COVID-19 cannot be fully halted without a vaccine, epidemiologist says

FILE PHOTO: A small bottle labeled with a "Vaccine" sticker is held near a medical syringe in front of displayed "Coronavirus COVID-19" words in this illustration taken April 10, 2020. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration

By Abujah Racheal
Abuja, Nov. 2, 2020 Dr Shehu Okunola, an epidemiologist, has said that the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic outbreak cannot be halted without a vaccine.

Okunola, who spoke with journalists on Monday in Abuja, advised Nigerians not to think of a natural immunity as a protection from an outbreak and transmission of an infectious disease like COVID-19.

He said that there was no such herd immunity against the virus as there was evidence of re-infection in the population.

“Even if there was, we are nowhere close. Less than five per cent of people worldwide have had COVID-19.

“Immunity to COVID-19 fades after a few months. Someone can get re-infected repeatedly until they die from it. Unless we take steps now to minimise how it gets transmitted.

“No one can limit the extent of spread of a virus. Think about the word viral. It is spontaneous spread. We have to learn how to live with it until a potent vaccine comes to halt the outbreak,” he explained.

He said that herd immunity to COVID-19 was still a debate because the antibodies against the virus decay fast upon recovery.

The expert said that there was a mixed picture on immunity, stressing that the spread of COVID-19 in the world was very uneven.

“Some people don’t believe there is a virus, but the disease is a virus. It has not gone away yet. That’s science. We have to learn to live with it by taking all the preventive measurements,” he said.

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