How to End the Lockdowns Next Month

the Great Barrington Resolution update WSJ

The theory is that for most people under 65, the measures we are taking to suppress COVID are worse than the disease. So, scarce resources, like vaccines, should be used to protect the small part of the population that is likely to die. Don’t waste doses on those who have laready had the virus and recovered, or on people under 65 without complications conditions until the vulnerable population is safe.

Once they are protected, open the economy, let people take the precautions they choose, and let herd immunity happen through the combination of continued vaccination and the recovery of healthy, young people who aren’t at much risk.

COVID is only an emergency, justifying closing down the economy, because people die. Stop the dying and the emergency is over.

51 thoughts on “How to End the Lockdowns Next Month

  1. Death is not the only outcome of a case of Covid-19. For many it is something that will leave them with damaged organs and shortened lives. Even if they survive in the short term. And given the broken state of our Trumpcare medical system for those under 65, becoming infected will leave millions financially ruined for life.

    Things are rarely as simple as simple minds think they should be.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I know a member of the family who contracted COVID early this year. That actual illness period was like a debilitating flu, but not life threatening. He still cannot smell or taste as well as before, but more concerning is that some foods smell terrible. Almost like feces.

      And this is about 9 months later. He is young, 50 and in great physical health.

      This is not an isolated case either.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. The loss or alteration of taste and smell lasts longer the older you are, but like everything else, early intervention with antivirals is the best way to avoid the problem.

        Which, by the way, is another reason to prioritize the elderly. We don’t have enough of the monoclonal antibody or convalescent plasma supplies to use them routinely on an early, outpatient basis for every case, so they are reserved for high risk patients.

        But while fewer than 1 in 20 young people are high risk, old people are all high risk, So, if the elders are protected by vaccination, there will be enough antivirals to go around for the high risk young people, but not enough if we do it the other way around.

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    2. Ah, so the 50,000 epidemiologists and physicians who are signatories to the Great Barrington Resolution are simple minded?

      Well, thank goodness we have your medical expertise to set them straight. Please do tell us where they are wrong.

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          1. so, there are other opinions.

            But note the title I assigned. It is an update. taking into account the release of vaccines. At the time the this critique was written, the proclamation was just about extreme social distancing for the elderly and at risk.

            Valid criticisms in the absence of a vaccine are not valid today.

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      1. “. . . do tell us where they are wrong.”

        This is not a medical question so your jab about medical expertise is a swing and a miss. And, in case you have forgotten these Great Barrington “experts” have been unable to persuade the bulk of the public health science community.

        What is simpleminded is . . .

        1. Essentially ignoring all the damage done physically and financially when a younger person contracts Covid-19. In spite of what Dear Leader keeps saying, it is far worse than the flu with a good chance of doing permanent physical and financial harm to whoever gets it.

        2. All deaths are not equal. A person who dies at 30 loses a lot more than a person who dies at 80.

        3. Letting the disease run amok among younger people puts older people at greater risk because there are that many more spreaders. Isolating the vulnerable is one of those a priori ideas that is very difficult to implement in practice.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I think that too many people totally downplay the risk to younger people, including younger people. There are still risks, mainly unknown, but some risk, which I believe are still greater than most take in conducting everyday life. Now, I am not for long full lockdowns, but I do wish there were more compliance with mask wearing, social distancing, and large indoor gatherings in public spaces. Some sources that I have read recently:

    https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/coronavirus/coronavirus-and-covid-19-younger-adults-are-at-risk-too

    From the article: “Data from one study shows that of more than 3,000 adults ages 18 to 34 who contracted COVID-19 and became sick enough to require hospital care, 21% ended up in intensive care, 10% were placed on a breathing machine and 2.7% died,”

    https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2020/09/what-young-healthy-people-have-fear-covid-19/616087/

