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How Exactly Is Herd Immunity Supposed to Work?
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Herd Immunity sounds promising for a once-in-a-lifetime disease. But if immunity only lasts 12 to 24 months, that’s a several times per decade disease, which sounds like a less attractive deal.

Let’s say the Infection Fatality Rate is just 0.5% per run to Herd Immunity, which would be achieved at, say, 60% of the US population of 330 million or about 1,000,000 deaths each time.

Let’s say it takes one year of widespread illness and dying to reach herd immunity and then the whole process starts over again 18 months later. That’s four times per decade. But it could be even more frequent than that.

That raises the question of how bad the next several runs to herd immunity would be. My guess is the IFR would decline because you are progressively killing off the the most vulnerable so the disease faces diminishing returns the next several times through. Perhaps people even get more resistant to the disease each time they have it.

Plus, obviously huge resources will be devoted to improving therapy each time. If a million plus people die in America the first run to herd immunity, we will attain a huge sample size of data of how to treat people, which should prove useful in lowering the death toll in subsequent waves.

But then again maybe not. Maybe people get progressively more worn down each time they catch it?

Now it could be that the timing of a vaccine works out perfectly and we get to Herd Immunity the first time about a year before a vaccine arrives so we don’t have to do it all over again and again.

But then again, how do we know herd immunity will happen all that fast? You want it to arrive slowly enough that the hospitals aren’t overwhelmed, but not so slowly that the economy never gets to revive from most people being (briefly) immune. But what if lots of people want to hunker down and avoid being a sacrificial lamb? This sounds like a Herd Immunity strategy might blunder into a worst of both worlds, with huge numbers being made deeply ill but the economic downturn dragging on for several years as scores of millions hunker down and don’t spend a lot of money pursuing an active social life.

Advocates of a Herd Immunity strategy really need to get out their spreadsheets and do the math of how this would turn out to be a good thing. Perhaps it is the best alternative, but, please, show your work.

 
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  1. Inverness says:

    Herd immunity for covid is a pipe dream, and you don’t need math for a pipe dream.

    Another pipe dream is the notion that this is the last pandemic the Chinese will be foisting on the world for awhile.

    This second pipe dream is even more far-fetched than the first, yet it’s even more popular. Absolutely no reason whatever to believe it, except wishful thinking.

    Mathematics is the least of our problems.

  2. Coag says:

    One salutary effect of the recent apocalypses is that they’re inspiring people (me) to improve their health. All the twists and turns in the pandemic and Marshal Fatty Kim’s health status inspired me to go on a diet and do more cardio. Lost 10 lbs so far!

    • Thanks: Gordo
  3. It doesn’t take spreadsheets, Steve. It takes a little perspective. Very much like the other virae out of the Orient (and elsewhere) that have come and gone, people WILL die from them later on, but it will be with the usual complications and co-morbidities of other health problems very late in life.

    Even the common cold had to start off pretty hard-core one time, right, back when people’s bodies weren’t used to it? There’s nothing new under the sun.

    As commenter Digital Samizdat wrote under another post: “If this were a real plague, do you think we would all still be arguing about whether or not it was a real plague two months on?”

    Almost everyone is afraid of dying, when he has a reason to think about it, which is hopefully not often at all.

    The wheel is turning, and you can’t slow down.
    You can’t let go, and you can’t hold on.
    You can’t go back, and you can’t stand still.
    If the thunder don’t get you, then the lightning will.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mu_VkKwHkS0

  4. @Coag

    Ahh finally: A man of wit, consequence, and reason. Congrats!

  5. Steve, I read that in Massachusetts, of those under age 60 less than 300 have died. Their prior health condition is not specified but the pattern has been for over 90% of deaths to be in those with severe health complications.

    This suggests that less than 30 healthy people under age 60 have died in Massachusetts from the SAR2-Covid-19 virus.

    Is that a scary number? It seems small. We need a comparison. How many healthy, young men were killed by Aids in the 1989s and 1990s? How many are still dying each year in Massachusetts?

    I marvel that when it comes to analyzing race statistics, you are a wizard. You dissect the numbers with finesse. But for Covid you seem lost and confused. How is that?

    Simple reality: If you are getting 60+ minutes of sunshine a day and you can hike any of your community hillsides, you will survive Covid.

    • Agree: Travis
    • Disagree: Peter Frost
  6. Advocates of a Herd Immunity strategy really need to get out their spreadsheets and do the math of how this would turn out to be a good thing.

    It might well be that there is still no reasonable basis for such work to be noticeably more informative than the informations we have already.

    From what I observe in Europe:
    The catastrophic CO-19 scenes in Mulhouse/Alsace  (France), Lombardy/ Northern Italy (Bergamo!), and the Madrid region in Spain might turn out to be one-time occurrences never to be seen again around here.

    So – if somebody would like to do the math, he could look for the learning processes which have already taken place big style and the steering capacity of modern societies which we encounter now in Austria for example, where they return to a slightly modified normal life after lockdown (masks in shops and public transport), cautious reopening of restaurants, – the same is happening in Switzerland.

    A special risk which had been at play in Italy and Spain was the high antibiotics resistance in both countries, which did add to the extraordinarily high death toll in northern Italy and the Madrid region. This has been seen nowhere else so far in Europe.

    See here: 
    https://medium.com/blue-poles/antibiotic-resistance-may-be-a-key-factor-in-covid-19-deaths-f37f053f98f6 

    And here:

    This is from November 2019 – an alarm cry of Italian doctors not to prescribe such insane amounts of antibiotics
     https://www.thelocal.it/20191108/italian-dcotors-warned-to-stop-overprescribing-antibiotics

    And here:

    A warning which is almost as dramatic – just not in the case of Italy but – in that of Spain – from February 2019
    https://www.europeandatajournalism.eu/eng/News/Data-news/The-antibiotic-resistance-crisis-deepens  

    PS
    Albania is doing surprisingly well with a copy of the Taiwan strategy so far (11 deaths/ million). There should be lots of press coverage of this initial lockdown example but there is none.

    • Thanks: ben tillman
    • Replies: @Lot
    , @utu
  7. Thoughts says:

    Assuming corona isn’t a hoax (I think it is)…

    As I’ve said in other threads, I am the Human Walking Flu. I get it 3-4 times a yr. And I’ve had H1N1 and Pneumonia, Strep like 10 times etc etc

    From my experience…

    People of any age will most likely get more worn down each time they have it.

    So there’s only 1 solution to this problem….

    Preventative Measures and Reducing the Viral Load You Inhale (I’m against a vaccine for conspiracy reasons)

    I’m THRILLED that masks will be required on planes. Fantastic Idea! Hygiene on planes has always needed to be improved.

    That being said, I don’t like seeing people walking along the sidewalk in a Mouth Diaper. That’s just stupid. Why? No one is around you!

    I don’t particularly like Mouth Diapers in stores either, although one of my worst flus I’ve ever gotten was when a Chinese Man in an upscale Whole Foods Coughed Straight into my Face. I even called my parents after what happened and said ‘It’s just a matter of how many hours I have’ That was 20 years ago. I still remember exactly what the f***er looked like. And yeah, he was a f****er.

    But the vast majority of people aren’t that rude (well white people) so mouth diapers aren’t really necessary in shops. I now live in a very white area, thank goodness.

    Masks on the London Tube? Yes, Please!

    Masks even on busses? Why not! Won’t hurt!

    Masks in shops—If you’ve got a lot of rude asians/indians/whatnot…perhaps. White people mostly keep respectful distances even during non-pandemic times.

    ——
    Then the second part is just hygiene and smarts.

    You need to always be a part of the Asymptomatic People because the viral load wasn’t that big or your immune system takes care of the problem.

    And that’s going to require constant care.

    I spent an hour in the sauna last night as I was getting a slight sniffles, tickle throat. I feel fine now.

    If you don’t believe heat can kill a disease or you don’t want to believe the sauna can solve your problems.

    That’s not my problem.

    I take 20 supplements a day, I do the sauna, I exercise, I take Quinine and any Quinine derivative I can get my hands on.

    That’s just what you have to do. And everyday.

    So? Welcome to the reality of living on a germy planet.

    I don’t sit on toilets, I use toilet paper to flush the handle, then I use more toilet paper to open the door, then I wash my hands, then I push the door open with my foot…etc etc

    It’s not my problem if other people aren’t that meticulous.

    And even with all that, you are still going to get it…from a less meticulous family member. But here’s the deal…F— it…at least you tried.

    Moving on now to more interesting things

    • Thanks: Je Suis Omar Mateen
    • Replies: @AKAHorace
  8. qwop says:

    The logic is based on the following two points.

    1. Every time you are reinfected, you experience a more mild disease because of prior exposure (memory cells, antibodies, etc.). Even if that resistance wanes with time, continuous reinfection will make sure it stays. If the disease is endemic, everyone will become resistant to it with time, and stay that way as long as the body is periodically re-challenged with infection. And these infections will not be as deadly.

    2. The R0-value, because of acquired immunity in the population, will be too small to cause anything but isolated outbreaks. Therefore, you are less likely to be exposed to the virus again during your normal day-to-day activities as there are fewer carriers around.

    There will be a balance, an equilibrium, between points 1 and 2, so that when R0 is too small, reinfection will not occur as often, leading to decreased resistance because of lack of immunological challenge and, hence, increased R0. The loop starts over and COVID will wax and wane periodically, but the amplitude of the oscillations is much smaller than what we’re seeing right now in the COVID-naive population.

