Europe’s Disease Office Predicted COVID Herd Immunity By Autumn Next Year

( According to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (effectively the CDC for the European Union) the world could start to see economies get back to normal by fall 2021 even without a vaccine. The ECDC predicted that herd immunity could be achieved towards the end of next year, even if social distancing measures remain in place as they are.

Josep Jansa, an ECDC epidemiologist, told the press that the Wuhan virus is still rapidly changing and that as a result of this they have been avoiding providing specific advice to European governments on travel. However, Jansa did say that the ECDC continues to provide European governments indicators on the stage they believe the infection may be at. This means informing European governments how many people they believe may have already contracted it and the risk that it poses at any specific time.

Speaking to YLE, a Finnish television broadcaster, Jansa explained how people are helping stop the spread of the virus – or at least slow it down – by practicing better hygiene.

“People have learned to do the right thing in terms of hygiene,” he said. “This first wave is also waning. We believe that the situation will calm down by the summer.”

Perhaps the most interesting comments made by Jansa during the interview, however, related to herd immunity. This refers to the point at which around 60% of the global population becomes infected by the virus and survive. With such a large amount of the population having antibodies that protect them from the virus, there are fewer hosts that the virus can inhabit and use to spread. It results in a drastically lower infection rate and means that people can go back to work and live their lives like they used to.

“Herd immunity will not be achieved until the Autumn of 20201, not here in Stockholm either,” he said. “There will be some degree of protection, but herd protection requires that 60 per cent of people have contracted the disease.”

The concept of herd immunity has been controversial since the beginning of the outbreak. While allowing enough people to contract the disease could return the economy to normal sooner, it would result in the deaths of millions of people. Achieving herd immunity any quicker than Autumn 2021 could also risk hospitals becoming overwhelmed and, in turn, more people unnecessarily dying.