ROCHESTER, Minn. - There are many theories on how the U.S. should respond to the coronavirus pandemic.
Herd Immunity is one of the possible responses. It's an epidemiological concept that says if enough people get a virus the population will become immune. That can be through vaccination or natural immunity which will then protect the vulnerable population.
This is the opposite of "flattening the curve" through social distancing. Currently, the country is working to lessen the number of people who get coronavirus to prevent deaths and ensure we're not overwhelming the healthcare system.
Answers, symptoms and prevention | For complete Coronavirus coverage, click here | Iowa Department of Health info | Minnesota Department of Health info | Daily timeline of cases in Minnesota, Iowa | Sign up for our Coronavirus newsletter | Click here for Iowa unemployment info | Click here for Minnesota unemployment info
However, if herd immunity was in place, many people would be living their lives as normal. It would be only the vulnerable populations, like the elderly, who would remain distanced.
Dr. Charity Baker says, in the case of coronavirus, herd immunity would likely only work now if we were to have a vaccine for the virus which is, unfortunately, a long way out.
Dr. Baker said, "Herd immunity only works when everybody that's capable of getting vaccinated does. So, there are a lot of anti-vaxxers who are trying to rely on herd immunity and that doesn't work. Herd immunity with regards to this virus means that people have to be exposed and produce their own antibodies and become immune to it."
At this point, until we have a vaccine, we're still asked to follow CDC guidelines and stay home while practicing social distancing.