    • Agree: Dutch Boy
    • Thanks: Daniel Williams
    • Replies: @Dutch Boy
    , @Glaivester
  9. Hemid says:
    @Steve Sailer

    When you feel the urge to Biden-post, do pushups.

  10. Bugg says:

    Appears the next goal post to be moved distant will be tracing. Now when COVID19 first appeared in the US in late January, that might have made sense. In theory you could have back then figured out where the early carriers had been and isolated their contacts. But with somewhere between 30 to over 50% of the US population having already been exposed, tracing now amounts to connecting dots, but in this case, all the dots at once. This late in the game, it would be pointless waste. What will you do with that data; put 30% of the US population in camps? What’s the point? You cannot feasibly do much with that data.

    • Replies: @Anon
    , @Anonymous
  11. Herd Immunity sounds promising for a once-in-a-lifetime disease. But if immunity only lasts 12 to 24 months, that’s a, several time per decade disease, which sounds like a less attractive deal.

    I think it would be great if it lasted only 3-6 months. I guess that, over time, covid would either disappear of lose so much of its strength that its effects would be not much different from any other flu.

    It happens with all pests, influenza, … They lose steam, regardless of our mathematical models. People adapt.

  12. @Steve Sailer

    You know I’m no epidemiologist and I don’t know a Corona from a VD, Steve. I am a numbers guy, at least by my previous trade, but if you think spreadsheets and math models for this are anything more than fun speculation, I think you are wrong.* They may give you plenty of insight AFTER the fact. My perspective tells me this is an overblown Infotainment-driven Panic-Fest**.

    I just rode on an airliner – I wore a mask for part of the time, as I’d promised my wife I would. However, as I posted yesterday – in Targeted for Hysteria and an Addendum, this totalitarian response from what feels like life under rule of menopausal women, is much worse than the effect of this year’s bad flu season on the heath of Americans.

    .

    * It really doesn’t help that there are numbers only known to within an order-of-magnitude, i.e. the number of people that actually died FROM Covid-19, and others that are less certain than that – i.e. the number of people who are, or have already been, infected. These 2 numbers are the numerator and denominator, respectively, of the very important ratio, the morbidity of this disease. Then there are the politics, and as you know with the whole AIDS panic, this can be a large factor. Do you trust the one guy Dr. Fauci, entrenched in his political position for near 40 years. to be the guy that just knows it all?

    ** That’s even BEFORE taking into account the political motivations of the response to this virus. It’s nothing more than what I’d expect Big Media and Big Government to do, if the people all fall for it.

    • Replies: @Coemgen
  13. Anon[403] • Disclaimer says:

    Here’s my math… we are not concerned about Boomers not spending money for the next 18 months. See, when you croak it from the ‘Rona, Gen X and Millenials inherit your piles of cash which we can immediately spend on things we couldn’t afford because y’all stuck around for too long anyway.

  14. The idea behind herd immunity is that in the event of a new outbreak, it is difficult for the virus to find enough hosts, and the R rate is <1, so the disease dies out again.

    If exposure to the disease only gives temporary immunity, then herd immunity will not work very well and the total number of living individuals in the herd may decline over time, thus reducing population.

    Those who believe that the US is already overpopulated and does not have enough resources to support more human life may welcome COVID-19 if it thins our species out.

    However, let's not get too worked up about this. Florida is now the third most populous state in the US. We have an average of roughly 203,000 deaths per year in our state. So far we have reported less than 2000 COVID-19 deaths, which is less than 1% of the average number of total deaths. A goodly number, perhaps half, of those COVID-19 deaths are deaths that probably would have been included in the annual 203,000, so we have perhaps 1000 extra deaths so far.

    Compared to historical epidemics this is small potatoes. The Great Potato famine in Ireland killed off over a million people, most of them succumbing to comorbidities of malnutrition rather than to the potato blight itself, which included dying below decks on transatlantic passenger ships, and led to double that number emigrating, thus reducing the population of the Emerald Isle by more than half.

    The Gin Craze in the first half of the eighteenth century in England killed millions too, having the effect of thinning out population overcrowding in London.

    Then we have the Big Daddy of them all, the Black Death in Europe in the 14th century, which killed off perhaps 75% of the population of Europe, and syphilis, which appears to have been one of the earlier global economy features, when the Columbus crew brought it back from the Americas in 1493 to devastate clean living Europeans with the Treponema pallidum bacteria.

    There is still no vaccination for syphilis, but it can be treated with antibiotics. Women are routinely tested for the disease in prenatal care and treated if necessary with a course of penicillin.

    The debate over whether one death is too many, so we shut down our way of life indefinitely, or the disease should just be allowed to run its natural course and we take it on the chin and our species comes out the other side fitter for survival is one that will run for ever.

    Really it is a Medicare thing.

  15. Anon[403] • Disclaimer says:

    Oh, and we don’t have to pay for your Social Security and Medicare. Win win.

    What an ironic twist for a generation who came of age with the belief that their parents lives and experiences were worthy of scorn and derision. Overthrow the old guard! Destroy the old social norms! Trust nobody over 30!

    • Replies: @Obee
  16. @Jonathan Mason

    I don’t usually agree with another anti-2A Socialist infiltrator to north Florida, but you’ve been on the right (common-sense) track lately. I just wrote back because I LUV LUV LUV that Hayek v Keynes rap number! Thanks, Jonathan.

  17. Maciano says:

    It will not work.

    What few people seem to know is that it wasn’t just the UK or Sweden who tried herd immunity; infect the strong, protect the weak. The Netherlands tried this. Within 2 weeks: ICUs were almost overloaded, schools got closed, everyday had to work from home, etc. The result was even more pitiful: 40% of elderly homes got infected by untested unprotected sick care workers. And we don’t even count excess deaths in our IFRs here…

    To make herd immunity work you will not need to trust the weakest link in your care work: dumb, hurried, overworked, underpaid employees. You think they’ll stay home when sick? You think they’ll buy their own hazmat suit?

    People who want to go for herd immunity need to be honest: they don’t want to protect the herd, they want to cull the herd. They prefer to let old people die, because they do not want to make the sacrifice, or believe they can’t afford that.

    • Replies: @WJ
    , @Znzn
    , @Anonymous
    , @dfordoom
  18. Alternatively,

    “How exactly is Hiding Under the Bed Forever supposed to work?”

  19. peterike says:

    Why the obsession with “showing the work”? Every respiratory illness — flus, colds, coughs — follows the exact same track: it shows up, it rises, peaks and falls. Repeat with the latest set of illnesses. Every single year. Do you expect Covid will be the first such illness in history to just rise and rise and never fall? Well, I suppose that could be if it really was bio-engineered by some evil geniuses (Chinese or American, choose your conspiracy). But other then some sensible precautions we should just all go about our business because nothing we do is going to stop it, and we might just drag it out longer and make it worse.

    • Replies: @Anon
    , @Anonymous (n)
    , @Bill
  20. @Inverness

    Mr. Sailer includes the hypothesis that SARS-CoV-2 is a quasi-Satan Bug (the book, not the movie), “Maybe people get progressively more worn down each time they catch it?”, the sort of thing Nassim Taleb has been worrying we’ll eventually be faced with if we continue our current global travel/trade patterns. We could see the near extinction of the human race….

    In that case, it’s very possible it’ll be the last bug we get from mainland China, because an obvious response from the rest of the world is to sterilize it with nuclear hellfire. One must wonder just how many plagues that have started there through the centuries like the Black Death that we must suffer before it’s decided enough is enough.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
    , @PiltdownMan
  21. UK says:

    Steve,

    It is opposite from what you seem to be implying. The longer a vaccine takes, the smarter Sweden will have proven to be.

    Immunity is not binary. Nor will it just switch off for everyone and then we have this idiotic time again. Instead, Sweden will see minor recurrences of Covid, like the flu, with very low IFRs and not very many people affected. This will probably end up being seasonal.

    So the long-term question is: should everyone be constantly surveilled and normal life shutdown in worse than 1984 conditions as long as it is needed to avoid what will be a mild recurrent seasonal disease?

  22. Kderosa says:

    Why does everyone seem to be ignoring this study on Coronaviruses:

    Coronavirus Occurrence and Transmission Over 8 Years in the HIVE Cohort of Households in Michigan

    https://academic.oup.com/jid/advance-article/doi/10.1093/infdis/jiaa161/5815743

    Coronaviruses are sharply seasonal. They appear, based on serial interval and secondary infection risk, to have similar transmission potential to influenza A(H3N2) in the same population.

    Figure 3 gives the incidence rate and it’s significantly lower than the herd immunity rate many have ham-fistedly calculated.

    Given that C19 is clearly following a convex decay line for the last seven weeks past it’s early April peak, it should go to near extinction in early June. Then it’s done for this season. And it will have closely followed the parameters laid out in this study.

    • Replies: @res
  23. @Jonathan Mason

    Really it is a Medicare thing.

    Or a Medicaid thing, the states “share” paying for its costs include nursing home care, something that in the fall of last year was 2/3rds of the huge deficit New York state was suddenly facing. One suspects that’s why so many Blue states like New York enacted policies forcing positive patients into nursing homes, a Silent Generation remover of both wards of the state and their financial burden.

    As you note, Florida has done very well, and I note despite having a huge population of the elderly. You can guess why. California is an outlier, it also enacted such a policy, but backed off in a couple of days, and it too is doing surprisingly well, although being the first in the nation to lock down helped a lot.

