As testing ramps up, a growing number of Russians are discovering that they have already had Covid-19. Results show almost 14 percent of people have immunity, meaning millions may have been infected. This research has opened up the possibilities of herd immunity in Russia, as most of the population studied possesses the necessary antibodies.
Russia is one of the most affected countries by the novel coronavirus, with cases numbering more than 500,000, putting it behind Brazil and the United States and third overall in the world’s most infected countries.
That’s according to Russia’s consumer rights watchdog, Rospotrebnadzor, citing hundreds of thousands of samples from across the world’s largest country.
Speaking at a meeting of the national Council for Combating Coronavirus, Anna Popova, Rospotrebnadzor’s chief, said the latest data shows how immunity has spread through different age groups.
“Almost 650 thousand people were tested in 46 regions,” she said, explaining that almost 14 percent of the tests came back positive.
If extrapolated to the rest of the country, 20 million of Russia’s estimated population of 146 million may have been infected.
Popova noted that children were found to have the highest level of immunity, with almost 20% of under-17s having immunity.
“14% of people between 18 to 64 years of age are immune, and only 11% of those 65 and older,” she explained.
She added that, in addition to checks for antibodies, over 13.5 million tests for current coronavirus infection have been conducted, with the results showing “a clear trend of decreasing growth rates.”
According to the latest government data, 493,657 people in Russia have been confirmed to have Covid-19. In the past day, 8,404 people have been diagnosed. As of Wednesday, Russia has the third-highest count of confirmed cases in the world, behind the US and Brazil.
Herd immunity in Russia: what is herd immunity?
Herd immunity is a form of immunity that occurs when the vaccination of a significant portion of a population (or herd) provides a measure of protection for individuals who have not developed immunity.
It arises when a high percentage of the population is protected through vaccination against a virus or bacteria, making it difficult for a disease to spread because there are so few susceptible people left to infect.
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This can effectively stop the spread of disease in the community. It is particularly crucial for protecting people who cannot be vaccinated. These include children who are too young to be vaccinated, people with immune system problems, and those who are too ill to receive vaccines (such as some cancer patients).
The proportion of the population which must be immunised in order to achieve herd immunity varies for each disease but the underlying idea is simple: once enough people are protected, they help to protect vulnerable members of their communities by reducing the spread of the disease.
However, when immunisation rates fall, herd immunity can break down leading to an increase in the number of new cases. For example, measles outbreaks in the UK and pertussis outbreaks in the US have been attributed to declining herd immunity.
The recent discovery of antibodies in millions of Russians has indicated that the country may well be on its way toward herd immunity.
Coronavirus in Russia: The situation thus far
As of today, the number of people infected by the Novel Coronavirus and suffering from the associated disease COVID-19 in Russia has crossed 502,000. There have been more than 6,000 deaths associated with the disease. A statistic to take heart from is the fact that 261,000 people suffering from COVID-19 have recovered.
COVID-19 associated lockdowns have caused a slowdown in the international economy, with experts saying that it will shrink by as much as 6% this year. Estimates do not show it recovering before 2022. The World Bank has also sounded the alarm over the dismal economic situation that the world finds itself in, and has asked fiscal policy makers the world over to pay special attention to the economic fallout forecasted amid the pandemic.
RT with additional input by GVS News Desk