The case for herd immunity?

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Pondering

Aristotleded24 wrote:

And of course the science on herd immunity has long been settled:

Quote:

Fauci's confession:

"When polls said only about half of all Americans would take a vaccine, I was saying herd immunity would take 70 to 75 percent ... Then, when newer surveys said 60 percent or more would take it, I thought, "I can nudge this up a bit," so I went to 80, 85. We need to have some humility here .... We really don’t know what the real number is. I think the real range is somewhere between 70 to 90 percent. But, I'm not going to say 90 percent."

The issue of herd immunity for covid is quite contentious. Some estimates have been as low as 20%. Other estimates, which people are more familiar with, are in the range posted in this post, anywhere from 50 to 70 to even close to 100%. Certainly Fauci and government health officials are prone to estimate the threshold on the higher end. I'm curious as to how it became settled science that the herd immunity thresholds are that high, or why government officials are taken as an authoritative source without much further investigation or critique. I think the fact that most reporters are not trained in the relevant fields, along with the fact that the media outlets they work for have close relationships with the government, plays a big role.

It isn't even a little bit contentious. Everyone is making educated guesses based on other contagious diseases that have been controlled through herd immunity therefore there is debate on the threshold we will have to meet in order to reduce (not stop) the spread. There is no precise number. The more people that become immune the slower it will spread. If enough people become immune it could be eradicated but that isn't considered a realistic goal. 

Aristotleded24

Now apparently the World Health Organization has changed the definition of herd immunity.

June 9, 2020:

Quote:
Herd immunity is the indirect protection from an infectious disease that happens when a population is immune either through vaccination or immunity developed through previous infection. This means that even people who haven’t been infected, or in whom an infection hasn’t triggered an immune response, they are protected because people around them who are immune can act as buffers between them and an infected person. The threshold for establishing herd immunity for COVID-19 is not yet clear.

November 13, 2020:

Quote:

‘Herd immunity’, also known as ‘population immunity’, is a concept used for vaccination, in which a population can be protected from a certain virus if a threshold of vaccination is reached.

Herd immunity is achieved by protecting people from a virus, not by exposing them to it. Read the Director-General’s 12 October media briefing speech for more detail.

Vaccines train our immune systems to develop antibodies, just as might happen when we are exposed to a disease but – crucially – vaccines work without making us sick. Vaccinated people are protected from getting the disease in question. Visit our webpage on COVID-19 and vaccines for more detail.

Why the change? Why was it possible to develop naturally acquired immunity to covid to protect against the disease in June (when the pandemic was still raging) but in November it can only be acquired through a vaccine?

laine lowe laine lowe's picture

Maybe because herd immunity never happened.

Aristotleded24

Since it is the new year, I thought I would check back on this post:

Aristotleded24 wrote:
Coronavirus is the only cause of death for which we do worldometers and daily news updates. If you did that for any other cause of death, people would be scared of that as well. To illustrate my point, here are the top causes of death worldwide for 2016:

Quote:
Heart disease, a little under 10 million

Stroke, approximately 6 million

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, approximately 3.5 million

Lower respiratory infections, approximatley 3.5 million

Alzheimer disease and dementia, approximatley 2 million

Trachea, bronchus, lung cancer, less than 2 million

Diabetes, less than 2 million

Road injury, less than 2 million

Diarrhoeal diseases, less than 2 million

Tuberculosis, less than 2 million

So the total covid fatalities as of 5:48 GMT on Jaunary 1, 2021? 1, 825, 880. Let's be generous and accept that these are all covid fatalities, rather than situations of someone dying of a heart attack, testing postitive for covid in the hospital, and the death being marked as a covid death. In a global population of approximately 8 billion people, that is a very negligible number. It certainly is nowhere near the level of mortality of the Spanish Flu, which killed at least 17 million people during its run when the world's population was much smaller. It's a little bit more than the bottom 2 causes of death on this list individually, but about half of what they are combined.

Where did covid have the greatest mortality impact? Care homes in advanced countries of Australia and New Zealand, Southeast Asia, North America, and Europe. Even this relatively small number of deaths was concentrated in very specific settings. Was it worth imposing this much misery on large numbers of people and scaring them into believing that covid was this big scary threat that could take you out at any moment if you weren't careful? Or could we have been a bit more targeted in our approach to deal with covid where it would actually propose a threat? As for the bottom 2 causes of death, I would imagine that the numbers for 2020 would have increased in absolute terms along with the global population. But this doesn't get attention. Some experts even think the covid response will make the bottom 2 causes of disease even more prevalent. Is this going to get any attention? Or is it only threats to the perceived safety of people in priviledged part of the world we are going to pay attention to.