  24. The important point here is that the assumption bundled in your question of the possibility of finding a stable future in which we return to status post ante is wrong.

    Yes, herd immunity fails but vaccines not failing is wrong. If herd immunity only lasts 18 months, then ANY preventive treatment we find may only last 18 months. This is why we have different flu vaccines every year.

    You guys keep debating what the IFR is, but you ought to be debating what deaths are acceptable and why. As has been pointed out before, we as a society already accept preventable deaths, but not rationally, just through habit. In a society with the scientific and media situation we are in, the possibility of panic and political overreaction is a constant threat. So the issue of acceptable death needs to be addressed directly. It is only after answering that question that the question of IFR can have any relevance.

    As I pointed out in the other thread, herd immunity is not a strategy, it is a side-effect. The strategy is something like quarantining nursing homes and finding ways to effectively prevent the sick from crashing, instead of quarantining everyone.

  25. If we are to believe Steve, there is only one valid position: the fetal position.

    That’s my work, and I’m showing it.

  26. @Jonathan Mason

    If exposure to the disease only gives temporary immunity, then herd immunity will not work very well and the total number of living individuals in the herd may decline over time, thus reducing population.

    This is strictly true but does not represent COVID honestly. The prevalence of those with deranged metabolism–e.g., the elderly, the obese, diabetics–among the dead indicates that the disease will not just cull the herd the same every year. And the experience of Asian countries like Taiwan, S.Korea and Japan demonstrates that we can and would modify behavior over time to attenuate the effects.

  27. @Steve Sailer

    When will Tom Wolf, Gretchen Whitmer, Gavin Newsome, Larry Hogan, Andrew Cuomo, et al, show their work for closing small businesses while allowing big box stores to remain open?

    Arguing about “herd immunity” versus “lockdown” at this point is even more ridiculous than it was when we got started. That binarism is destructive all right; destructive of our ability to get to the real point, which is that we are seeing a selective and arbitrary destruction of businesses that lack the lobbying clout and institutional power of the largest and richest!

    • Agree: JosephB
  28. Travis says:

    The good thing about coronavirus immunity, at least 33% of the US population is already immune to developing COVID19, since 1/3 of the population is under the age of 26. Americans under the age of 25 are more likely to be hospitalized from Influenza than from this coronavirus. More young Americans have died of the Flu this year than coronavirus.

    The elderly can easily remain locked in their homes, collecting their Social Security checks. No need for them to go to work if they fear getting sick. It is time to end the lockdowns and open the schools and allow people to go camping in the woods or take a walk on the beach. The Nation was shutdown to flatten the curve. This was accomplished. We did not run out of ventilators or hospital beds. Mission accomplished. The results have been better than expected, the death toll is much lower than predicted 8 weeks ago. Georgia started opening up 2 weeks ago , and despite dire predictions from the fear mongers, they are doing fine.

    • Agree: Je Suis Omar Mateen
  29. @Steve Sailer

    As I implied above, this is a silly-to-ridiculous requirement if you haven’t established definitions of acceptable deaths, and if you assert that no deaths are acceptable then you are stuck questioning the whole structure of society.

    Even if you try to make a rule like deaths are acceptable as long as they don’t come from an overwhelmed health care system, it is much harder to make actionable than to assert. For example, since ICU beds can be scaled up and down, what is “overwhelmed” and how long do we wait to determine the situation? And how do you deal with the reality of incompetent medical analysis contributing to overwhelming-ness (as we saw in the ventilator fetish, which lasted throughout Wuhan and Italy until American doctors called it into question)? And how do you take into account deaths from non-care of other conditions that happen during a lockdown? Etc.

  30. megabar says:

    Where did the limited immunity of 12-24 months come from? Is that true for other coronaviruses? I thought, in general, immunity lasted much longer than that.

    The fact is that the right course of action relies on all of the following, and I’m not aware that we know any of them for sure:

    * Spread rate through entire population (possibly known from places like Lombardy)
    * Immunity duration
    * Long term effects of having been infected
    * Future improvements in treatment
    * Vaccine arrival date
    * Economic effects of effective lockdowns
    * Secondary effects of the economic effects

    For example, if opening up the economy ultimately kills 2% of the population, that’s horrible. But if not opening it up causing a massive depression, social upheaval, and ultimately a major conflict, then it would be better to open up. On the other hand, if treatment will improve, and/or a vaccine arrives in the near future, it likely would be better to keep things as is for a while.

    • Replies: @HA
    , @Je Suis Omar Mateen
  31. Jack D says:

    We are a long way from heard immunity and we don’t know for sure how long immunity lasts, but 12 months sounds way too short, based on other coronaviruses:

    Studies of SARS-CoV-2’s proteins and genetics suggest that the virus seems likely to induce a long-term immune response similar to that of other coronaviruses, like 2002’s SARS 1, or Middle Easter respiratory syndrome (MERS), which arose in 2012.

    Research on SARS 1 and MERS suggests that some level of antibody immunity persists for at least two or three years, starting high and gradually waning as time goes by, Samstein told Live Science.

    The immune system also produces a type of immune cell called virus-specific T cells in response to coronavirus infection. Less is known about T cells compared with antibodies, Vabret and Samstein said, because they are more difficult to find in the blood and study. But other coronaviruses seem to trigger their production, and these T cells seem to last for years in those cases. In one study of SARS 1 published in the journal Vaccine, researchers found these memory T cells last for up to 11 years after infection.

    https://www.livescience.com/covid-19-immunity.html

    Remember that most people already experience the Wuhan Virus as a mild flu rather than a life threatening disease and probably what will happen is that CV survivors, while gradually losing their immunity, will mostly move into the former category – you may get it again but this time it won’t come close to killing you the way it did the last time, because your immune system will be primed for a quicker response.

    Not to mention that 2 or 3 years from now, with a bit of luck, we’ll have a vaccine, we’ll know which anti-viral medications work in which combinations, there will be better treatment protocols, people will have pulse oximeters at home and be taking their Vitamin D, etc. so it won’t be wave after wave of .5% mortality. Especially if they figure out a way to keep it out of nursing homes, where up to 3/4 of all deaths have been taking place. Maybe in the 2nd wave it will be .25%, then .12% in the 3rd wave, etc. until it just becomes another fact of life like flu.

    We have lived with flu for millions of years and civilization never came to an end before this but somehow this new virus has completely overturned global society in order to save a bunch of senile elderly and we haven’t even managed to accomplish that goal. But meanwhile, countless industries have been turned upside down – education, tourism, hospitality, medicine, etc. and some may never recover.

    • Agree: Johann Ricke
  32. As someone who spent most my life around a herd of Guernsey cows, “herd humanity” is the figurative product that comes out of the bull’s butt hole. All the smart people with brains bigger than their heads get tossed a gimmick term, and somehow it becomes fact that must be achieved.

  33. In rare agreement.

    I think you understand – very well. There’s no point getting out any spread sheets. Herd immunity is all about whose left after infect and has developed a system to withstand the virus attack.

    No one has any idea how many would left after an entire populous is infected.

    It’s allowing a fever to take its course . . . either it break or perhaps the patient dies or it breaks and there are other consequences as a result of the battle. But once its done — the belief is its done and those left will be immune, so it is believed.

    I admit, the caveat that some believe they can manage the spread to the entire population over time and gradually introduce it to the population.

  34. this new virus has completely overturned global society in order to save a bunch of senile elderly and we haven’t even managed to accomplish that goal.

    That wasn’t the goal

    But meanwhile, countless industries have been turned upside down – education, tourism, hospitality, medicine, etc. and some may never recover.

    This was the goal.

  35. There is no work to show to prove it’s a desirable circumstance. It’s not a desirable circumstance, it’s inevitable and a necessary circumstance, there is no real alternative.

    Once we get to it, it maybe, might, could be unlike everything we have seen before, but it probably won’t be. It’s like worrying about supervolcanos. Sometimes supervolcanos happen, no sense in worrying about them. Mainly they do not happen though. Usual circumstances are usual, the normal thing is far more likely than an unprecedented event that changes everything forever.

    This ‘herd immunity’ business, I don’t bother trying to qualify or quantify it as a strict phenomenon, it’s overdetermined. I treat it as an allusion for how these things work. It’s not an actual thing (strictly defined) but a sense of how things work with diseases.

    Every single other disease mankind has ever faced is in the same boat. Why would this one be different from all previous known viral agents? Could it keep coming back every 6 months with the same fatality? I can’t prove it won’t, but none ever have before, and the same maybe/might/possibly worry has been there all along, it always could have happened.

    It’s like worrying ebola might go airborne. It might, it almost certainly won’t, but it might, and if does we’re all dead anyway so the asteroid apophis hitting us won’t matter.

    To get an idea for what will happen, look at everything that has already happened. Don’t throw out everything we know and start assuming from year 0 like nothing is likely because the current situation might be novel and totally different from anything we’ve seen before.

    This disease is blatantly not novel. It’s only novel to people who’s timescales are very short who thought history ended and the world began anew in 2002.

    Look at all previous pandemics, look at influenza. Did the Spanish Flu keep coming back year after year and killing more people? Basically, yes. The flu has been with us the whole time. That gives you an idea of what it will look like.

    The Spanish Flu didn’t recreate the same mortality every year or every 2 years. It did keep mutating so people who survived the Spanish Flu and were immune would still get sick from new mutated flus, but the new flu mutations were mostly average flus (except the few times they weren’t, 1958, 1968, 2018).

    The same reality with the same scenarios has been there all along.