    From the article: “You might be used to thinking of 30-somethings as safe and seniors as at risk in this pandemic. But if a man in his 30s and a man in his 60s both contract COVID-19, it is more likely that the 30-something will develop a months-long illness than that the 60-something will die, according to this research. (The calculation above doesn’t even include the countless long-haulers who never went to the hospital.) More frightening than that, what we’re learning now is what we cannot yet know: the truly long-term—as in, decades-long—implications of this disease for the body. “We know that hepatitis C leads to liver cancer, we know that human papillomavirus leads to cervical cancer, we know that HIV leads to certain cancers,” Howard Forman, a health-policy professor at Yale, told James Hamblin and Katherine Wells of The Atlantic. “We have no idea whether having had this infection means that, 10 years from now, you have an elevated risk of lymphoma.”‪

    Liked by 4 people

      1. You continue to be focused on “old” people (can’t imagine why?). How about high risk groups who CAN’T isolate or have access to quality health care.

        I can’t tell wether you’re channeling Atlas or Koch, maybe both?

        Liked by 2 people

        1. You can imagine what you want. My personal situation notwithstanding. there are scores of reasons why older people should be protected first.

          Aside from the fact that they are more likely to die(their lives have value too.) they are also more likely to overwhelm the health care system. If they remain unprotected until April, with the virus surging, we do not have the capacity to handle the burden.

          Further, there are effective antiviral measures, monoclonal antibodies and convalescent plasma, but they must be used BEOFRE a patient is seriously ill. There is not enough to treat everyone who gets infected, so they are reserved for those at high risk(without regard for ability to pay)

          If young people are unprotected by vaccine, maybe 1 in 20 will be high risk and there will be enough of the antivirals to treat them, but if the elderly and those with known comorbidities are unprotected, they are ALL high risk and there will not be enough.

          So, either way, EVERYONE not in a politically empowered group is safer if older people are protected and are not using up our medical resources.

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      2. You think you are isolated now, imagine we went the natural (no vaccine) herd immunity route as proposed in the original Barrington report months ago.

        It is almost impossible to protect the vulnerable if the virus is uncontrolled in the general population. Sweden indicated that.

        The bulk of Americans, unfortunately, are overweight or have some underlying problems like diabetes. We can’t even fill the ranks of the military due partly to the physical lack of fitness in our younger population.

        Of course cold calculation would seem to favor a rampant pandemic as the unfit, old and non-productive die out leaving us a nation of supermen. 😈

        Liked by 2 people

  3. There is some confusion regarding the Great Barrington Proclamation and the update I referenced. I want to clarify the differences

    When it originally came out, the GBP idea was for the High Risk population(over 65 or younger with comorbidities)
    to hunker down and then drop our guard and let the younger population reach herd immunity by getting infected and recovering. I was opposed to that for a number of reasons.

    First, there is a limit to the effectiveness if hunkering down, and second, getting infected even if young and healthy is not zero risk.

    Things have changed since then,

    18 million Ameiricans have obtained natural immunity by recovering from the disease.and by the end of January, we can vaccinate our entire high risk population. That’s almost halfway to herd immunity.

    There are a number of advantages to this approach over vaccinating select younger people first.

    First, a lot fewer lives will be lost. 90% of the deaths come from that high risk population.

    Second, the high risk population creates most of the burden on our hospitals, displacing other health care needs even if we don’t run out of capacity completely.

    Just as important, we can make much more effective use of the new monoclonal antibody and convalescent plasma supplies if we have fewer high risk patients to treat..Those medications must be used BEFORE patients are seriously ill to be effective so they are reserved for high risk patients. Protecting 90% of the high risk population with vaccines means there will be plenty of therapeutics available for the remaining, younger, high risk patients.

    When the GBP first came out, neither the vaccines or therapeutics were available, and I opposed it, but now, it is a workable plan that benefits all age groups, not just the elderly, by making more effective use of our medical capacity.

    Commentaries on the GBP made prior to those developments are not really relevant to its current value. The COVID situation is evolving rapidly and what was a bad idea 4 months ago may be the best policy today, and 4 months in the future, things may change again. But for now, protecting the high risk population first makes more sense than ever, and not just for their sakes, but for everyone who needs medical treatment of any kind. There are a lot of people who have deferred elective, but important, surgery and even cancer treatments, who need that capacity

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      1. Nice article, but it totally supports achieving herd immunity through a combination of vaccination and natural immunity.

