World Coronavirus Dispatch: Can herd immunity really be achieved?

A protective face mask sign in Romerberg Square in Frankfurt | Photo: Bloomberg
Spanish police arrest a man for spreading coronavirus to 22 people

Spain police had arrested a man who went to his workplace and a gym despite having coronavirus symptoms, spreading the virus to 22 people. The 40-year-old man was arrested on charges of a “crime of injury” in Manacor, a city on the island of Mallorca, after an investigation that started in late January after an outbreak in the city. The man infected eight people directly: five at his workplace and three at his gym, the police said. Those people infected another 14 people, including three children, among them a one-year-old, the police said.

Let's look at the global statistics

Global infections: 146,479,113

Global deaths: 3,099,838

Nations with most cases: US (32,045,236), India (16,960,172), Brazil (14,308,215), France (5,534,656), Russia (4,699,988).


Africa’s already slow vaccine drive is threatened as supplies from India are halted

The rapidly escalating coronavirus crisis is having global implications and also wreaking havoc on vaccination efforts worldwide. Most nations were relying on vaccines produced by the Serum Institute factory in India. But the Indian government’s decision to restrict exports of doses as it deals with its own outbreak means that Africa’s already slow vaccination campaign could soon come to a near standstill. Just six million doses have been administered in all of sub-Saharan Africa. The prospect of reduced supplies further complicates what was, for many African nations, an already daunting logistical challenge.

Can herd immunity to coronavirus really be achieved?

Virologists have serious doubts whether a nation can indeed achieve the herd immunity, given the waning levels of immunity after vaccination and infection and the likely impact of new variants. The concept of herd immunity is that when a high enough proportion of the population is vaccinated against a disease, or has been infected with a disease and developed antibodies against it, any one infected person will have the opportunity to infect less than one other susceptible person, halting spread. A paper published by Kirby Institute at the University of New South Wales in Sydney suggests that both waning immunity and the evolution of new viral variants may make vaccine protection levels drop over time, and annual booster vaccination will likely be required.

Marriages in China post biggest drop in decades amid pandemic

The number of marriages in China has declined 12 per cent in 2020 and it is the seventh consecutive year of decline. The figure also represents a 40 per cent fall from the 2013 peak. The drop can be partly attributed to the prolonged closure of registration offices due to the pandemic, but finances appear to have played a major role. Marriages are a costly affair in the country and incomes are not rising as fast as they used to, which inturn is adding to a groom's already heavy financial burden.

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