JKR

Should we follow your "advice" about Covid and have tens of millions more die due to Covid? How are you going to convince countries like China to do that?

Aristotleded24

JKR wrote:
Should we follow your "advice" about Covid and have tens of millions more die due to Covid? How are you going to convince countries like China to do that?

I am not convinced that what we have done has saved lives from covid and that millions more would die if what I advocated took place. I am also convinced that many people have died and will continue to die for various reasons because of the lockdown measures taken. Either way, deaths from diseases associated with the Third World will continue in large numbers without mention or notice in this part of the world.

JKR

So you feel you should be able to continue living your life as you were before Covid-19? That seems very convenient for you.

Aristotleded24

JKR wrote:
So you feel you should be able to continue living your life as you were before Covid-19? That seems very convenient for you.

You are demanding that I conform to your opinion and what I want to do while dismissing any concerns that I have raised. That is the opposite of building solidarity with people.

Question for you JKR. Is delaying practicum placements for months, and possibly even years, a minor inconvenience to you? How about delaying weddings and funerals? How many elderly people or people with terminal illnesses were looking forward to seeing a close relative get married last spring or last summer, only for the wedding to be cancelled and these people died without seeing the wedding? That is the reality of what the social distancing measures have imposed on people.

Pondering

Aristotleded24 wrote:

Why the change? Why was it possible to develop naturally acquired immunity to covid to protect against the disease in June (when the pandemic was still raging) but in November it can only be acquired through a vaccine?

This is what I found on the WHO site. 

https://www.who.int/news-room/q-a-detail/herd-immunity-lockdowns-and-cov...

Updated 31 December 2020

What is ‘herd immunity’?

 

'Herd immunity', also known as 'population immunity', is the indirect protection from an infectious disease that happens when a population is immune either through vaccination or immunity developed through previous infection. WHO supports achieving 'herd immunity' through vaccination, not by allowing a disease to spread through any segment of the population, as this would result in unnecessary cases and deaths.

 

JKR

Aristotleded24 wrote:

JKR wrote:
So you feel you should be able to continue living your life as you were before Covid-19? That seems very convenient for you.

You are demanding that I conform to your opinion and what I want to do while dismissing any concerns that I have raised. That is the opposite of building solidarity with people.

Question for you JKR. Is delaying practicum placements for months, and possibly even years, a minor inconvenience to you? How about delaying weddings and funerals? How many elderly people or people with terminal illnesses were looking forward to seeing a close relative get married last spring or last summer, only for the wedding to be cancelled and these people died without seeing the wedding? That is the reality of what the social distancing measures have imposed on people.

Covid restrictions have been extremely difficult for me in my personal life.

Pondering

JKR wrote:
Should we follow your "advice" about Covid and have tens of millions more die due to Covid? How are you going to convince countries like China to do that?

Aristotleded24 wrote:
I am not convinced that what we have done has saved lives from covid and that millions more would die if what I advocated took place.

Covid 19 is passed primarily through human to human contact. Ergo, reduce human to human contact and the disease cannot be passed between those particular humans.  If you can't accept that as scientific fact you are no different than Qanon. You are beyond reason. 

Aristotleded24 wrote:
   I am also convinced that many people have died and will continue to die for various reasons because of the lockdown measures taken.   

And those deaths are not overwhelming the health system. All the surges that have threatened the healthcare system have been due to Covid-19 not any other cause. Again, if you don't believe the nurses and doctors working at your local hospital you are beyond reason. 

Aristotleded24 wrote:
 Either way, deaths from diseases associated with the Third World will continue in large numbers without mention or notice in this part of the world.  

Which has nothing at all to do with Covid-19 which is also killing people in the Third World. Nor are other plights of the Third World ignored by leftists be it war, famine, disease or corporate exploitation. By "leftist" I mean left of the NDP. 

No matter how many times we acknowledge the harm to the most vulnerable and that the government is taking advantage and is manipulative you still will not acknowledge the severity of Covid-19 and its threat to humanity. Your primary concern isn't the vulnerable or conditions in Third World countries. It is government interference in what you believe should be your individual right to decide. Your focus is in challenging those measures for any reason that comes to hand. 

