India’s Herd Immunity : A Myth or a Reality? | Self Immune
With an astonishingly high number of cases across India , the capital New Delhi has already witnessed 30% of its population having infected themselves with the virus , while Pune had over 50% of its residents affected and the slums of Mumbai having seen 60% of infection and recovery. These are the findings of the recent serological survey inferring to a higher level of exposure and confirming to what the experts say that the outbreak number can be much more than the official figures.
But there is a different inference also that suggests that people have developed resistance to the COVID-19 virus in some pockets leading to a slowdown in spread. Herd immunity may have been achieved in these community pockets.
The theory that when a major portion of the population has developed resistance to a pathogen to hamper the onward spread of the virus – through the route of natural infection instead of a vaccination is subject to speculations and is heavily disputed. This presents an important question as to the longevity of the antigens and whether a re-infection can occur if they deplete.
Sweden , which took a rather liberal route with no lockdowns , in order to develop a herd immunity is a bad case to quote but India has performed exceedingly better on this front , though unintentionally. The recent surveys in dense Mumbai slums show that the virus spread has been slowed down as well as Delhi’s cases have fallen from their peak. Delhi has been criticized for relying too much on the rapid antigen tests which are grossly misleading but its hospitals are reporting empty beds , something totally different from months ago.
Despite a slowdown in infections , there has been a surge in cases in the rural hinterland , which is an alarming sign as those regions lack robust healthcare facilities. India has to tackle the virus at all levels to breathe a sigh of relief.