        It says nothing about reducing the burden on the health care system.

        At the current time, I am not terribly concerned about getting infected, because I know that if I do today, the therapeutics are in adequate supply for me to get treated early and on an outpatient basis.

        But if current trends continue, there will be too many high risk patients infected for everyone to get the treatments early enough.

        Reducing the number of high risk patients needing treatment is the best way to be sure there will be enough for everyone who needs them.

        Again, please stop the pre vaccine articles and tell me why YOU think there is a better way, and what that better way is.

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          1. What? Are you a 14 year old girl debating like that?

            How far will you go to avoid addressing a point directly?

            The therapeutics are in OK supply right now, and if high risk people are vaccinated first, they will remain in adequate supply to treat any younger people for whom they are appropriate. That is not the case if young people get priority and the high risk are left unprotected.

            It’s not about me, alone, It’s about making effective use of limited medical resources.

            With high risk people protected by the vaccine, and younger people left with a supply of therapeutics adequate to their need, no one has to die. Or at least only a few who slip through the cracks.

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          2. “What? Are you a 14 year old girl debating like that?”

            Too subtle for you? Ok. Let me explain. The magical therapeutic – Regeneron – that Trump and his entourage got at the first sign of infection IS in short supply. Very short. As a middle-class white male you have a far better chance of winning the magic treatment lottery that some poor working-class stiff or other “urban” person. That is the simple fact of the matter. How short IS the supply . . .

            https://www.cnbc.com/2020/12/16/covid-19-antibody-drug-used-to-treat-president-trump-isnt-getting-to-americans.html

            Liked by 1 person

          3. Did you read your own link?

            The Regeneron and Lilly monoclonal antibodies are not currently in short supply. Azar just appealed to doctors to make better use of them. They are sitting on the shelf unused The same is true of convalescent plasma.

            The reason is that up until now, Primary Care Physicians have not been treating COVID patients. that has all been done by hospital based doctors, and to be useful. the antivirals must be used BEFORE you are sick enough to need hospitalization.

            Doctors need to adjust to the availability of these drugs.

            But in terms of pure numbers, we have enough to treat the at risk portion of the so-called ‘essential workers’ if they need it but we do not have enough to treat the elderly and high risk populations because only about 1 in 50 of the essential workers is high risk but all of the elderly and known high risk middle age patients are.

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          4. Baloney.

            Can’t you read?

            “The concern, as these drugs were cleared through the FDA and made it to market last month, was that there wouldn’t be enough supply. They’re complicated to manufacture, and Regeneron said there were only enough doses for 80,000 Americans by the end of November. Lilly has 250,000 doses available.

            An average of more than 200,000 Americans are currently getting diagnosed with Covid-19 every day, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. Policymakers expected to need to ration the antibody drugs.”

            The TOTAL available supply of these monoclonal treatments is less than 400,000 units. To be effective, as you have pointed out, they need to be administered very early. Currently, we are seeing more than 200,000 new cases each day. Do the math. Very few of the infected are going to get this therapy. Why argue with this obvious truth. Again . . . “Policymakers expected to need to ration the antibody drugs.”

            Liked by 1 person

          5. Yes, there are 200K new cases a day, but we only administer the antivirals to those at high risk of a serious outcome.

            Counting everyone under 65 only 1 in 100 are high risk. The antivirals will go a long way. the 400K doses on hand would last 200 days, with more on the way. But everyone over 65 is high risk, so if our 200K comes largely from that population, we run out very quickly, in less than a week.

            There is nothing about administering them that can’t be done at a doc-in-the-box if they set aside one room for that purpose.

            But I’ll be at my infusion center Monday for a Polycythmemia treatment so I’ll ask about their plans. A lot of people are putting off chemotherapy now to preserve their immune systems, so it has been pretty empty there.

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          6. “Yes, there are 200K new cases a day, but we only administer the antivirals to those at high risk of a serious outcome.”

            Completely circular. There is plenty for everyone because we don’t give it to everyone. That is called rationing. Given the limited supply it is rational to ration. And we can define “high risk” to match the supply. Problem solved.