To the left the virulent nature of Covid-19 and the impact on heathcare systems is obvious. It isn't up for debate not because we are close-minded but because there is overwhelming evidence in our own communities and across the world. Your attempts to twist the evidence to suit your arguments is no different than what Qanon presents because we see the evidence in our own communities and in our own health care facilities. 

  • I accept as fact that Covid-19 is spread by human to human contact.
  • I accept as fact that health care professionals are telling the truth when they say they are being overwhelmed by Covid-19 cases and that transmission must be slowed for them to manage.
  •  I accept as fact that the only known means of slowing transmission is to reduce human to human contact (specifically breathing each other's air) or have people vaccinated. 

Facts and logic bring us to the conclusion that we must reduce breathing each other's air through all means possible to slow the spread.  

There are no arguments you can bring here that can change that very simple equation. To the left, regardless of government motivation, they are the appropriate tool through which a pandemic is managed. It is their responsibility. They are failing through mismanagement and priorizing the short term economy and imposing too few restrictions.  

Aristotleded24

Speaking of different causes of death:

Quote:
WHO estimates that around 7 million people die every year from exposure to fine particles in polluted air that lead to diseases such as stroke, heart disease, lung cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases and respiratory infections, including pneumonia.

That was before the pandemic started. Even then, this estimate attributes more deaths from air pollution than the number of recorded deaths from covid last year. Perhaps with a virus moving through the population that attacks the respiratory system, we should give much more urgency to the goal of tackling our air pollution problem? The region in Italy that was knocked over the hardest with covid in the first wave also has one of the worst air pollution problems in all of Eruope. Coincidence?

Pondering

Yes, pollution has been killing people for decades and climate change is increasing the numbers dramatically. In fact many are saying this virus and more to come are a direct symptom of climate change and environmental degradation. 

Pollution makes any respiratory problems worse. Covid 19 is a respiratory virus so it is made worse by pollution. This is a good example of why different areas of the world cannot be directly compared to other areas of the world. 

By far the most significant factor is hospital capacity. 

Aristotleded24

Of course there hasn't been a single instance of focused protection successfully applied anywhere in the world:

Quote:

For 47 days and nights, staff and residents of the Vilanova nursing home on the outskirts of the east-central city of Lyon waited out the coronavirus storm together, while COVID-19 killed tens of thousands of people in other homes across Europe, including more than 9,000 in France.

“I said, ‘No. Not mine. My residents still have so much to live for,'" Martin said in an interview. “I don't want this virus to kill them when they have been through so much.”

On Monday, Martin and 12 colleagues who stayed in the home for the full duration ended their quarantine with hugs of celebration and singing, and with an uplifting victory: Coronavirus tests conducted on the residents and staff all came back negative. The caregivers, who nicknamed themselves “the happily confined," left in a convoy of cars, joyously honking horns and heading for reunions with families, pets and homes.

“We succeeded,” Martin said. “Every day, every hour, was a win.”

While COVID-19 killed people by the dozens at some other homes, Martin said there were just four deaths at Vilanova during their lockdown and that none appears to have been linked to the virus. The average age of residents at the home is 87 and the deaths were not unexpected, she said.

Because staff and residents were locked in together, Vilanova didn't have to confine people to their rooms like other homes to shield them from the risk of infection brought in from outside. That spared residents the loneliness that has been agonizing for others. Vilanova allowed residents to continue to mingle and to get fresh air outside.

Funny how the people who claim that a care home quarantine along the lines of what happened in Vilanova, paying older people to stay out of the workforce for the duration of the pandemic, and encouraging everyone else to talk to their doctors about the risk is impractical while shutting down large segments of society for a long time is fine.

Aristotleded24

Sweden continues to be a disaster:

Quote:

Newly released data show Sweden has a lower death spike than other European countries despite mostly forgoing the strict lockdown measures featured across the continent.

Data from European Union statistics agency Eurostat revealed that Sweden had 7.7% more deaths in 2020 than its average number in the previous four years. Belgium and Spain, countries that imposed strict lockdowns at times throughout the pandemic, recorded excess death rates of 16.2% and 18.1%, respectively.

Of the 30 countries for which statistics were available, Sweden had a better excess death rate than 21 of them. But Sweden did show worse results than its Nordic neighbors, with Denmark checking in at a rate of 1.5% and Finland at 1%. Norway did not record any spike in excess death for 2020.

Sweden’s Chief Epidemiologist Anders Tegnell, a controversial figure in much of Europe, said the data should raise doubts about the efficacy of lockdowns.

“I think people will probably think very carefully about these total shutdowns, how good they really were,” Tegnell said. “They may have had an effect in the short term, but when you look at it throughout the pandemic, you become more and more doubtful.”

