The term ‘herd immunity’ has been bandied about in the time of COVID-19. According to John Hopkins University, herd immunity means when a population is immune to an infectious disease, it provides indirect protection to those who are not immune.

Interactive map of confirmed coronavirus cases in India

Also known as herd protection, this concept can be achieved in two ways. A large population either gets infected or gets a protective vaccine. With some diseases, people sometimes expose themselves intentionally as a way of achieving immunity.

Also read | Unsure what herd immunity or social distancing is? Here’s a coronavirus dictionary

Based on estimates, at least 70% of the population needs to be immune to have herd protection. For less severe diseases, this approach could be achievable. But for COVID-19, the situation is different as the virus carries a much higher risk of severe disease and even causes death.

Also read | Health expert warns against herd immunity strategy

Another term that has gained attention is ‘herd masking.’ This refers to the immunity against the disease that wearing masks gives a community. Herd masking as a concept should be popularised to bring about a change, according to a top official from Chennai Corporation.

The benefit of masks in preventing the spread of infection has been a common notion across the world. Since the virus spreads through respiratory droplets, evidence shows that the use of masks would go a long way.

Also read | Masks are mandatory for all now

At the same time, mask hygiene has to be followed. The use of cloth masks is advised and it must be washed in hot water each time. Frequent adjustments on the outer side of the masks must be avoided.



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