Another perspective on pre-vaccine herd immunity.

There was a post not long ago that featured an interview with an academic proponent, Wittkowski, of natural herd immunity. Here is another view.

I don’t think it is behind a paywall, but the gist is that natural herd immunity will take years and a lot of deaths. And even when achieved, the effects are not immediate.

“In the absence of a vaccine, developing immunity to a disease like Covid-19 requires actually being infected with the coronavirus. For this to work, prior infection has to confer immunity against future infection. While hopeful, scientists are not yet certain that this is the case, nor do they know how long this immunity might last. The virus was discovered only a few months ago.”

Then the question is whether such a route is any less devastating to the economy. Are people going to willingly play viral roulette to bring back the employment and the sacred DOW?

We already had heard from one Texas pol, Dan Patrick, that those of us over 70 should be willing to die for future generations. A generous gesture from a man who had not yet reached that magic age. And whose access to healthcare is certainly not limited. He sounds downright communist for that matter, with a Pol Pot twist. The collective good needs you to die so others may thrive.

6 thoughts on “Another perspective on pre-vaccine herd immunity.

  1. You might remember that I criticized Northam for closing schools prematurely, warning that it would deplete people’s savings and patience, and result in pressure to restart too soon. That is what is happening right now.

    Herd Immunity’s biggest advocates have a very superficial understanding of what it means and what it costs, they have simply run out of patience and are looking for a rationalization for sacrificing the vulnerable to go on with their lives without further sacrifice.

    Note that Republicans, Democrats and Libertarians are all boarding this train. It’s not a real belief, it’s a rationalization.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We won’t know the real tally of viral victims for a good while. I believe it is a lot higher than official numbers. It’s a nasty bug.

      Liked by 3 people

    2. RE: “Herd Immunity’s biggest advocates have a very superficial understanding of what it means and what it costs”

      I see that in my own thoughts. I have certainly wondered whether herd immunity as a public health objective might be the best response to Covid-19.

      My own failings aside, I think there is a valid and important distinction to be made between advocating for herd immunity and being skeptical, even critical, of specific lockdown policies. Given the timing of the piece and the nature of the warnings it conveys, I suspect NYT wants to blur that distinction.

      The authors make a reasonable, if highly generalized, argument against herd immunity as a public health goal. What we also need is experts of equal status to explain local lockdowns. Why, for example, should Dickenson County in Virginia with zero cases of Covid-19 be subject to the same restrictions as Arlington with 1,106 cases? Or, to the point you raised, if we pulled children out of school too soon, is it time to let them return, or must we wait until the president’s Phase One objectives are fully met for the entire state?


      1. You have a point and it is one that many are saying: why lockdown distant, rural towns to the same degree as the suburbs and urban communities. I have thought about that myself.

        Assuming an isolated community with its own retail community, I could agree.

        I think the problem is that people do travel. And many of these communities have some kind of small plant, silos, warehouses, etc. I guess either a list of exempt communities or some kind of guideline such as 25 miles from xyz and no commuters might be possible. But then what would keep an influx of visitors suffering cabin fever and quarantine fatigue from a city to drive even a few hours for a restaurant meal. And in that group there would bound to be some carriers.

        Contact tracing would be really tough since symptoms don’t pop up for a week or more.

        The Chinese literally closed off Wuhan. No one could come in or go out. No one, period. That might have saved not just Wuhan lives, but also stopped the spread within China to a degree.

        The equivalent here would be to close off Tidewater. No one leaves. Checkpoints at all routes and detour back roads. Of course it is way too late now. The whole East Coast is toxic in any populated areas.

        We could have tried Washington State back in January. But we know that San Francisco had some early cases too. Plus it seems the East got their infection from Europe.

        It’s not an easy call.

        Liked by 2 people

        1. My little Isla down south has completely banned anyone, including non-resident property owners from coming in. With a population of only 8,000 they are doing something like an area lockdown. So far so good zero confirmed cases.

          My fear is that with minimal health facilities if the virus takes hold there it will get ugly in a hurry..

          Liked by 1 person

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