    Could corona mutate another strain and inflict the same mortality all over again in 2 years? It might… but it could also be an influenza strain next time, or an ebola strain. It could be 2 years from now with the same likelihood it could have been 2 years ago.

    You are asking for someone to give you some certainty, and that is relatable. I get why you want it, it would be nice. But there will be none.

  36. Just severe flu. Hype gives Creep State power.

    • Replies: @Old Palo Altan
  37. Lot says:
    @Dieter Kief

    “ an alarm cry of Italian doctors not to prescribe such insane amounts of antibiotics”

    They say this, correctly, everywhere.

  38. People who are more likely to spread this than other people are also more likely to contract it, for the same reasons. People that live in close quarters, use or work in public transportation, due to cultural or language issues have not observed the lockdown rules, people that work or are in classrooms in close quarters (meat packing houses, nursing homes, hospitals, schools), people that travel often, people that go to large events or bars, and people that interact with many others at work (hair dressers, etc.). The abatement efforts so far have cut down on the spread from travel, events, bars, schools, gyms, barber shops, etc. But not so much on the others.

    As the people in the affected groups gain immunity, the natural spread should slow (not just from the immunity ratio of the entire population), since the people more likely to spread this more will be getting immunity. If you have a population of 1000 people, and 50 of them are likely to spread a new disease to 5 people each while the other 9950 are likely to spread this to only one more person, the immunity ratio among those 50 affects the overall rate of the disease a lot more than the overall immunity ratio.

    Or if not, we’re screwed anyway.

  39. res says:

    Some pieces of the puzzle.

    A non-homogenous population may result in lower thresholds for herd immunity than the commonly quoted % infected = 1 – 1/R0 figure.
    https://wattsupwiththat.com/2020/05/11/why-herd-immunity-to-covid-19-is-reached-much-earlier-than-thought/

    Minimize the IFR by focusing on herd immunity within the least vulnerable (with a special focus on highly social types or those with occupations making them likely to be superspreaders) while focusing on protection for the most vulnerable. People in both categories can choose to act like they are in the other category as long as they don’t endanger others (e.g. we can’t have just one bold nursing home patient decide going to sing in their choir in the outside world would be a good idea).

    To my thinking, tracking is key. If we can see outbreaks happening with about a five day lag we can react before too many doublings take place. This is one reason NOT to open up all at once. The interim R0 should be kept under control to extend the initial doubling times and allow the tracking/reaction feedback loop to be effective.

    Steve, this is a personal question, so you don’t have to answer, but how would you (and other high risk individuals) feel about being locked down through the end of the next flu season or vaccine arrival (whichever comes first) while the rest of the world started back up? Say the approach was providing support to you (e.g. delivery of necessities, financial aid for those who can’t work from home) such that you did not have to leave your house unless you chose to?

    We are talking about multi-trillion dollar costs to the economy. That should leave a great deal of room to spend money helping the vulnerable while getting the rest of the country going again.

    I don’t think we have good enough data or understanding of the infection dynamics (especially the response to countermeasures) to spreadsheet it out in detail. I think the best we can do is rough calculations for different scenarios then start opening up with careful tracking and one hand on the brake in case things turn out worse than expected.

    • Agree: ic1000
  40. @Buzz Mohawk

    Fetal is indeed the only logical position, now that Rick “Planet Earth’s Leading Immunologist” Bright has warned we’re facing “the darkest winter” in history.

  41. Alfa158 says:

    We have to consider an alternative possibility:
    Herd immunity for Covid will occur the same way that it did for the family of viruses known as the common cold.
    It didn’t, and it won’t for Covid either. Ditto with a vaccine.

    This appear so far to be a disease with the following characteristics;
    1. It is highly contagious.
    2. Many people appear to have no symptoms or mild symptoms.
    3. These people may still be able to communicate it. (I don’t know if we have a quantified answer to that yet.)
    4. It has a higher death rate than the flu or cold, very roughly somewhere around 1%. Not cataclysmic like smallpox or bubonic plague, but bad enough to cause a very high numerical death rate and be a serious problem.
    5. There is no lifetime immunity from being infected.
    6. Although no one has ever tried this hard before, we have never succeeded in creating a human vaccine for any coronavirus.

    If we cannot develop a vaccine then the only way to stamp out the disease is to isolate people to the level of not having any interaction without full biowarfare protection suits, and even then we have to hope that #3 above is not the case, because then as soon as the suits come off, it starts again from carriers.
    Possibly then we won’t have herd immunity, we’ll have herd culling. Essentially everyone on earth will be exposed sooner or later. With modern mass travel even those countries that locked everything down and snuffed it out will be re-exposed. Treatments will evolve and improve, people with co-morbidities or auto-immune reactions will be hospitalized and some will die. The disease will mutate just like the cold viruses. The Europeans and the common cold adapted to each other, while first contact with Europeans supposedly devastated some populations that had no antibodies.
    We’ll take sensible precautions, testing and treatment will improve, but the most vulnerable of us will be culled out and life will go on. We live with this thing bouncing around amongst us for the indefinite future.

    • Thanks: Coemgen
    • Replies: @Lars Porsena
    , @Travis
  42. peterike says:

    Tales from Minnesota.

    At yesterday’s press briefing… KSTP TV’s Tom Hauser reiterated his question regarding the share of all Minnesota deaths attributed to COVID-19 that derive from long-term care facility residents and others with significant underlying medical conditions. When first asked two weeks ago Tom’s question elicited the answer I have continued to state and emphasize in bold: 99.24 percent.

    Minnesota Department of Health Infectious Diseases Director Kris Ehresmann fielded Tom’s question yesterday, as she had done before. As before, Ehresmann had the answer ready at hand: 98.8 percent. Of the 499 deaths for which the relevant information is available, 493 had significant underlying medical conditions; six did not. (The authorities await further data on 164 deaths.)

    Furthermore:

    The state authorities attributed 25 new deaths to the virus, bringing the total to 663. Twenty-one of the 25 new deaths occurred among residents of long-term care facilities, bringing the total of LTC deaths attributed to the virus to 537. The share of all such deaths now comes in a hair under 81 percent, by my calculation.

    The age breakdown of new decedents follows the pattern we have observed to date. Of the 25 new decedents, one decedent was in his 100’s, six were in their 90’s, 7 were in their 80’s, 8 were in their 70’s, two were in their 50’s, and one was in his 30’s (“believed to have significant underlying conditions”).

    But hey, let’s close the schools.

    More here:

    https://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2020/05/coronavirus-in-one-state-40.php

  43. if immunity only lasts 12 to 24 months, that’s a, several time per decade disease, which sounds like a less attractive deal

    Very attractive deal if you make vaccines…

  44. It seems to me herd immunity is dependent on the assumed rate of spread (R0 in virus-talk).

    For example, if one infected person would normally infect two others the R0 is 2.0. But if one of those two people is immune, then only one will get infected and re-spread. That person only infects one other non-immune person, etc. So the R0 drops to 1. In that case, the spread is no longer geometric. So if R0 is 2.0, practical herd immunity should occur when about 1/2 of the population is immune.

    You could run high level math models forever based on different assumptions about how long immunity lasts, how much social distancing slows the spread, how much contact there is between different populations, etc.

    You could also factor in how the only vulnerable people are a small percentage of old and sick. If you did that, the optimal strategy would be to quarantine the oldsters and sickos and then crop-dust the virus on everyone else. Two weeks later and there would be only two types of people: those who don’t have the virus, and those who are immune from it. The virus would be gone. Theoretically.

  45. I keep hearing all this lockdown turmoil in California, but they’re letting Santa Anita and Golden Gate open back up. Guess the state needs that sweet simulcast take

  46. Anonymous[245] • Disclaimer says:

    Thanks Steve. I’m looking forward to reading this. Let’s have some cases per day projections, herd immunity threshold percentages, and how we are going to reach them in terms of time.

  47. Gordo says:

    Even if this virus isn’t very bad, and I believe it is, we should be wiping it out as practice for the next Made in China event.

  48. @Achmed E. Newman

    I think “herd immunity” is a “thing” with a vaccine. If you immunize, say, 70% of the people, the remaining 30% who cannot or will not take the vaccine are protected because the 70% protected form a kind of fire break against active spread of the disease.

    Scott Adams (creator of Dilbert) quotes virologist Didier (Didier Raoult?) in France that viral epidemics peak and then subside on their own, and no one really knows why. Adams claims that were it herd immunity, this man would claim that.

    The Salk vaccine back in the day was in the words of a former US Vice President and current presidential candidate “A big (fine) deal” because Salk figured out how to make an effective vaccine from dead virus. The vaccine for smallpox was actually cowpox (hence vaccine derived from a word for “cow”), a live virus.

    A live virus vaccine can be developed by “attenuation”, passing it through multiple generates of transmission through a host that it is no longer as dangerous? Such a live virus vaccine was a thing in the days before Jenner’s discovery of live cowpox providing protection. The story I read is that wealthy people in Colonial America would infect a human chain of their servants, taking a lesion from one to infect the next, until deliberately infecting themselves of their children?

    Do you suppose that in a wild transmission in an epidemic, where the virus is transmitted from one person to the next, that it becomes, like, less virulent? Kind of like a human-host-to-host virus version of the game of “Telephone”?

  49. @Alfa158

    3. These people may still be able to communicate it. (I don’t know if we have a quantified answer to that yet.)

    Presymptomatics are conflated with asymptomatics. I think it has been basically established that presymptomatics are infectious and can spread the virus. Every single symptomatic person is presymptomatic before they are symptomatic, and every presymptomatic person becomes symptomatic, and I think the medical studies are showing that – that symptomatic patients spread the disease before they are symptomatic.

