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Dr. Anderson: Let’s talk about herd immunity
larry anderson
Dr. Larry Anderson of Anderson Family Medicine in Dawsonville. - photo by Jessica Taylor

By Larry Anderson of Anderson Family Medicine 

Let’s talk about herd immunity.  Herd is a great term when talking about animals, but since we are humans perhaps we should use a different term such as group immunity. Remember, a rose by any other name. Group immunity is when a certain percentage of the group has immunity and there are not enough non-immune people left for the disease to thrive. 

How much is enough? That depends on the organism. Measles requires up to 93% of the group to be infected. This means that only 7% will not get measles. 

How about coronavirus? If we all get together, forget the 6 feet distance and ditch the mask, then we will only need about 63% of the group to be infected to save the remaining 37%.  

However, if we stay home, wear the mask and maintain 6 feet distance, then we will need only 43% and that can save the remaining 57%. A good deal. 

How about Sweden?  They are at 6% infected. Not sure how that is going to work out. 

There are only two ways for the group immunity to happen. The first way is for members of the group to actually get the disease and hopefully maintain antibodies. Not a good idea.  Remember only two things can happen when you get a virus: your body kills it or it kills your body. This is not good to risk the lives of the group. 

The other way is using vaccines. Vaccinate a percentage of the group and the virus will die off for lack of adequate food sources (you). Then the rest of the group will be safe.

I vote for the vaccine, but since we do not have a vaccine yet, let’s go for the stay at home model. 

Choose wisely. Thanks for reading.