effects of behaviour and immunity, consider that this flu season has been unusually mild. “Influenza is probably not less transmissible than COVID-19,” Scarpino says. “Almost certainly, the reason why flu did not show up this year is because we typically have about 30% of the population immune because they’ve been infected in previous years, and you get vaccination covering maybe another 30%. So you’re probably sitting at 60% or so immune.” Add mask wearing and social distancing, and “the flu just can’t make it”, Scarpino says. This back-of-the-envelope calculation shows how behaviour can change the equation, and why more people would need to be immunized to attain herd immunity as people stop practising behaviours such as social distancing.

    Changer d’espérance :

    Ending transmission of the virus is one way to return to normal. But another could be preventing severe disease and death, says Stefan Flasche, a vaccine epidemiologist at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine. Given what is known about COVID-19 so far, “reaching herd immunity through vaccines alone is going to be rather unlikely”, he says. It’s time for more realistic expectations. The vaccine is “an absolutely astonishing development”, but it’s unlikely to completely halt the spread, so we need to think of how we can live with the virus, Flasche says. This isn’t as grim as it might sound. Even without herd immunity, the ability to vaccinate vulnerable people seems to be reducing hospitalizations and deaths from COVID-19. The disease might not disappear any time soon, but its prominence is likely to wane.


    • Vaccinating quickly and thoroughly can prevent a new variant from gaining a foothold. But again, the unevenness of vaccine roll-outs creates a challenge, Ferrari says. “You’ve got a fair bit of immunity, but you still have a fair bit of disease, and you’re stuck in the middle.” Vaccines will almost inevitably create new evolutionary pressures that produce #variants, which is a good reason to build infrastructure and processes to monitor for them, he adds.