    These studies are calling these people “asymptomatic” because these studies don’t and can’t distinguish between true asmyptomaticity and presymptomaticity. So the vast majority of the data that showing asymptomatic individuals are infectious is actually showing presymptomatic individuals are infectious.

    I don’t believe there is absolutely any data at all that shows true asymptomatic people are infectious.

    They may or may not be, but I’d say basic logic dictates that even if they are, they would be at a greatly greatly reduced rate. Not very infectious. Or not infectious at all.

    To be asymptomatic you have to have an infection that remains below symptom thresholds. I believe there must surely be people who are asymptomatic below testing thresholds too. Someone who is asymptomatic below testing thresholds is probably completely non-infectious. Some who is asymptomatic just barely below symptomatic thresholds is probably slightly less infectious than someone who is barely symptomatic with mild symptoms. Someone who is symptomatic with severe symptoms is probably (and possibly even in presymptomatic stage) more infectious than someone who is symptomatic with mild symptoms.

    I think that just makes sense, albeit with a lot of modifications for other factors. The idea that some people might be asymptomatic below testing threshold is noumenon. By definition it cannot be observed or proved to exist. But based on the basic model of how pathogenic infections works we can stipulate that it must exist because it should exist.

    You were almost certainly asymptomatic below testing threshold for e. coli bacteria you ate last month and never even knew you were food poisoned because your immune system just dealt with it.

  50. @Buzz Mohawk

    That guy cowering under the desk in his house doesn’t look the least bit of how Prince Harry looks like in photos?

  51. @res

    I think the best we can do is rough calculations for different scenarios then start opening up with careful tracking and one hand on the brake in case things turn out worse than expected.

    I see that happening in Switzerland and in Austria. In nearby Kreuzlingen, the schools did slowly open, kindergarten is open, stores are open, Museums, etc. are open – with social distancing.
    Most factories and trades did not close at all.

    Same in Austria. The only difference: In Austria masks in public spaces like supermarkets and trains etc. are obligatory.

    There were always more than enough hospital beds, both in Austria and in Switzerland.

  52. The ̶K̶r̶e̶m̶ White House is pleased to announce today that Dr. Anthony Fauci will not be appearing on TV any more as he has been seconded to lead an important team of medical researchers studying a COVID-19 outbreak at a secret Federal ̶g̶u̶l̶a̶g̶ camping site in Alaska.

    To avoid confusion his name will be removed from all transcripts of past press briefings and Congressional testimony. The date of the memorial service is classified information for reasons of national security. No nasty questions, please!

    [Press release from Ministry of Love.]

  53. @Achmed E. Newman

    Very much like the other virae…

    Hmm… You think viruses are feminine? I bet Whiskey does, too.

    Why Is There Confusion over the Plural of Virus?
    Viruses is the only way to make the noun virus plural.

    Confusion arises over the plural of virus because people mistakenly believe that viri or virii is its Latin plural form, (in the same way that fungus, cactus, and hippopotamus become fungi, cacti, and hippopotami). Virus is one of the few Latin nouns without a Latin plural.

    https://www.grammar-monster.com/plurals/plural_of_virus.htm

    • Replies: @Dieter Kief
  54. @Steve Sailer

    Please show your work.

    “Sitting in for Steve this week will be Razib Khan…”

    • LOL: Coemgen, Inverness
    • Replies: @Feeeney
  55. Mr. Anon says:

    How Exactly Is Herd Immunity Supposed to Work?

    By making us think of ourselves as the World’s wealthy and powerful people think of us.

    As a herd.

    It’s working.

  56. Mr. Anon says:
    @Achmed E. Newman

    Even the common cold had to start off pretty hard-core one time, right, back when people’s bodies weren’t used to it? There’s nothing new under the sun.

    Indeed. In all likelihood, we are the descendents of people who had some slight advantage in resistance to what are now the viruses that cause the common cold.

    • Replies: @TomSchmidt
  57. @Reg Cæsar

    Virus is one of the few Latin nouns without a Latin plural.

    https://www.grammar-monster.

    Virusses are scary! – And don’t they originate in Russia – that’d be even scarier!

  58. @Steve Sailer

    Show your work. That’s rich.

    • Replies: @Che Blutarsky
  59. Certainly the most vulnerable are dying off in this first wave. That’s why I don’t think the second wave will be as bad. All those poor people in nursing homes can’t die again!

  60. HA says:
    @megabar

    “Where did the limited immunity of 12-24 months come from? Is that true for other coronaviruses?”

    Yes.

    No telling yet whether the same is true of this new coronavirus.

  61. Anon[314] • Disclaimer says:
    @Bugg

    How many illegal immigrants are there in the US? 10M? 20M? We don’t even know. And all the anecdotal evidence I’ve seen is that illegal immigrants avoid contact with the authorities like the plague. The idea that you’ll be able to a) contact them, and b) get them to give up the names and contact information of everyone they’ve seen for the last two weeks is laughable.

    Factor in the families and friends of illegal immigrants, people involved in crime, their families and friends, and others who don’t trust the government, and contact tracing is already a hopeless enterprise. We lost that opportunity very quickly, and it would have taken extraordinary competence to pull it off anyway.

    • Replies: @Bugg
    , @Anonymous
  62. Anonymous[387] • Disclaimer says:

    A spreadsheet wouldn’t do it. You would need a Monte Carlo simulation, and then a statistical analysis of the time series generated by the simulation. You wouldn’t want to try for a predictive simulation, just for a very very very simple one, showing how the decay of immunity would affect some set (actually vector) of outcomes — maybe medical costs, total mortality, effects of morbidity, total deaths, and so on. The idea isn’t to predict the future, it is to show unexpected consequences, “emergent properties”, of the _kind_ of system being simulated. For example, does varying decay rate lead at some value to a step function in morbidity that overtaxes the productive capabilities of the society (rather as welfare has done)?

    How this works: There was a recent simulation of some interest that showed how sufficiently high connectivity could lead to global extinction for a disease that would otherwise become extinct from killing all its local hosts. The interesting thing was that the change in travel time didn’t cause a gradual increase in the chance of killing all hosts worldwide, but that the chance of killing all hosts worldwide suddenly jumped from near zero to near 1 at some critical value of connectivity. This tells about the system of interest without trying to make the simulation into a forward looking time machine.

    Anyway, I could write the simulation you wanted, and analyze it statistically. It would take about two months solid, given my existing software, and it would use Alan Pritzker’s methodology. I’d need some kind of concrete reward on completion, however. Serious offer, reply if you want to accept it.

    If not, than for a historical review, backed by lab work, of high disease load and its effect on the Roman Empire, rise to fall, see: Kyle Harper, _The Fate of Rome_, Princeton University Press, 2017. Summary: A surprisingly large disease burden could be carried, provided that food supply was adequate, but the end of the Roman Climactic Optimum raised disease burden and extenal threat level high enough to permit military dismemberment of the Empire.

    Something similar has happened to the West, in that a system we knew nothing of (human genetic variability and irritability of psychological characteristics in our case, the existence of microorganisms in Rome’s case) has gradually exhausted our resources, until suddenly we find ourselves poor.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
  63. Bleuteaux says:
    @Inverness

    This is exactly right, and I’ve tried telling people this from the beginning. This is going to happen over and over and over. The Chinese have figured out a way to break us.

  64. Anonymous[296] • Disclaimer says:

    My original plea to the government was to give people warning to stock up 3 weeks worth of food, and pay them a conditional lump sum to stay indoors. Only police and hospital workers at work, and they would be given proper masks, face shields, gloves, etc. Anyone caught off their own property would have the lump sum taken back, and major fines as a consequence. Also separate the hospitals into COVID and non-COVID. This would be the soft sell version of a Wuhan style lockdown, which works. These pathetic half-ass measures do not work.

    Also, the big hero in the Far East seems to be the cell phone monitoring apps which show if you have been to a hotspot in which case you need to quarantine.

    Yes, the half measures have made things worse. Flatten the curve was always bonkers, as the Swedes figured out. We could have stopped this if we had the will. But our leaders are garbage.

    They have been using this time to try and brainstorm how they can retain power once people realize it is actually worse than they imagined. They are just buying time trying to save their own necks. The people protesting to go back to their wage slavery should instead be storming their state Capitol buildings. I suppose they will in time.

  65. @Anon

    Let me add to your math, #403. The younger generations won’t be able to buy very much with this newfound cash after all, because the printing of $2,000/person-month WILL create price inflation. “This is not my $200,000 beautiful house.”

  66. Dutch Boy says:
    @qwop

    Precisely. Herd immunity is the rational goal of Covid-19 policy. A vaccine, even if an effective one is possible (attempts to create a SARS vaccine failed) is years away.

  67. leterip says:
    @Steve Sailer

    Where are your spreadsheets demonstrating that a non herd immunity strategy is a good idea?

    This makes me think of the joke about the 2 guys running from the bear. Except when the one guy puts his running shoes on, the other guy demands a mathematical analysis explaining why this will increase his probability of living.

    Seriously though, haven’t we at least learned that this is a such complex issue that is not possible to model mathematically. It will take some months before we have a significantly better understanding and are able to confirm which approach was right.

