DOH checking signs of coronavirus herd immunity among Cebu City vendors
CEBU CITY — The Department of Health (DOH) in Central Visayas is investigating if herd immunity against coronavirus has developed among vendors in the city’s biggest public market, Carbon.
Dr. Mary Jean Loreche, DOH regional spokesperson, said there’s a need to collect more evidence to confirm if herd immunity, or a large group of people getting immunity from SARS Cov2, the virus that causes COVID-19, has emerged among the vendors.
“Herd immunity is more likely to occur with vaccines,” Loreche said.
“So for now, let’s adhere to the health standards that can prevent the transmission of the virus and at the same time protect us from getting sick,” Loreche told reporters.
Herd immunity can be achieved if 70 to 80 percent of a community has been exposed to the virus and developed immunity, health officials said. In the United States, proposals to introduce herd immunity were taken to mean allowing SARS Cov2 to run its course and infect as many people as possible. Critics of the proposals said it was tantamount to mass murder.
Reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) and antibody tests had been done on 2,191 vendors from Sept. 30 to Oct. 2. Results showed only 33 were positive for coronavirus.
According to Loreche, antibody test results showed that at least 47 percent, or nearly half, of the vendors had developed IgC, which was “an antibody produced by an exposed individual to SARS Cov2 as a means of defense against it.”
“Its appearance in the blood may signify that there may be a past exposure or infection and or a recovery from the virus,” she said.
Basically, this meant that a large number of vendors may have already developed antibodies for the virus.
Loreche, also chief pathologist of the regional DOH office, said that epidemiologists refrain from using “herd immunity” as is because it may mean 70 to 80 percent of the population had been exposed to the virus.
“But for Cebu City definitely we have flattened the curve,” she said.
She said according to surveillance in Carbon, “we can safely say that the vendors, stall holders showed very low positivity rate with IgC present which can signify past exposure or recoveries already.”
As of Oct. 19, Cebu City recorded a total of 10,172 COVID-19 cases but only 206 were active. The city also recorded a total of 678 deaths and 9,288 recoveries.
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