NYT: What Fans of ‘Herd Immunity’ Won’t Tell You

A proposal to let people with low risk of infection live without constraint could lead to a million or more preventable deaths

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No matter their politics, people nearly always listen to those who say what they want to hear.

Hence, it is no surprise that the White House and several governors are now paying close attention to the “Great Barrington Declaration,” a proposal written by a group of well-credentialed scientists who want to shift Covid-19 policy toward achieving herd immunity — the point at which enough people have become immune to the virus that its spread becomes unlikely.

Is this Melania?

They would do this by allowing “those who are at minimal risk of death to live their lives normally.” This, they say, will allow people “to build up immunity to the virus through natural infection, while better protecting those who are at highest risk. We call this Focused Protection.”

These academics are clearly a distinct minority. Most of their public health colleagues have condemned their proposal as unworkable and unethical — even as amounting to “mass murder,” as William Haseltine, a former Harvard Medical School professor who now heads a global health foundation, put it to CNN last week.

But who is right?

The signers of the declaration do have a point. Restrictions designed to limit deaths cause real harm, including, but by no means limited to, stress on the economy, increases in domestic violence and drug abuse, declines in tests that screen for cancer and on and on. Those living alone suffer real pain from isolation, and the young have every reason to feel bitter over the loss of substantive education and what should have been memories of a high school prom or the bonding friendships that form in a college dorm at 2 a.m. or on an athletic team or in some other endeavor.  read more

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7 COMMENTS

  1. Stanford has just released mortality % and the virus is at 0.15 – 0.2%. Not exactly lethal. Less people have died in Sweden, Holland and more in countries under lock up such as the UK, Belgium. In Germany respectable news outlets are skeptical of the mismanaged figures. Those who are monolinguals go to off-guardian.org in the UK where real viral experts not op-eds reveal scientifically verified peer reviewed data the govts of the world don’t want you to know because there is no pandemic. JHU though says there is. Because it means more funding. That is what this is all about. And control. Surprised? I am that people wear masks who’se holes are too huge to stop the virus. Only reason they are being ordered to be worn is to cover the incompetence of the experts or see how many sheep obey. What is spreading is the Wuhan-viral-brain-spectre.

  2. It’s a wrestling match between an overhyped medicinal expectation, and the general loss of comfort and access to things. Familiarity becomes entitlement quite quickly.
    What is obvious and observable, is the inability of the general populace world wide to trust or discern information regarding viral infection.
    Of those who can, and are in positions of influence, there are two camps, The Capitalist camp favors the people getting back to producing,..and the humanitarian camp favors erring on the side of caution to protect lives. The side that would push ‘herd immunity” is rather obvious. Localized food security for all humanity, has never looked smarter.

  3. Could anyone please answer one question .Here in the UK the media keeps telling us on a daily basis how many new cases of the virus there are and how many people have died along with they are running out of hospital beds. But the one thing they fail to tell us is how many people have left hospital having recovered from the virus ?

    • Hitruth please
      Google “united kingdom corona virus”
      Look up the worldometer site.

      It will tell you day by day the deaths, new cases, and how many recoveries there are too.

      Generally it’s about 4% confirmed positive will die.

    • Hi Konehead, thanks for the info I will follow it up later. But still would like to know why the UK media does not keep us informed daily on hospital survival rates from the virus. We get everything else on the depressing side, deaths and new cases and heart breaking stories but no uplifting news of survivors from hospital. We may get the odd person who has survived the virus being televised to us as they are wheeled down a hospital corridor in a wheel chair to the applause of doctors and nurses as the patient leaves hospital . But that is all. So why is the survival rate from hospitals a Taboo subject for the media ?

    • what you hear is one thing. We as a species have gotten our immunity up where it is precisely because we are exposed to create the immunity necessary. Children when young stick everything in their mouths and build up immunity right from the moment go. Not exposing yourself such as the lock ups and more die because they are incubating what should not be incubated. As for this emo of of justice and truth. Evolution is about expedience. Otherwise there would be no life at all. As Stanislaw Lem wrote: evolution is opportunist. It is not perfectionist.