    I was wondering if we could start a sort of March Madness pool containing a number of Covid predictions that we assess at the end of the year: IFR, Sweden being acknowledged as best approach, total employed in US, does track and trace work, will there be a peer-reviewed study that masks work, etc. Say we kick in $100 each. You get 1/2 to run the pool and the other half goes to the charity chosen by the winner.

  68. Anon[314] • Disclaimer says:
    @peterike

    Why the obsession with “showing the work”?

    Years ago, I remember Steve writing something about how he used to obsess about macroeconomics, but eventually stopped when he found that all the time he spent studying it wasn’t increasing his understanding of reality. Or words to that effect….correct me if I’m wrong.

    It’s quite possible that the progress of this disease may totally defy any attempts to model and predict it. The extreme heterogeneity of outcomes in different areas has not been adequately explained. For any place that did X and had Y outcome, there’s another place that did not-X but had Y outcome, and yet another place that did X but had not-Y outcome. All this modeling may just be fundamentally missing the boat.

  69. Travis says:
    @Alfa158

    The fatality rate of this coronavirus is misleading, since for those under the age of 60 the fatality rate is well below .5% while the fatality rate for those over the age of 70 is above 5%

    Those under the age of 30 are basically immune to this coronavirus and are more likely to die from the regular flu. The half of the population under the age of 43 having almost no risk of dying from it. The average age of COVID19 deaths is 79 Years old.

    we should be advising the elderly to stay home and avoid crowds while permitting everyone else to return to their lives, open the parks, beaches, businesses. The elderly can easily stay safe at home collecting their social security checks , eating at home while prohibiting visitors.

    Waiting for herd immunity is a foolish policy, since half the population has almost zero risk of dying from this coronavirus and we have no idea how long immunity will last anyway.

    The purpose of the lockdowns was initially to lower the curve and prevent the hospitalized from being overwhelmed. The Curve was lowered and the hospitals never ran out of beds or ventilators in NY or NJ. It is Time to end the lockdowns and allow people to go back to work and open their businesses, open the National Parks and the beaches. The elderly can stay home if they choose to. No reason to keep young people locked up in their homes. The crisis is over, the hospitals can easily handle the number of patients. Quarantine the sick, but not the healthy.

  70. vhrm says:

    A couple of weeks ago we were discussing SEIR models of infection, but an extension of the is the
    “susceptible-exposed-infectious-recovered-susceptible (SEIRS) ”
    Where people become susceptible again after some time.

    This paper uses that concept to look at existing human coronavirus infection historically and then do some long term modeling for Covid-19. It’s pretty meaty and i haven’t spent enough time with it, but figure 3 shows some projected future seasons based on different lengths of immunity. Afaict it could keep coming back, or it could die out depending on the value.

    “Projecting the transmission dynamics of SARS-CoV-2 through the postpandemic period”

    https://science.sciencemag.org/content/early/2020/05/11/science.abb5793

    I’ll have to dig into it more later, and I’d like to see something that is age stratified, but it’s the first thing I’ve seen that addresses the longer term.

    • Thanks: res
    • Replies: @res
    , @Almost Missouri
  71. it will work about the same as it did in 1957 and 1968, when 99.9% of people survived, GDP grew, and nobody even cancelled baseball.

    except back then you weren’t afraid of it, boomer. you were fine with 100,000 old people dying, while you guys went about your daily business of rock and roll, buying houses, having kids, getting good jobs, and watching football.

    the difference is now you boomers are afraid of it, and want the rest of us to lose a year or two of career advancement, income, real estate buying, stock market gains, sports, concerts, all so you guys can eek out a few more years.

    • Replies: @Reg Cæsar
  72. the dumbest thing about this is that the population will go UP. not down.

    this time next year, there will be 2 million more people in America. the global population will go up by 80 million people.

    this is strictly about boomers being in total control and having one more go round of totally controlling everything for purely selfish reasons.

  73. Muggles says:

    I have a very simple Model about when “herd immunity” will be officially announced.

    Based on a single observation: the very large city nearby has just announced massive “furloughs” of city workers, due to drastically decreased city revenue. Mainly sales taxes but also other transaction taxes. The Property tax hit won’t happen until next year. Thousands are being cut.

    So my Model says that when government workers (and those in quasi government orgs like hospitals, educational institutions of all kinds, govt. grant dependent “charities, etc.) are laid off > 10% of the pre-COVID-19 numbers, then it will be suddenly proclaimed by all salaried tax funded “experts” and elected officials that we have now achieved that precious herd immunity. No more layoffs! No need to riot in the streets! No tax increases (well, it’s not utopia, but let’s say small ones…)

    Even the Feds will adhere to this, since despite Pelosi-nomics, even they can’t conjure up trillions more in borrowed Chinese money to hand out to keep everyone on the government payroll.

    Note, my Model excludes private workers. No one cares about their problems. But when laid off tax feeders riot in the streets, the Revolution is imminent! The Model says Open Up Now! Immunity Now Achieved!

  74. anon[225] • Disclaimer says:
    @Inverness

    Elixir, Alchemy, Silver Bullet, Phlogiston, Aether, Miasma… Herd Immunity …

  75. WJ says:
    @Maciano

    Assuming we don’t get a vaccine, is there an option, other than perpetual lockdown and completely sealed borders? Supposedly the natural R0 is 3 so that means about 2/3rds of the population need to be infected for herd immunity. We have suppressed that R0 but can we continue without ending our way of life?

  76. res says:
    @Kderosa

    Interesting. Thanks. The seasonality they observed is worth highlighting.

    Final paragraph of the paper.

    The transition from pandemic to seasonal circulation is well established for influenza, wherein, following an influenza pandemic, the novel virus becomes the new seasonal virus, replacing the previous A subtype [34]. The 4 current HCoVs have been circulating for decades, and it is unclear how they initially emerged or whether they replaced previously circulating viruses [35]. Contrary to influenza, MERS and SARS have not become a fixed presence in seasonal respiratory illness circulation on a global scale. Only time will tell if SARS-CoV-2 will become a continuing presence in the seasonal HCoV landscape, continue with limited circulation as with MERS, or, like SARS, disappear from humans altogether.

  77. Znzn says:
    @Maciano

    Maybe the boomers can get lucky and get their vengeance when this virus goes like influenza 1918 and starts killing 25 year olds. It is not so funny when the shoe is in the other foot.

  78. There are potentially effective treatments not being pursued for inexplicable reasons.

    The first is Todd Rider’s DRACO:

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3144912/

    The second is TRIIM, developed by a guy I know personally in SoCal:

    https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/acel.13028

    The third is something I just heard about in the last two days:

    https://interestingengineering.com/young-rat-plasma-successfully-reversed-aging-54-in-old-rats-say-scientists

    Immunosenescence is by far the biggest risk factor for COVID-19. Any reversal of immunosenescence, by definition, will make you more resilient to COVID-19 and all other infectious diseases.

    Could the failure of the people pushing the “warp drive” initiative to consider these three options be indicative of political corruption? Or perhaps all of this COVID-19 business is a charade?

    • Replies: @Anonymous
    , @HA
  79. Coemgen says:
    @Achmed E. Newman

    If there is an overreaction to COVID-19/SARS-COV-2, why have the Chinese been overreacting to it too? They likely have the best information about the virus and its associated syndromes. Shouldn’t the rest of the world act-in-kind?

    Unless, there is some sort of conspiracy where the Chinese overreaction is meant to trigger international economic and political troubles.

    The Democrats do seem awfully happy to have a pandemic and, the pandemic did start at about the same time the Democrats’ impeachment strategy unwound.

  80. Anonymous[301] • Disclaimer says:
    @That Would Be Telling

    For clarity please:

    Is there anyone on this site with a Virologist’s background?

    – I know certain viruses like Smallpox/Measles etc are one and done on the immune system and that those viruses don’t really mutate.

    -Other viruses like the influenza create permanent immune antibodies (T-cells??) to that exact strain but the problem is that it mutates quickly and there are continual new novel strains that your immune system is unfamiliar with.

    -Herpies-like viruses like Epstein-Barr amd CMV supposedly linger in you, lurking and flare at times, possibly when your immune system is taxed or you are fatigued, lack sleep or stressed. There are no vaccines and I don’t understand the immune response of antibodies if at all.

    -COVID-19/Coronavirus is simply unknown at this time. They keep referring to “RNA” and possibly limited immunity for limited time period like Common Cold viruses. Does it have factors involved like other Coronavirus/Common Colds where you are more likely to get it bad if you are stressed, lack sleep and burning the candle at both ends, not eating well?

    Are there other virus implications? I know there are many links to viruses and later cancers like HPV causing cancers, Epstein-Barr implicated in Lymphoma etc, etc.

    And then layered on top of these viruses is people Genetics and HLA components (6 Differing HLAs per person) which may provide immunity to certain viruses or given people more robust immune abilities.

    Any experts?

    • Replies: @That Would Be Telling
  81. To be brief, there is no such thing as herd immunity. It’s just a sciencey sounding term for “fewer people getting sick.” It has already happened, and it will continue.

    Also, there is going to be a Thermidorian Reaction to all this lockdown shit, ironically during Thermidor, and Fauci and his ilk had better watch out.

  82. But what if lots of people want to hunker down and avoid being a sacrificial lamb? This sounds like a Herd Immunity strategy might blunder into a worst of both worlds, with huge numbers being made deeply ill but the economic downturn dragging on for several years as scores of millions hunker down and don’t spend a lot of money pursuing an active social life.

