Herd Immunity Is Near, Despite Fauci’s Denial

Source: The Wall Street Journal (behind paywall).

A professor at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine notes that natural immunity to Covid-19 plays a larger role than our public health officials acknowledge:

Anthony Fauci has been saying that the country needs to vaccinate 70% to 85% of the population to reach herd immunity from Covid-19. But he inexplicably ignores natural immunity. If you account for previous infections, herd immunity is likely close at hand.

Data from the California Department of Public Health, released earlier this month, show that while only 8.7% of the state’s population has ever tested positive for Covid-19, at least 38.5% of the population has antibodies against the novel coronavirus. Those numbers are from Jan. 30 to Feb. 20. Adjusting for cases between now and then, and accounting for the amount of time it takes for the body to make antibodies, we can estimate that as many as half of Californians have natural immunity today.

The same report found that 45% of people in Los Angeles had Covid-19 antibodies. Again, the number can only be higher today. Between “half and two-thirds of our population has antibodies in it now,” due to Covid exposure or vaccination, Mayor Eric Garcetti said Sunday on “Face the Nation.” That would explain why cases in Los Angeles are down 95% in the past 11 weeks and the positivity rate among those tested is now 1.7%.

Undercounting or removing the many Americans with natural immunity from any tally of herd immunity is a scientific error of omission. When people wonder why President Biden talks about limiting Fourth of July gatherings, it’s because his most prominent medical adviser has dismissed the contribution of natural immunity, artificially extending the timeline.

A “scientific error of omission” is as good as a lie, if moral issues inspire you. The professor also is concerned about practical consequences, such as “misallocating the limited vaccine supply by failing to direct it toward people without natural antibodies.” Either way, we should expect better science from our expensive public health bureaucracy.

11 thoughts on “Herd Immunity Is Near, Despite Fauci’s Denial

  1. Well, when more epidemiologists start agreeing with this fella, then he may be on to something. The “Faucci %” is the consensus of the CDC epidemiologists.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Every advance in science is the result of the consensus being proved wrong.

      Herd immunity requires about 80% being immune, but it does not require that immunity to be the result of vaccination. Naturally acquired immunity plus vaccination will do just fine.


          1. Extraordinary claims require…
            Therein lies the problem with the assumption that all claims are equal. It’s not the CDC’s job to prove him wrong.
            The same models that did correctly predict the spread and deaths are used to “guesstimate” the immunity parameters.
            Even the Mass General, BC model is built on sound mathematics and it’s a relatively simple one (they provide their derivations and full documentation for download, so I verified it) is in relatively good agreement.

            Personally, I am more intrigued by previous coronavirus behavior. SARS1 flashed in 2000, killed a lot of people, then just died down for the next four years killing at a much lower rate until the “last case” in Aug 2004. Just weird.

            Liked by 2 people

  2. Because it is paywalled, I can’t tell. But is the same guy you posted in February saying herd immunity would occur in April?

    Back then he said ““Amid the dire Covid warnings, one crucial fact has been largely ignored: Cases are down 77% over the past six weeks. If a medication slashed cases by 77%, we’d call it a miracle pill. Why is the number of cases plummeting much faster than experts predicted?

    “In large part because natural immunity from prior infection is far more common than can be measured by testing.”..

    Cases climbed back up since then and have plateaued a bit now. (Up about 10% on the 7-day average scale for VA) His hypothesis (science-talk for WAG) is just as questionable as anyone else’s. But because he questions Fauci, he gets all of the WSJ, and by extension, JTR’s, love.

    Not saying he is right or wrong. I am saying he appears to be strictly a contrarian who collects from WSJ a nice little stipend for his opinions and WSJ can claim it isn’t THEIR opinion.

    Optimistically speaking, I do hope he is more right than wrong.

    Or call me a skeptic. I’ve seen others be even more skeptical of opinions that don’t feed their ideal narrative.


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