Although Sweden’s pandemic approach has been controversial, both in the country and especially abroad, 43% of Swedes express confidence in how their country is handling the pandemic. Meanwhile, 30% say they lack confidence in the country’s approach.

Aristotleded24

Interesting theory on how lockdowns may accelerate viral mutation, courtesy of Dr. Knut Wittkowsi:

Quote:
I have the privilege of talking and chatting with Knut Wittkowski. Knut is not any medical expert, actually. He’s got a master’s in biostatistics, a PhD in computer science, a doctor of science and medical biometry, including genetics and epidemiology. And you were former head of research, design and biostatistics at the Rockefeller Foundation.

Knut Wittkowski ➝ 00:36

And epidemiology at the Rockefeller University here in New York.

...

And now if we let it run its course the way we do other viruses, how long do you think it would actually be before we could reach herd immunity?

Knut Wittkowski ➝ 05:08

It will take about six weeks and can be shifted a bit in different parts of the country, depending on where the virus gets there [“endemic equilibrium herd immunity”].

So it was here in New York earlier, and the epidemic ended even before the lockdowns started. I mean, that infections went down before the lockdown started. It came later in the South.

So in the South, we have seen the effect of flattening the curve. You are delaying the infections and illnesses and death for a couple of months until you reopen. And then the delayed events happen because lockdowns do not prevent anything from happening. They just delay it a bit.

...

So one thing that we have seen, and we know since October, when the viruses in Spain and France had been sequenced, we know that because of the lockdowns giving the virus enough time to mutate, we had escape mutations that started the wave in November. So we are currently experiencing the result of the lockdowns. Without lockdowns, we would not have any COVID right now.

...

Our immune system develops typically something like five or six different types of antibodies to protect us from mutations that might happen while we are infected to make sure that even if there is a mutation in one of the epitopes, the targets of the antibodies, if there is a mutation, then there should be other antibodies that still are sufficient to prevent the virus from being replicated and from spreading.

However, if you give the long enough and the virus mutates at a rate of one or two mutations a month. So if you give it three months, there’s a good chance that there will be six consecutive mutations, one for each of these antibodies.

And at the end, the human immunity does not capture the virus anymore. And the virus can spread.

We have, even though it’s technically mostly the same virus, but experience as if it were a totally new virus. And this is what we’re seeing right now.

Aristotleded24

Here's a critique of the Great Barrington Declaration that I found rather interesting:

Quote:

There was much excitement among the Covid-Reset Dissenter community this past week as the Great Barrington Declaration (GBD) against lockdowns circulated. For many, it was a relief to have epidemiologists from prestigious universities like Harvard, Stanford, and Oxford finally speaking out. People are exhausted after months of increasingly stringent measures, and any glimmer of hope is cherished.

Some view Ivy League participation as a plus in terms of bringing new people on board; that such expert voices are needed to add legitimacy to the struggle. There are those who feel any move away from existing draconian policies, even if it involves setting aside one’s principles or beliefs about this event, is worth it to get a toe in the door. There’s a level of desperation in the air. Given how artificial intelligence tracks and predicts behavior, I suspect the elite have taken that sentiment analysis into account with regard to timing.

To my way of thinking, if the elite let you get a toe in the door, you might want to think twice about going through it. The institutions paying the salaries of the three primary signers are not good faith actors. Harvard, Stanford, and Oxford have played central roles in the creation of the social impact human capital bond markets that will roll out post-Covid lock step with Klaus Schwab’s planned Fourth Industrial Revolution.

...

If you were to sign, these items are among the things you’d be agreeing to:

  1. We did in fact experience a legitimate global health emergency.
  2. Using PCR as a diagnostic test for Covid is valid.
  3. We should seek to constrain targeted groups of healthy people – focused protection.
  4. It is acceptable to socially isolate elders, including from family members.
  5. Advancing the current childhood vaccination program is a priority.

These are crucial topics I think should have been discussed, but were left out.

  1. Tech-based contract tracing undermines civil liberties.
  2. Biometric health passports used to control population mobility and access to work and education are repressive.
  3. Vaccine mandates should be opposed.
  4. Population level bioengineering using mRNA vaccine platforms and biosensors should be opposed.
  5. Investigations should be made into corrupt public health contracts.
  6. Mask wearing by healthy individuals damages health and mental health.
  7. Asymptomatic transmission is rare.
  8. The Covid Reset shift to telemedicine has been harmful.

