Fighting Covid-19 by Catching It?

In the Netherlands, the Dutch government has hatched a plan to end the Covid-19 outbreak by allowing more citizens to contract the virus. It might sound shocking at first, but their aim is to build something called ‘herd immunity’ which is a form of combating the virus through building up the immunity system of the local populace as the entire world waits for a vaccine to be released.

A video by VICE News shed some light on what exactly herd immunity is, how it would benefit their country in fighting Covid-19 as well as the various steps taken by the Dutch people to ensure and enforce the country’s overall safety as of recent.

The narrator of the video explains:

“Herd immunity is what happens when enough people have survived the disease to effectively stop it from returning. This can’t be achieved under a total lockdown.”

A simple drawing to show how herd immunity would work. source: YouTube

An interviewee in the video also shared his thoughts regarding this risky process:

“As long as you don’t get into contact with the virus, you will never build up an immunity. Without the vaccine, this will just keep going on and on.”

source: YouTube

He also noted before making this statement how it’s very likely that people would get sick again once the lockdown is lifted as long as a vaccine hasn’t been made available.

This is not to say that the Dutch government is giving free rein for every citizen to simply wander about as they please. The video mentions that they are still instructed to perform social distancing and also notes that ‘coffee shops’, despite being re-opened to the public, are only available for takeout orders. Additionally, those tending the shops must regularly disinfect their premises while working.

source: YouTube

The Netherlands has the ability to try this method out due to having one of the best healthcare systems in the world. However, they’re not expecting nor asking every single citizen to get infected as hospitals across the nation would be overwhelmed without any cure to treat infected patients. Needless to say, they weren’t the only ones who thought of enforcing ‘herd immunity’ as the UK also had plans to do so – which didn’t take off.

In an excerpt of a news interview posted in the same video, the UK’s Chief Scientific Advisor explained how it would take about 60% of a country’s total population to be immune in order for this method to succeed. Eleanor Ridley, who is a professor of Immunology at the University of Edinburgh, mentioned how the virus could potentially die out if it keeps reaching people who are already immune to it.

Unfortunately, it’s still inconclusive exactly how many people would need to possess said immunity with the exact number varying based on several factors such as a country’s total population, how infectious the virus is and how long the immune response lasts (among other things).

Even with the uncertainty, the Dutch are proceeding with their plan of controlled-herd immunity (letting the virus spread while protecting those who are most at risk of dying from it), and testing its effectiveness with a new blood test. The controversial move by the Dutch has led to the ire of many from the medical profession, although the benefits of ‘flattening the curve’ can’t be denied as noted by this doctor on Al-Jazeera.


Check out VICE News’ video below to get a better understanding altogether:

Don’t forget to sanitise those hands and enjoy a lovely serving of JUICE.