Dr. Eduardo Sanchez is the American Heart Association’s chief medical officer for prevention and a former state health commissioner of Texas. He has dealt with major public health crises – including the SARS outbreak. In this occasional series, he’ll break down various topics related to the coronavirus pandemic.
Recently I heard a medical “expert” on the news incorrectly define the term “herd immunity.” It’s a new phrase for many people, but we’re hearing about it more and more, so it’s important to understand exactly what it is.
First, let’s discuss how immunity works for individuals. A person can become immune (or resistant) after exposure to a disease-causing agent, such as the coronavirus causing COVID-19 in this case. The process of becoming immune includes the production of antibodies specific to the virus for future protection. Continue reading