Physical distancing not weakening immune system's ability to fight off germs, experts say - 2020-05-14
TORONTO -- Experts say new theories being shared online that physical distancing amid the COVID-19 pandemic is making people's immune systems weaker because of a lack of exposure to germs are "absolutely not true."
Dr. Eleanor Fish, an immunology professor at the University of Toronto, told CTVNews.ca that there is no medical or scientific evidence to support these claims. She says people's immune system do not change because they aren't being exposed to germs.
"That really is rubbish and there's zero evidence for it," Fish said in a telephone interview on Thursday. "Your immune system develops over decades in response to exposure to all kinds of pathogens and antigens. This doesn't occur over a period of two months so you're not going to suddenly be vulnerable to all kinds of pathogens."
Two California physicians posted a video on YouTube on April 26 arguing that a weakened immune system could be a potentially deadly side effect of physical distancing. Controversial scientist Dr. Shiva Ayyadurai has also embraced the idea, posting his own video on May 3 claiming that "viruses do not harm or kill us."