(p. A6) Doctors in France are calling it the immunity debt: When people avoided each other during the pandemic, they failed to build up the immunity against viruses that comes from normal contact.
As regular life resumes, society may find payments on that debt coming due, in the form of worse-than-normal viral disease outbreaks.
. . .
Figures recently released in Japan show the profound effect exposure to viruses such as flu and RSV can have on a nation’s health.
Deaths caused by pneumonia—a common complication of viral infections—last year in Japan fell by more than 17,000, far outweighing the 3,466 deaths attributed to Covid-19. As a result, Japan’s overall mortality fell for the first time in more than a decade.
It may have been borrowing from the future by creating greater room for viruses to run rampant later. Robert Cohen, a professor at a pediatric research center near Paris called Activ, calls this “immunity debt.”
Dr. Cohen said the hygiene measures adopted during the pandemic bring “an immediate and indisputable benefit” because common illnesses have been suppressed. But at some point almost all children are going to get RS virus, chickenpox and viruses that cause colds, which could mean larger outbreaks when the bugs make up for lost time, he said.
For the full story see:
(Note: ellipsis added.)
(Note: the online version of the story has the date June 28, 2021, and has the title “Post-Covid-19, World Risks an ‘Immunity Debt’.”)