Healthcare

Herd Immunity Might Be the Answer

What are we to make of "flattening the curve" in light of a possible second wave this fall?

Arnold Ahlert · Apr. 27, 2020

“My mother doesn’t want to get coronavirus and die [but] she also doesn’t want to die of something else before ever again being able to hug her grandchildren because she’s still waiting for a vaccine. Herd immunity gives us [a] much more proximal way to get back to life in the world as we knew it.” —Dr. David Katz, founding director of the Yale-Griffin Prevention Research Center

Last week, CDC Director Robert Redfield warned of a second wave of coronavirus emerging in the fall. Dr. Anthony Fauci concurred, but he insisted America will not be as unprepared as it was this time. “In the fall we will be much, much better prepared to do the kind of containment compared to what happened to us this winter,” he stated.

As America has learned, “containment” is a loaded word. “In this current crisis, the longest if not the first complete shutdown in U.S. history, the freedoms of American democracy are being tested in ways we scarcely ever imagined,” writes historian Victor Davis Hanson.

Hanson is somewhat in error. Members of the globalist-minded ruling class have long imagined the “fundamental transformation” of America, and there is little question their corporate media shills have run what is arguably the most successful panic-inducing campaign in the nation’s history. That media-anointed “experts” have been wrong, sometimes by an order of several magnitudes? That millions of Americans have been so traumatized they may never recover?

As far as the media are concerned, it is utter folly to even suggest that locking down the nation might have been the wrong course of action.

Yet context is everything. Americans must never forget that media elitists remain well paid and well fed, even as they deem themselves worthy of lecturing millions of their fellow Americans with no money, no jobs, and virtually no hope about their shortcomings. Their fellow elitists eat ice cream while Americans wait at food banks. They receive concierge medical treatment in the Hamptons while millions can’t get desperately needed medical treatment at all.

Nonetheless, the elites continue to insist that “flattening the curve,” even if it takes 18 months, is the only sensible — and moral — course of action.

Yet what are we to make of such an assessment in light of a possible second wave? America might not endure the current shutdown without massive economic and health consequences. A second shutdown could push the nation into post-apocalyptic territory, possibly precipitating even more death and destruction than the worst coronavirus projections.

Moreover, what does flattening the curve really mean? If the whole idea behind it was to prevent the healthcare system from being overwhelmed, we have certainly accomplished that.

But is it because we self-isolated? A study by the University of Southern California and the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health indicates that between 221,000 and 442,000 adults in that area have previously been infected. Another study in New York indicates as many as 2.7 million New Yorkers could have had the virus. And in Miami, approximately 165,000 people also have virus antibodies. All three totals far exceed the number of confirmed cases. More important, how does one square self-isolation in New York with open mass-transit systems?

Flattening the curve also implies something else. “If all you do is flatten the curve, you don’t prevent deaths or severe cases,” Dr. Katz explains. “You just change the dates.”

Possibly worse? Drs. Dan Erickson and Artin Massihi, whose urgent-care facility has tested over 5,200 patients, assert that lockdowns diminish peoples’ immune systems, increasing their vulnerability to the virus.

Dr. Scott Atlas, the former neuroradiology chief at Stanford University Medical Center concurs, writing, “Vital population immunity is prevented by total isolation policies, prolonging the problem.”

Unfortunately our policy-makers, most of whom have seemingly bought into the media’s moral absolutes, remain steadfast, even as they studiously avoid an uncomfortable question: Why are future deaths precipitated by the virus less immoral than present ones? Dead is dead, and the idea that we must consider any policy sacrosanct, even when it is one likely to precipitate a second wave of infections — and another shutdown — is astounding.

Which brings us to herd immunity. As Dr. Katz explains, herd immunity is accomplished by those at low risk of getting a serious infection moving about, getting coronavirus, and recovering, and thus developing antibodies that inhibit further spreading of the virus among the general population.

The problem with that approach? As columnist Steve Berman aptly notes in reference to Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp’s decision to begin opening up that state, no one wants to be a “beta tester.” Yet he acknowledges the current reality. “The problem here isn’t one of clinical fact, or statistical trends,” he adds. “It’s a problem of perception.”

No doubt. But at some point, the perception relentlessly drummed by the media into the American psyche will give way to what is likely to be a tsunami of emotional desperation, as in the realization that the cure is indeed far, far worse than the disease, and that life in isolation with no end in sight is no life at all.

Thus it is seemingly inevitable that Sweden, which has walked the walk of herd immunity, will become impossible to ignore. “In major parts of Sweden, around Stockholm, we have reached a plateau and we’re already seeing the effect of herd immunity and in a few weeks’ time we’ll see even more of the effects of that,” asserts Dr. Anders Tegnell, chief epidemiologist at Sweden’s Public Health Agency.

Tegnell also notes the rest of the country “is stable,” and while he acknowledges Sweden’s mortality rate is relatively high, he attributes it to “the introduction [of the virus] in elderly care homes.”

Regardless, the avalanche of moral reprobation directed at that nation has been fierce. While some of it is driven by genuine concern, much of it is the vilest form of political cynicism — perpetrated by those who see America’s failure as a political opportunity and any risk assessment about opening our own country that does not conform to the current narrative as heresy.

Heresy producing “blood on one’s hands.”

Yet tellingly, criticism has been far more muted regarding New York, despite a number of deaths precipitated by state health commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker’s decision requiring nursing homes to accept residents who tested positive for coronavirus — and Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s assertion that “it’s not our job” to ensure the safety of those facilities.

That’s the same Andrew Cuomo excoriated Trump for making a similar assertions regarding state versus federal responsibilities.

Apparently, some hands are “less bloody” than others.

If a second wave is inevitable, discussions of herd immunity must not be taboo, just as deaths caused by the policies associated with coronavirus cannot be deemed less important or less relevant than deaths caused by the virus itself.

Far more important, it’s also worth considering that the number of people with antibodies in New York, Los Angeles, and Miami doesn’t just indicate self-isolation might not be working. It may actually indicate herd immunity is already underway.

Whether our political leaders like it or not.

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