Thinking Citizen Blog — Will We Have Herd Immunity by April?

Thinking Citizen Blog — Thursday is Health, Health Care and Global Health Policy Day

Today’s Topic: Will we have herd immunity by April?

The consensus is often wrong. Sometimes too pessimistic. Sometimes too optimistic. True for the general public. True for experts. Scientific or otherwise. This week. the summary of an article by a Professor at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and the Bloomberg School of Public Health. The author argues that the consensus on Covid in the United States is far too pessimistic and that we will have herd immunity by April. Is he wrong? How so? Experts — please chime in. Correct, elaborate, elucidate.

CASES ARE DOWN 77% IN SIX WEEKS — the miracle pill analogue

1. “Amid the dire Covid warnings, one crucial fact has been largely ignored: cases are down 77% over the past six weeks.

2. “If medication slashed cases by 77%, we’d call it a miracle pill.”

3. “Why is the number of cases plummeting much faster than experts predicted?”

THE UNDERESTIMATION OF NATURAL IMMUNITY

1. “In large part because natural immunity from prior infection is far more common than can be measured by testing. Testing has been capturing only from 10% to 25% of infections, depending on when during the pandemic someone got the virus.”

2. “Applying a time-weighted case capture average of 1 in 6.5 to the cumulative 28 million confirmed cases would mean about 55% of Americans have natural immunity.”

3. Is this math even roughly correct?

NB: “Antibody testing doesn’t capture antigen-specific T-cells, which develop “memory” once they are activated by the virus. Survivors fo the 1918 Spanish flue were found in 2008–90 years later — to have memory cells still able to produce neutralizing antibodies.”

ADD VACCINATIONS, DON’T HIDE THE TRUTH

1. “As of this week, 15% of Americans have received the vaccine, and the figure is rising fast.”

2. “Former Food and Drug Commissioner Scott Gottlieb estimates that 250 million doses will have been delivered to some 150 million people by the end of March.”

3. “Some medical experts privately agreed with my prediction that there may be very little Covid-19 by April but suggested that I not talk publicly about herd immunity because people might become complacent and fail to take precautions or might decline the vaccine. But scientists shouldn’t try to manipulate the public by hiding the truth. As we encourage everyone to get a vaccine, we also need to reopen schools and society to limit the damage of closures and prolonged isolation. Contingency planning for an open economy by April can deliver hope to those in despair and to those who have made large personal sacrifices.”

Opinion | We’ll Have Herd Immunity by April

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YOUR TURN

Please share the most interesting thing you learned in the last week related to health, health care or health care policy — the ethics, economics, politics, history…. Or the coolest, most important thing you learned in your life related to health are or health care policy that the rest of us may have missed. Or just some random health-related fact that blew you away.

This is your chance to make some one’s day. Or to cement in your mind something really important you might otherwise forget. Or to think more deeply than you otherwise would about something that matters.