Posted on 1 June 2020
Last week, the Office for National Statistics released their data from the COVID-19 infection survey, which examines infections in the community population (not institutional settings like hospitals and care homes). Among their findings: of those individuals tested, 6.78% were positive for antibodies against COVID-19 – around 1 in 15 people.
When a sufficient proportion of the population becomes immune to a disease, the spread of that disease is slowed or halted entirely – this is known as herd immunity. Herd immunity is achieved through natural means (people who have previously been infected acquire immunity), and through vaccination. Attaining herd immunity usually requires around 70% to 90% of the population to be immune.
The finding that less than 7% tested positive for antibodies against Covid would appear to confirm what was already thought to be the case: that until we have a vaccine, herd immunity is not the answer to stopping the spread of the virus.
The full ONS release can be found here. Below are some of the key findings:
Coronavirus (COVID-19) Infection Survey pilot: 28 May 2020: https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/healthandsocialcare/conditionsanddiseases/bulletins/coronaviruscovid19infectionsurveypilot/28may2020