            Which, by the way, brings us back to Jimmie’s point which elicited your snark. He was spot on.

            Liked by 1 person

          7. Are you math impaired?

            I’ll try to simplify

            Assume 200K new cases a day. But you only use the scarce(as an economic term) antivirals on those at high risk of a bad outcome.

            If those 200K cases come from a portion of the population in which 1 in 100 are at high risk, then you only need 2000 doses a day. If we had a fixed supply of 400K doses,(we don’t) they would last 200 days.

            If they instead come from a portion of the population in which 100 in 100 cases are high risk you would need 200K doses a day, and you would exhaust the supply in 2 days.

            Of course, in reality you would get a mix of those populations, but the more high risk people in your new cases, the less time your supply would last.

            Is that simple enough for a CFO to understand, or do you just not want to understand?

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          8. You have completely lost track of the argument. Okay, it has been a long day.

            I have not argued ANYTHING about how this scarce resource should be managed. I have pushed back on your cheerful assessment that there is PLENTY. And, do not forget this started when you took umbrage at Jimmie point out EXACTLY what you are now arguing – That “the therapeutics are in OK supply right now” for YOU.

            For YOU because you are old and sickly not to mention white and middle class.

            Liked by 1 person

          9. What I wrote was that there was plenty NOW.

            But if we follow the “essential workers” first, there will not be later. If we vaccinate those at risk first we won’t run out.

            Its not a matter of money, the Fed govt has purchased the supply and it will be available free to the patient so it can be truly dispersed by need (except for the politically connected)

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        1. To answer your question; the road we will be on when we get effective leadership in 4ish weeks.

          Natural herd immunity will continue apace, vaccines will roll out and selective levels of lockdown will continue and ease as applicable.

          Plus mask wearing and distancing will become a badge of honor recognizing that it an American thing to do.

          IMHO.

          Liked by 2 people

          1. In case you haven’t noticed, people are already wearing masks.

            And if we pursue the proper strategy, what Biden does will be irrelevant as the dying will be all but over before he’s in office.

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          2. In case YOU haven’t noticed a LOT of covidiots are NOT wearing masks. You bitch to get an answer and then throw back a nothing burger. Tiresome, and Paul is correct, regardless of how you attempt to spin it.

            Liked by 1 person

          3. I do curbside pickup now for pretty much everything. Groceries, Sam’s club. Home Depot and even the ABC store. I spend a lot of time in parking lots.

            I can assure you that at lest in Chesapeake, not wearing a masks has become very rare.

            Now I don’t go to bars or restaurants or other gatherings so I can’t tell you much about those places.

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          4. Aside from which, you haven’t addressed the important point, Masks are a distraction.

            What is important is how quickly we could protect that part of the population that does 90% of the dying, and a similar part of the drain on health care resources, yet we aren’t and will keep the dying going at a furious pace, for reasons that are largely political.

            I haven’t verified this article but if even a part of it is true, it is very disturbing.

            CDC decisions

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          5. Fair enough, mask usage has increased significantly in the last couple of months.

            If it becomes a focus for a few months the “problem” may solve itself regardless of the ultimate strategy employed, one hopes…

            Liked by 1 person

          6. I understand the phony math just fine. It is based on phony assumptions.

            This drug when administered to people at the first sign of the virus greatly reduces the severity and the need for hospitalization in ALL tranches of the population. If we had enough to treat everyone with it when they present, that would be great. But we don’t. So it has to be severely rationed. So, as was pointed out at the top, getting this treatment might be possible for YOU. It is not possible for everyone whose health and pocketbook would benefit from it.

            You are arguing in circles as I pointed out above. It is not in short supply ONLY if we withhold from countless people who would benefit. There is a word for that – “rationing.” And that was the word used by the officials quoted in the article.

            Liked by 1 person

          7. Do you understand ‘scarce’ as an economic term?

            Once again, though I’m sure you will find some way to distort it,

            There is not enough to treat every infection. Thus it is scarce.

            But most will do fine without them, even though it would be nice to be able to give it to everyone to spare them discomfort, only those at high risk need it to survive. So, as long as the supply is in scarcity, we must reserve it for those at high risk.

