With the number of Covid patients in hospital on the rise again, thanks to the nasty Delta variant, it is a good time to remind ourselves of that well-worn phrase: we are almost there, but we are not there yet. Being ‘there’ in this pandemic is reaching herd immunity. That magic figure seems to vary, depending on which expert you listen to.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), ‘herd immunity’, also known as ‘population immunity’, is the indirect protection from an infectious disease that happens when a population is immune, either through vaccination or immunity developed through previous infection.
While we know the critical number of vaccinations needed for immunity from diseases like polio (about 80%) and measles (about 95%), the WHO says that until we better understand Covid-19 immunity, the proportion of the population that must be vaccinated to begin inducing herd immunity is not known. So in the meantime, let’s all engage another well-worn phrase: let’s ‘double down’.
The phrase comes from Blackjack, and represents a move that promises a big reward, but only after a big risk. The greatest risk in doubling down our efforts regarding Covid is to our economy and, in turn, our mental health. It’s certainly a difficult balancing act. But one we must, nevertheless, attempt to perform.