In France, the number of positive cases for Covid-19 has been increasing in recent weeks. Faced with this increase in the incidence rate of the coronavirus, the infectious disease specialist from Pitié-Salpêtrière in Paris, Eric Caumes, calls on the government to change its strategy to fight the pandemic. In the columns of Parisian, the professor proposes to let the young people of 20 to 30 years contaminate each other.
“We are not going to be able to impose the mask on them everywhere and forbid them to gather, especially in the middle of summer. It may not be politically correct, but I think more and more that we must let them contaminate each other between them, provided they do not see their parents and grandparents “, suggested the infectious disease specialist. “Otherwise, young people will be a reservoir of contamination and we will end up with an unmanageable epidemic. Do not stigmatize them, let us tell them to respect the elders. By letting them contaminate themselves, they will participate in collective immunity and it will be more important at the start of the school year, in schools and universities, even if this will have consequences “, he continued.
Would letting young people infect each other make it possible to strengthen collective immunity?
To stem the Covid-19 epidemic, many countries are banking on collective immunity. The “herd immunity” or “herd immunity”, which is presented as a solution to get out of the pandemic, corresponds to the level of the immune protection of a population against the virus. If this collective immunity is obtained, many people will be immune to Covid-19. Conclusion: the risk of transmitting the virus will be lower because it will circulate less.
According to several doctors, the idea proposed by Professor Eric Caumes to achieve collective immunity is a bad idea. “Young people go to the bakery, the baker is not necessarily young, they go to the pharmacy, to the supermarket, to the doctor … They meet people of all ages all the time, so it’s really a completely false idea “, told BFMTV epidemiologist Catherine Hill. According to her, her strategy does not hold water: “To achieve collective immunity, two thirds of people would have to have had the virus, and even if all young people had the virus that would not make two thirds of the population”.
The epidemiologist is not the only one to criticize the infectious disease specialist’s proposal. Yes “We let the virus spread among young people, we have no guarantee that transmission does not occur between them and older people or at risk”, explained to La Dépêche du Midi Dr Bruno Mégarbane, head of the medical and toxicological resuscitation service at Lariboisière hospital.
“Young people are not invincible” warns WHO
The World Health Organization (WHO) clarified from the start of the coronavirus epidemic that people of all ages can be infected with Covid-19 and advised everyone to protect themselves from it. During a press conference last Thursday, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of WHO, wished to warn. “We have said it and we say it again: young people can be infected, young people can die, and young people can transmit the virus”, he insisted.
“It seems that the rebounds of cases in some countries are in part due to young people letting their guard down during the summer in the northern hemisphere.”, underlined the general manager. He invites young people to “take the same precautions as others to protect yourself from the virus and to protect others”. Because as Professor Eric Caumes pointed out in Parisian, “young people can also have severe forms”. Dr Michael Ryan, head of health emergencies at the WHO, reminded the press conference that the disease can affect several organs. “We don’t know what the long term impact is (…) Don’t take reckless risks. The risks at the moment cannot be clearly quantified.”, at-the having you.