            If we protect the highest risk portion of the population first, there will be enough to give it to those who need it to survive.

            If instead we protect the portion of the population which does not need it to survive and leave the high risk portion of the population unprotected, there will not be enough for those who need it to survive.

            Would you prefer to give the scarce antivirals to the ‘essential workers’ to spare them discomfort and let even more old people die? That seems to fit your ideology.

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          8. For some reason you want to argue that Regeneron is available to all. To prove your point you assume that if only 1 in 100 people who get sick are at serious risk – which you define narrowly as death – voila, we have far more than enough.

            If that number was just to illustrate the math, it was a very misleading choice. Based on the evidence, approximately 38% of the population is at high risk due to either age or other illnesses. Plug THAT realistic figure into your math and see the result. Instead of being enough for 200 days, we now have enough for maybe 5 days of giving it to everyone at high risk.

            https://www.kff.org/coronavirus-covid-19/issue-brief/how-many-adults-are-at-risk-of-serious-illness-if-infected-with-coronavirus/#:~:text=Key%20Findings,Figure%201%3B%20Table%201).

            But Oh, you say they can produce more. Well, yes, Regeneron says it can produce 100,000 doses a month. That does NOT solve the problem. Currently the rolling seven day average of new cases is well above the 200,000 used in this math, Closer to 250K than to 200K. And still getting worse.

            Liked by 1 person

          9. From the data note attached to your cite.

            Half of the 90 million(38%) are HIGHER (not High) Risk are above 65. So, vaccinate them first and you are down to 45 million (of the remaining 246million )0r about 19%

            Vaccinate those with known serious problems and that shaves off another 30 million. or another 14%

            Now your down to 216million of whom less than 10% are high risk.

            10% of 200K infections a day is still a lot, but their definition of higher risk is pretty wide, including your women with BMI over 40, They are not the same degree of risk as elderly COPD patients, or cancer survivors

            So, again, if you protect the high risk folk first, there are enough antivirals for those who slip though unknown.

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          10. Yeah, sure. If we vaccinate everybody then no anti-virals are needed at all.

            But your claim was that the supply was OK NOW. It will be many months before we get to the levels of vaccination that you postulate.

            Liked by 1 person

          11. Read your own link.

            Azar said the antivirals were sitting on the shelf unused.

            And yes, if we vaccinate everybody, we won’t need them.

            But the point is that if we vaccinate the high risk older population first, there will still be enough available to treat the smaller number of high risk patients in the younger portion of the population since a much smaller number of them are high risk.

            But if we delay vaccinating the older portion of the population, who are all high risk, we will run out in a few weeks at most.

            It really makes a difference in lives saved, hospitals being overwhelmed and supplies running out.

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    1. Are we sure about the natural immunity of those that have had the disease? There have been reports of people getting sick for a second time. So I kind of wonder about the natural immunity part of your statement.

      And Sweden, who basically did nothing, wishes it could get a do-over on tier actions.

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      1. There are reports of people getting sick a second time. In most cases they had a natural or acquired immunodeficiency.

        For example, a friend of mine had a heart transplant and is on immunopsuppresants, Vaccines don’t work for him, nor would he retain an immune response if he survived an infection.

        A person with a reasonably intact immune system might get reinfected in a year or two, but he would retain enough cell memory that it would be unlikely to be a severe case.

        It is possible that we will find ourselves getting a COVID booster every few years for quite a while.

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          1. Apparently you don’t got it.

            There is a very strong natural immunity in people with an intact immune system, but it fades over time. In immunocompromised people, like my transplant friend, it might not develop at all.

            But for most people, their immune system, after the infection has passed, recycles the antibodies it made. If it didn’t, your blood would get too thick to flow as you accumulated antibodies to every cold, fever and splinter you ever got.

            But you have memory cells that store the code to make those antibodies again very quickly, should you become infected at some future time. A repeat infection would likely get slapped down before you even knew you were ill.

            But sometimes viruses mutate in the interim and the remembered antibodies are no longer appropriate. That’s why you need a different flu shot every year.

            So, yes, natural immunity, but maybe not permanent, and maybe only partial

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