/ Company / Company news / Covid-19: an infectious disease specialist suggests "letting young people infect each other"
An infectious disease specialist wonders whether young people should be allowed to transmit Covid-19 to promote collective immunity. A suggestion that is debating … Explanations.
While Covid-19 clusters are spotted in several French regions, the fear of a second wave is present. Steps are being taken to prevent SARS-CoV-2 from spreading too much again, and that is why the words of Professor Eric Caumes in The Parisian divide the medical world. Infectious disease specialist at Pitié-Salpêtirère, he asks the question of "let the young people contaminate each other".
He himself recognizes that this idea is "not politically correct". Professor Caumes indicates that it is difficult to prohibit young peoples "to get together, especially in the middle of summer". He explains : "I think more and more that we must let them contaminate each other, provided they do not see their parents and their grandparents. Otherwise, the young will be a reservoir of contamination and we will end up with an epidemic unmanageable ". According to him, this could help strengthen collective immunity: "Do not stigmatize them, let us tell them to respect the elders. By letting them contaminate themselves, they will participate in collective immunity and it will be more important at the start of the school year, in schools and universities, even if this will have consequences" .
The principle of collective immunity has divided since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. Thus, the World Health Organization (WHO) asserted that there was "no proof" that people who have had the disease are protected against a second infection. "In Sweden, we counted on the spontaneous circulation of the virus. (…) Immunity is not so high and the number of deaths reported to the population is much higher than in other European countries", underlines Prof. Bruno Megarbane, head of the medical and toxicological resuscitation service at Lariboisière hospital (Paris) with BFM TV. Asked by the channel, Prof. Yves Buisson, doctor and president of the Covid-19 group at the National Academy of Medicine, adds that Prof. Caumes' comments "are dangerous" because they "scramble the messages in a phase where the epidemic is resurgent and where everything must be done to block it and reduce the risk of transmission". "The goal of achieving collective immunity is an unattainable dream for the moment", he says.
Another problem arises: young people "can infect people at risk and this is what makes us extremely afraid", says Dr Robert Sebbad, infectious disease specialist at Pitié Salpêtrière at BFM. Yes "We let the virus spread among young people, we have no guarantee that transmission does not occur between them and older people or at risk", adds Professor Mégarbane. Finally, as Professor Eric Caumes himself recognizes: "Young people can also have serious forms, have late and prolonged sequelae".
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