August 27, 2020
A Brazilian city where the dead bodies of coronavirus victims had to be piled up in refrigerated trucks may have reached herd immunity against the disease without a lockdown, scientists say.
Manaus has witnessed a sharp but unexplained fall in Covid-19 cases, deaths and hospitalisations — despite a lack of control measures, suggesting the coronavirus has naturally fizzled out.
The city, situated in the middle of a rainforest, was ravaged by the coronavirus at the start of the pandemic. It made international headlines four months ago when drone images captured bulldozers digging mass graves for Covid-19 victims.
Hundreds of bodies were stored in refrigerated trucks in scenes described by the city’s mayor as a ‘horror movie’.
But unlike the majority of Asia and Europe, the city never imposed a lockdown, strict social distancing rules or enforced face masks. Brazil’s president was a vocal critic against the measures, which have crippled economies but saved lives.
Jarbas Barbosa da Silva, assistant director of the Pan American Health Organisation, claimed the peak of the outbreak was very strong, which may have produced some kind of ‘collective immunity’.
But he added the city, in the Amazonas state, had ‘paid a very large price’. Figures show it has suffered 3,300 deaths among the 1.8million residents — the equivalent of one in 500 residents being killed by the virus.
Herd immunity would mean a country is no longer at risk of Covid-19. However, to achieve it, up to 70 per cent of the population needs to have had the virus, which in turn would see millions of people die. Scientists still don’t know the death rate of the disease for certain but believe it kills around 0.6 per cent of all patients, most of whom are elderly.
This article was posted: Thursday, August 27, 2020 at 3:50 am