    That’s what you get for feminising society. The Asian flu in ’57-’58 killed a couple million world-wide, with an CFR of 0.67%. It is estimated to have killed up to 116k in the US. The Hong Kong flu in ’67 killed a million world wide, and roughly 100k, many of whom were over 65. It is believed that some acquired immunity from the ’57 flu might have lessened the toll. Interestingly, antibiotics were also believed to play a role in muting the toll of both pandemics by preventing secondary infections like pneumonia; interesting because antibiotic resistance might now be in play.

    Do the numbers seem familiar? And yet everyone kept on living life as we knew it before. I guess having the Sword od Damocles in the form of nuclear armageddon made worrying about the flu seem trivial, but then again, it was still a world run by men.

    • Replies: @Dieter Kief
  83. @Federalist

    It was a gentler response than one would have got from Cochran, who unfortunately, despite having profound and important insights on a great number of topics, is pretty much an unpleasant person.

  84. res says:
    @vhrm

    Thanks! That is indeed meaty. Some things which I think merit discussion.

    Fig. 4 One-time social distancing scenarios in the absence of seasonality.
    (A to E) Simulated prevalence of COVID-19 infections (solid) and critical COVID-19 cases (dashed) following establishment on 11 March 2020 with a period of social distancing (shaded blue region) instated two weeks later, with the duration of social distancing lasting (A) four weeks, (B) eight weeks, (C) twelve weeks, (D) twenty weeks, and (E) indefinitely. There is no seasonal forcing; R0 was held constant at 2.2 (see fig. S12 for R0 = 2.6). The effectiveness of social distancing varied from none to a 60% reduction in R0. Cumulative infection sizes are depicted beside each prevalence plot (F to J) with the herd immunity threshold (horizontal black bar). Of the temporary distancing scenarios, long-term (20-week), moderately effective (20%-40%) social distancing yields the smallest overall peak and total outbreak size.

    The notable thing I see here is how little difference the differing levels of intervention make on the final infection totals. With the notable exception of interventions extending through spring 2021. Which I assume just result in an infection spike to a similar level in Fall of 2021.

    Also notice how the most severe intervention is worse OVERALL than both of the intermediate interventions in panels C and D (more so in D).

    Look closely at panel D. I believe this supports loosening the lockdowns while leaving less intrusive measures (e.g. bans on large gatherings) in place. This allows attaining herd immunity (minimizing a second wave) without overshooting.

    Figure 5 is even more interesting. This model incorporates seasonality. Notice that the most severe lockdown has the WORST results because it enables a more severe second wave in the fall. This is why I am being so vocal about starting to open up SOON. Whether or not seasonality is relevant is an important unknown right now.

    Fig. 5 One-time social distancing scenarios with seasonal transmission.
    (A to E) Simulated prevalence, assuming strong seasonal forcing (wintertime R0 = 2.2, summertime R0 = 1.3, or 40% decline), of COVID-19 infections (solid) and critical COVID-19 cases (dashed) following establishment on 11 March 2020 with a period of social distancing (shaded blue region) instated two weeks later, with the duration of social distancing lasting (A) four weeks, (B) eight weeks, (C) twelve weeks, (D) twenty weeks, and (E) indefinitely (see fig. S13 for a scenario with wintertime R0 = 2.6). The effectiveness of social distancing varied from none to a 60% reduction in R0. Cumulative infection sizes are depicted beside each prevalence plot (F to J) with the herd immunity threshold (horizontal black bar). Preventing widespread infection during the summer can flatten and prolong the epidemic but can also lead to a high density of susceptible individuals who could become infected in an intense autumn wave.

    An important question right now is just how important is critical care capacity? Everything I have seen indicates critical care (especially ventilators) capacity has not been stressed in most places and has not been terribly helpful in general. The measures which work seem to be much less intensive.

    The Supplementary Materials have more detail. The most interesting things I saw in a quick skim were the tables looking at different cross-immunity assumptions.

  85. People don’t seem to develop lifetime immunity to flu (in general, since there are so many strains) and it kills lots of people every year. Some people get it, and then die. Whaddaya gonna do except wash your hands?

    Normal life must resume. People must associate, relate, date, and mate or else there will be no humans to protect from the virus.

    It’s easy for we who have lived full lives up until now to hunker down, but it’s difficult (and unfair) to demand that young people who are not in real danger from this disease postpone their lives indefinitely. Some opportunities, once lost, can never be regained.

    • Agree: V. K. Ovelund
  86. Let’s say it takes one year of widespread illness and dying to reach herd immunity and then the whole process starts over again 18 months later

    You stop right there.

    Because if you are asking the rudimentary basics of how herd immunity works, well, you’re not – you’re asking a different question (see block quote).

    In answer to that question: it’s a very, very strange assumption that people make persistently – as if it were perfectly obvious that the “novel coronavirus” is going to not only jump the species chain once from bat to human, but that it will also find such a swell co-existence with human beings that it will cozy up next to the flu and cold as perennial, seasonal, annual conditions – you mutate, we immunize, you mutate, we immunize, etc.

    That: hardly ever happens. Terrible disease conditions come: plague, “Spanish Flu”, plague, MERS, H1N1, SARS, etc.

    And they go. And they mostly don’t come again. The seasonal niche is a highly specialized niche. No one has bothered to explain why its obvious COVID-19 is going to find a home in that niche, they just blow right through the question.

  87. utu says:
    @Dieter Kief

    The alleged antibiotics overprescription in Italy and Spain sounds to me like many other red herrings we have heard before. People try to make sense of something they really do not understand too fast. And when such an allegation comes from Germans then there is an obvious question of the bias directed at Italians and Spaniards which is very common among Germans and Northern Europeans. The differences in CFR and IFR between Germany and Italy and Spain need to be explained. But I would look into the accounting office and the German diagnostic protocol first. Does Germany draws the line between “died with covid” and “died of covid” categories in different place than Italy? Has anybody done a thorough study of IFR in Germany based on excess mortality statistics as it was done for Italy by Berkeley physicists?

    https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.04.15.20067074v2.full.pdf

    • Replies: @Dieter Kief
  88. I thought one reason the IFR for the flu is well below (depending on your source) Coronavirus is because we all have some immunity from previous exposure to the other strains of the flu plus antivirals. One million deaths? You’re taking the higher estimate of IFR. If the real IFR is a little bit lower – and it likely is – and people develop limited immunity like they have to the flu and a better treatment protocol is developed there’s reason to believe this will be just another flu – at least in terms of mortality – that we have to deal with.

    Again, all this is moot. From a cost-benefit perspective, even under the worst case scenario this virus simply isn’t deadly enough to warrant a shut down of civilization. Maybe cancel certain events, especially in large, dense cities, but that’s about it.

    As an aside, people are starting to notice that the 1968 Hong Kong Flu killed about 100k in the US in 1968, per the CDC. That’s about 163k adjusted for our current population. What did we do in response to the Hong Kong Flu and how did it affect society? There may have been some radicals in 1968 but did we have safe spaces and trigger warnings?

  89. anon[357] • Disclaimer says:

    Regarding immunity: Remember booster shots? It seems like about half the vaccines require them. But basically, immunity will last for a while, then wear off. So, this one will likely be similar. Chickenpox used to be considered one and done. But now there are shingles vaccines.

    More interesting is the possibility of some cross immunity from exposure to the other known corona viruses. Maybe that is why outcomes are different in different populations. Interesting theory.

    Factoid:

    What is the mortality rate of yellow fever?
    Among those who develop jaundice, the fatality rate is 20 to 50%, while the overall fatality rate is about 3 to 7.5%. Severe cases may have a mortality greater than 50%. Surviving the infection provides lifelong immunity, and normally no permanent organ damage results.

    It’s not flu, but its not yellow fever either.

    Although, as long as we are spending zillions of dollars on it, how about so human challenge testing ala Walter Reed? To test vaccines using a human challenge model, samples dont need to be large.

  90. Feeeney says:
    @Reg Cæsar

    I always appreciated Razib’s haranguing of his commenters. This meant less bs and fluff to wade thru whilst looking for useful comments. I wish Steve would do some more of that. I’m sure good comments are missed, or never written in the first place, when there’s 200 comments.

  91. utu says:

    Infection prevalence derived from deaths/1M pop (worldometers.info as of May 15, 2020) assuming IFR=1%

    Belgium 7.7%
    Spain 5.9%
    Italy 5.2%
    UK 5.0%
    France 4.2%
    Sweden 3.6%
    Netherlands 3.3%
    Ireland 3.1%
    USA 2.7%
    Switzerland 2.2%
    Canada 1.5%
    Portugal 1.2%
    Germany 0.95%

    For IFR=0.5% or 0.25% multiply by 2 or 4, respectively.

  92. Anonymous[387] • Disclaimer says:
    @Abelard Lindsey

    It’s simple:
    If you are a liberal, you destroy anybody who is not a liberal. Usually, you use treachery of some kind (e.g. Flynn, Trump), but if necessary liberals can rely on esoteric reading (Flynn, again), and if absolutely necessary they can rely on pure force (Ruby Ridge, Charlottesville).

    So: if somebody invents a cure for COVID-19, and isn’t a liberal member of a liberal organization, liberals will attempt to destroy that person and the cure both.
    It’s not even a desire for power, it’s more a desire to destroy whatever isn’t them.
    You have to work with liberals to believe that they could act as they do.

    • Agree: V. K. Ovelund
  93. @res

    That too much of a lockdown could cause overshooting is plausible.

    If you want to tame a beast, its no use to sedate it completely, since then it wouldn’t be learning anything at all.

