Coronavirus: Immunologist exposes flaws of UK herd immunity to Maajid Nawaz

14 March 2020, 15:24

By Seán Hickey

The UK's herd immunity strategy has come under fire as Britain awaits the government's plan to combat coronavirus going forward.

Maajid Nawaz was joined on air by Ashley, an immunologist from Epsom who was on hand to explain the problems with bullet-pointing the strategy of herd immunity.

The main point that Ashley made was that "you can't choose the demographic of who you will effect", as the main argument against the plan. The method of herd immunity was to infect young healthy people only, which was another stumbling block for Ashley.

"You need 60 to 70% of the entire population" she said, pointing out that only infecting 60% of the young population is far less than 60% of the total population.

Maajid argued that the strategy will delay new cases to the point where the virus will die, whereby Ashley replied "it won't die because it's a pandemic and it'll be imported into the country again".

Ashley called for an Italian style partial lockdown before the spread of Covid-19 is out of control
Ashley called for an Italian style partial lockdown before the spread of Covid-19 is out of control. Picture: PA

Maajid cleared up his point, saying that "they're hoping the weather delays it until next winter when they'll have a vaccine" but then Ashley quickly stated that the virus has a hold in Australia, which is in the middle of its summer at the moment.

Maajid admitted that "these are assumptions but thats all we've got to go on" before asking Ashley "what is the alternative" to herd immunity.

Similar to in other European countries, Ashley said "a partial lockdown" would be ideal, with schools and offices closing to prevent a spread insisting that "earlier is better".

Ashley made the point that although there's only a couple of hundred cases in circulation officially, "there's thousands in the community because people can be asymptomatic for up to two weeks" which is enough reason for a shutdown.