I also have reservations about the term “focused protection,” which feels strangely vague and specific. When I looked into the use of that term in a medical context, several references came up around childhood pneumonia vaccines. Focused protection could mean anyone, and it feels likely a future health event will target children. What would isolation from family members, which was advanced by Gupta for elders for up to three months, look like if “focused protection” targets were children?

Edzell Edzell's picture

Aristotleded24 wrote:

Interesting theory on how lockdowns may accelerate viral mutation, courtesy of Dr. Knut Wittkowsi:

Quote:
I have the privilege of talking and chatting with Knut Wittkowski. Knut is not any medical expert, actually. He’s got a master’s in biostatistics, a PhD in computer science, a doctor of science and medical biometry, including genetics and epidemiology..

How many well- qualified scientists working in similar fields (forget computer science) agree with him , and how many do not?

Pondering

There is no need to work from theory. We have examples of all kinds of different approaches throughout the world. We have long experience with how viruses behave. Covid 19 is being tracked worldwide. 

I am certain the restrictions, and more, are absolutely required for the simple fact that corporations in the tourist industry wouldn't stand for it nor would governments want it because it is impacting revenues. 

Yes governments will take advantage of the situation, or try to. They do that no matter what the situation. 

Aristotleded24

Edzell wrote:

Aristotleded24 wrote:

Interesting theory on how lockdowns may accelerate viral mutation, courtesy of Dr. Knut Wittkowsi:

Quote:
I have the privilege of talking and chatting with Knut Wittkowski. Knut is not any medical expert, actually. He’s got a master’s in biostatistics, a PhD in computer science, a doctor of science and medical biometry, including genetics and epidemiology..

How many well- qualified scientists working in similar fields (forget computer science) agree with him , and how many do not?

Dr. Joel Kettner and Richard Schabas, former Chief Medical Officers of Health for Manitoba and Ontario respectively, take views that are more aligned with Wittkowski than the general consensus. Sunetra Gupta, Jay Bhattacharya, and Martin Kulldorff are well-respected profs at Oxford, Stanford, and Harvard, and they are not in line with the common consensus. John Ioannidis from Stanford is a well-known expert on infectious diseases, was widely cited before covid, predicted that the IFR would be similar to influenza, and has argued that massive lockdowns and closures are an over-reaction. There are many more dissident scientists and experts if you care to look.

It is also ironic that you mention computer science, when the modelling that scared the world into reacting the way we did was done by Neil Ferguson of Imperial College in the UK. None of the scary scenarios that he predicted ever came close to passing. I highly recommend looking further into Ferguson's history, especially his track record of being dramatically wrong on so many other things, one of which was a massive cull in the UK based on his fear-mongering of foot-and-mouth disease.

Pondering

There is no need to look to experts or modelling. We have local evidence that when restrictions are lifted and cases start to rise within weeks the predicted numbers end up in hospital.  Other medical treatments get delayed. Death rate goes up. 

It does not take a genius to predict a fourth wave in the fall or sooner of the Delta variant. I've heard there is a Gamma variant now. There will be more. Many countries are still lacking in vaccines. 

Aristotleded24

Pondering wrote:
There is no need to look to experts or modelling. We have local evidence that when restrictions are lifted and cases start to rise within weeks the predicted numbers end up in hospital.  Other medical treatments get delayed. Death rate goes up.

You mean the same way cases dropped in Texas and Florida once those states lifted their restrictions?

josh

You mean after the vaccination got underway?

Speaking of which, just in time for the delta variant:

Data from the CDC shows that less than a third of residents in Alabama and Mississippi are fully vaccinated. Alabama's at 29% and Mississippi is at 32%.

Aristotleded24

josh wrote:

You mean after the vaccination got underway?

Speaking of which, just in time for the delta variant:

Data from the CDC shows that less than a third of residents in Alabama and Mississippi are fully vaccinated. Alabama's at 29% and Mississippi is at 32%.

Always a new scariant, I mean variant coming down the line.

By the way, I looked at the data myself and Alabama and Mississippi are doing fine. Just as well, because more and more fully vaccinated people seem to be testing positive with Delta.

josh

So Connecticut, for example, where I am, shows no upsurge of infection, but Mississippi, Alabama, Arkansas, Missouri show very substantial upsurges of infections. That’s based entirely on how much population-wide immunity you have based on vaccination,” Gottlieb said on CBS’s “Face the Nation” program.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2021/06/20/us-coronavirus-infection-rate-fall-2021/

 

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