Herd Immunity

From Medscape

A controversial proposal that promotes building herd immunity to COVID-19 through natural infection among populations with low mortality risk has been called “unethical,” impractical, and “dangerous.”

Low mortality risk…so which of your friends do you want to die for a cockamamie scheme that has no hard data behind it. You get herd immunity through vaccines.

This is a fringe component of epidemiology. This is not mainstream science. It’s dangerous.

Gregg Gonsalves, PhD, a global epidemiologist and assistant professor at Yale School of Public Health

Fringe has been mainstream since 2016.

How do we isolate all vulnerable people? How are these people identified? What if a vulnerable person lives in a house with non-vulnerable people? Are they going to be taken away from their families? Who is going to pay for it? Do you just isolate the entire family? What about the fact that immunity from the virus goes away with time?

It is not possible to fully identify vulnerable individuals, and it is not possible to fully isolate them. Furthermore, we know that immunity to coronaviruses wanes over time, and re-infection is possible — so lasting protection of vulnerable individuals by establishing ‘herd immunity’ is very unlikely to be achieved in the absence of a vaccine.

Rupert Beale, PhD

I guess in an effort for balance, the article ends with a number of paragraphs discussing the thoughts of David Katz, MD, MPH who was a signer of the herd immunity declaration.

What’s needed is much more protection in nursing homes and much less disruption around schools.

Again, what do you do with the seniors who live with younger relatives and don’t live in a nursing home? Plus, isn’t it still inhumane to restrict people in nursing homes to see the people they love? In schools, do teachers with auto-immune conditions or diabetes not matter? What about teachers and school staff with vulnerable people at home?

He goes on to say that policies would have to be made to develop “risk tiers”. Who makes these policies? The CDC, Congress? By the time these policies are made, we’ll have a vaccine.

Our efforts need to be focused on ubiquitous fast testing and the vaccine. Then again, that would bump up the numbers of infected which certain people don’t want to know about.

Stay safe. Wear a mask.

No more COVID talk unless something worthwhile or interesting comes up. Tomorrow, I plan on posting my first impressions of Mario Kart Live.

Small gatherings contributing to spike in COVID-19 cases

CNN reported yesterday that CDC director Dr. Robert Redfield said,

“But what we’re seeing as the increasing threat right now is actually acquisition of infection through small household gatherings.”

Dr. Robert Redfield

I tried finding a specific source to “what we’re seeing”. I wanted some hard data. A study. Anything. All I could find were a number of references such as this one from KCRA.

“We do know that many of our cases are stemming from gatherings that are happening in homes — graduation or birthday parties, funerals or other groups in homes,” the Sacramento County Public Health Department said in a statement.

KCRA website

This example was from June 2020.

It seems like when contact tracing is done, a lot of sources come from in-home gatherings. The timing announcement comes after the recent Jewish High Holy Days and before the big holiday season in the US. I don’t think this was the result of a multi-center research study but of solid anecdotal evidence.

Here’s where we are folks. If you are going to have people over to your house, keep the doors and windows open if you can and keep the numbers low. If you can’t do that because you live somewhere cold, wear a mask when you are inside. It sucks. However, if we put in the work, we can get through this winter without overloading the hospitals.