Sandhya Ramesh is the Senior Assistant Editor of Science at ThePrint India. She writes about science and technology, with a focus on research, lifestyle, and society in India. Her areas of interest include astronomy, earth sciences, the ongoing climate crisis, and all paleo sciences. She has written regularly for the TheWire, Hindustan Times, Mint, and The Planetary Society. She lives in Bangalore with her dog and two cats. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org Find her on Twitter at @sandygrains
The question of herd immunity — specifically, whether some cities and regions are acquiring it sooner than expected and thus have higher than expected protection against Covid-19 — has been attracting more attention lately. Even if this hypothesis is true, however, it still leaves the world with some truly significant challenges and mandates a continuing vigorous fight against the pandemic.
The evidence for herd immunity can be seen in Sweden, for example, where the case and death rate have plummeted, even though the Swedes still don’t wear masks or engage in extreme social distancing. In London, the bars, movie theaters and many other venues are open, yet the health situation appears to be stable, again with a low death rate. Of course both Sweden and southeast England were hit hard by the coronavirus early on, so if they acquired herd immunity, it may be because they had a larger percentage of the population get infected and develop some form of protection.
Some researchers are suggesting that regions acquire at...