Have deaths from COVID-19 in Europe plateaued due to herd immunity?


There are large differences in patterns of per-capita deaths in different countries that are difficult to reconcile with herd immunity arguments but are easily explained by the timing and stringency of interventions. Seroprevalence studies also provide an independent source of information that is highly consistent with mortality data. The herd immunity argument is therefore at odds with both mortality and seroprevalence data, whereas the intervention argument provides a parsimonious explanation for both. Although the impacts of current control interventions on transmission need to be balanced against their short-term and long-term economic and health impacts on society, epidemiological data suggest that no country has yet seen infection rates sufficient to prevent a second wave of transmission, should controls or behavioural precautions be relaxed without compensatory measures in place.

The Lancet