A new plan to ease social distancing rules and expose Australians to the coronavirus in stages is being considered as authorities reportedly sought to lift immunity rates.

Health officials and some NSW government ministers are considering easing public health restrictions so that young, healthy Australians could be “gradually” infected at a rate that would not overwhelm the health system, The Australian reported.

According to the outlet, some MPs were advised in a conference call last week that the NSW community would be disadvantaged if the state attempted to contain the virus entirely.

“If that was the approach, we’d end up with a large portion of the population who are still susceptible, with no immunity,” one MP said.

A senior government MP said: “People have to get sick for this to pass.”

A NSW health official told the outlet while controlling the spread of the virus was still a priority, social distancing restrictions could be partially eased for groups less susceptible to severe COVID-19 symptoms, such as schoolchildren and younger people.

“We do need it to go through the community at a gentle pace,” the official said.

Scientists said 70 per cent of the population needs to be infected with the disease to achieve herd immunity.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said social distancing rules would remain in place until a vaccine was discovered.

“The reality is that until we find a vaccine, we all have to live with this virus,” she said.

“And no matter what restrictions there are in the future, no matter what restrictions are potentially eased in the future, until a vaccine is found, social distancing is a way of life now.”

This article originally appeared on Over60.