Is there a way to know for sure that everything would go to normal if we only use a vaccine? Apparently not. But we might not need a vaccine, after all.
We’ve known the fatality rate ever since the beginning. It’s under 1%. That’s one death at every 500 people infected. Deaths from this virus are influenced by age – old people are at risk more than younger people. The fatality rate for children is almost nonexistent – one in a million infected.
But scientists are trying to find out what the final number of deaths would be. In the long term, the numbers don’t look reassuring. If the entire US gets infected, that means about 500.000 American people dead. Of course, the number would be lower if the pandemic fades.
Herd Immunity and why is it important?
We’d know for sure when we reach the “herd immunity” level. That’s when the virus cannot infect huge masses of people. This means that we’d get back to the epidemic level. But we’re not sure when that would happen. It really depends on how many people can one infect. If the reproduction number is higher, the virus will spread quickly, and more people will get infected.
Scientists are thinking of an awful statistic: 60% to 80% should be infected before we reach herd immunity. But the reproduction number is so different, depending on the time and place. And some people’s health might be compromised from the very beginning if they have pre-existing health problems – that’s where the virus hits hard.
Other scientists only talk about 40%. Others, 20%, believing that the epidemic would stop after only 1 in 4 people gets infected (and recovers) from the coronavirus.
According to some sources, we might reach herd immunity before hitting 50%. Some places, such as Sweden, didn’t have to deal with a lockdown for the virus to disappear. At this point, we can only hope.