    Ok – the beast here, that has to learn, is mankind…

    As I said before: Austria and Switzerland are following this idea of a fast (and controlled) reduction of the lockdown. The big difference being the use of masks in Austria.

  94. @utu

    Excuse me – at times I favor very simple observations:

    1) The number of hospital beds in intensive care which were needed in Mulhouse /Alsace and Madrid and Lombardy are an order of magnitude higher than those in Germany – or in Switzerland or in Austria. There has not been a shortage of such beds ever. Not in the hardest-hit regions. Around here they stayed completely empty most of the time. Hospital staff did cut down on their over-hours from the time before the CO-19 measures took place.

    2) Then have a look at the Bergamo paper and count the epitaphs – it’s pages and pages and pages – if I look at the lokal papers around here at lake Constance – be it Bregenz in Austria or Feldkirch or Dornbirn – nothing which looks unusual. The same – exactly the same in Konstanz/ Germany, and in Frauenfeld, Sankt Gallen, Winterthur, Zürich in Switzerland.

    The difference between the Bergamasker papers and those in and around the Lake Constance region what epitaphs are concerned is huge. – And I have no other explanation than that: These differences in the local papers represent differences in the local realities.

    • Replies: @utu
  95. utu says:
    @Dieter Kief

    ” at times I favor very simple observations” – but you haven’t offered any apart from the silly antibiotics thing.

  96. Advocates of a Herd Immunity strategy really need to get out their spreadsheets and do the math of how this would turn out to be a good thing. Perhaps it is the best alternative, but, please, show your work.

    Oh, the temporary immunity thing is not the best part. Here’s a link:

    Cats get COVID-19 and pass it on to other cats who then pass it back to humans.

    The best part is that you need herd immunity in cats, too, and there is a colloquial wisdom about herding cats. And New Yorkers. And blacks. And feminists.

  97. Obee says:
    @Anon

    Re the Potato Famine. Large #s died from actual starvation. Even more fro famine fever, relapsing fever, cholera. The blighted potato was black and inedible and not a cause of death. There were strategies for rescuing unblighted portions of ruined potatoes boiling and frying but were not fatal. To put the famine in perspective the overwhelming number of Irish depended on the daily consumption of pounds and pounds of potatoes. There was no other food available to them although prodigious amounts of bacon, butter, wheat, beef were exported to England.

  98. @Anonymous

    Not as much of an expert as you or I would like, but my understanding is:

    Herpies-like viruses are special cases, they’ve evolved with us for a very long time, are much more complicated that SARS like coronaviruses, and have worked out tricks to allow them to hide out from the immune system. So the chickenpox virus can hide out in your nerves for decades, then erupt as a very painful case of shingles. I’ve had the latter, get a vaccine for it as soon as you’re old enough.

    Influenza has several issues with vaccines, but the biggest is that the parts of the virus we’ve been able to make vaccines for, the so called “epitopes”, aren’t “conserved”, they can substantially change while still allowing the virus to do its thing. Thus the every 6 months dance of trying to guess which strains will be dominate in a hemisphere’s next winter, and making vaccines for it.

    Coronaviruses are unique amount RNA viruses in having a proofreading mechanism, which is one of the ways we trace their movement, the steady but much less frequent mutations allow us to determine that for example, NYC infected much of the rest of the US.

    But that said, we have a number of “eternal” vaccines for RNA viruses with higher mutation rates, like for measles, mumps, and polio, what the immune system latches onto is conserved. And they don’t need booster shots in your adulthood, but if we get a “eternal” SARS-CoV-2 vaccine that requires booster shots, for now I’m assuming that’ll no more the end of the world than having to get a TDaP booster every 5-10 years. Immunology is something I’m particularly ignorant on until I do some book learning, so I don’t know why those bacteria or their toxin in the case of tetanus requires the boosters, but it works out well enough.

    “The common cold” is two special cases, the most important for stopping it is that there’s way too many viruses and true viral strains than cause it, hundreds, to make it practical to vaccinate for it. For the commonly circulating coronaviruses that make up a fair fraction of “the common cold”, we’ve been told immunity for some or all of them doesn’t tend to last long. Whether this is true for SARS-CoV-2 by definition cannot be determined until enough time passes, including what’s behind that, if we can do something about it, etc. But we do know is can cause a strong and quick, within 6-12 days antibody response, and we can test and are testing for that to try to figure out how many people have gotten it.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
  99. Bugg says:
    @Anon

    Exactly. Now Pedro and Iqbal and Mamadou are going to cooperate fully and completely with the feds? Comparing the diverse melting pot to ethnic nations like South Korea, Taiwan and Japan is simply ridiculous. Remarkably the people who profess love for all that nonsense are now the ones calling for tracing.

    • Agree: Coemgen
  100. HA says:
    @Abelard Lindsey

    “Could the failure of the people pushing the “warp drive” initiative to consider these three options be indicative of political corruption?”

    It could also be that anything shown to improve longevity in rats — a short-lived mammal that can’t go for more than a few years without falling apart — rarely means anything for humans who can already live for several decades (i.e. who already possess many more tumor-suppressing, longevity-enhancing enhancements than rats do — though not as many as, say, whales). I recall an interesting comment about this problem by the commenter SimpleSong a few weeks ago, if you care to search through his or her comment history for “rat” or “mice” or “whale”.

    I mean, you can’t go more than a month without some “promising” new therapy being found for rats or mice.

    • Replies: @Abelard Lindsey
  101. @res

    A non-homogenous population may result in lower thresholds for herd immunity than the commonly quoted % infected = 1 – 1/R0 figure.

    One of the very few times “Diversity is our strength” turns out to be true.

  102. vhrm says:
    @res

    Figure 5 is even more interesting. This model incorporates seasonality. Notice that the most severe lockdown has the WORST results because it enables a more severe second wave in the fall. This is why I am being so vocal about starting to open up SOON. Whether or not seasonality is relevant is an important unknown right now.

    Yeah it’s interesting that if seasonality exists with this virus then “crushing the curve” results in more total infected people than even doing nothing (at the R_0=2.2 level used in these graphs)

    With seasonality, summer provides the flattening itself, and by crushing instead we go into the bad season in the fall without the benefit of the immunity we would have built up otherwise.

    This whole paper shows why “crushing” (as opposed to gentle flattening) of the curve really just amounts to kicking the can down the road: if you don’t let people get the virus, as soon as you let off the crushing, you’re back at square 1.

    Combining this model with the “lower herd immunity threshold because of heterogeneity in susceptibility between individuals” concept from the WUWT link
    doubly supports the “open up right now so we can get as many of the healthy exposed as possible before fall”.

    • Replies: @res
  103. @megabar

    “Where did the limited immunity of 12-24 months come from? Is that true for other coronaviruses? I thought, in general, immunity lasted much longer than that.”

    Yups. If immunity lasted a mere 24 months, vaccines would not bother existing. So:

    GetOutLiveLife!

    And, if you are scaredz, diaper-up!

    • Replies: @Jonathan Mason
  104. Anonymous[194] • Disclaimer says:
    @Bugg

    Where is this 30-50% coming from? I agree with Sailer, please show your work.

  105. @peterike

    Infectious diseases such as smallpox and measles used to devastate populations around the world and dramatically reduce life expectancy until they were conquered by vaccinations or antibiotics. I’m not sure why you think a new disease for which there is no definitive treatment cannot replicate this pattern. Without a vaccine and assuming no long term immunity, covid could take years off developed world life expectancy.

    • Replies: @TomSchmidt
  106. @Inverness

    Mao went after the sparrows (albeit with significant negative consequences.)

    How about a Bat extermination campaign in Yunnan? Would that do any good?

    • Replies: @CJ
    , @Coemgen
  107. @Coag

    I’ve heard Kim Jong Un is coming out with a diet and lifestyle book. You may want to pre-order from Amazon.

    • Replies: @Coag
  108. @prime noticer

    it will work about the same as it did in 1957 and 1968, when 99.9% of people survived, GDP grew…

    And the voting age was higher than now, by several years.

    the difference is now you boomers are afraid of it, and want the rest of us to lose a year or two…

    It’s your governors who are putting the squeeze on. Protoboomer Trump, epitomic boomer Trump, elected by the old, suggests opening things up, and is condemned for it.

    of career advancement, income, real estate buying, stock market gains, sports, concerts

    There are concerts worth going to? Music has been on a sixty-year slide. Except orchestral music– that’s well into its second century of decline.

    Could anybody since Legrand, Jobim, or Mancini even write a tune?

    all so you guys can eek out a few more years.

    If “boomers” are guilty of anything, it’s for letting educational standards drop to the point where nobody younger than them can spell three-letter words. Let alone write a coherent sentence.

    • Replies: @dfordoom
    , @Dube
  109. Anonymous[194] • Disclaimer says:
    @Maciano

    This.

    Anyone who has experience with a nursing home environment knows that what you say is true – many not overly intelligent, hurried, overworked, underpaid employees. Many don’t like to wear masks either unless the job specifically requires it. Our society is an interlocking web of vulnerable and less vulnerable no matter how we’d like to abstract it.

    It seems like at least here we generally learn things from others internationally, but in CV we run into something else we see with white people in general (not saying NAMs are any better), but there is a reluctance to take a difficult approach that pays off in the long or even intermediate run, when there is an easy option now (let it burn!). It’s strange to see this in a people who have had to deal with icy winters, but this is not the first situation I’ve seen this in.

    The other odd semi-racial aspect is – why don’t we steal effective technological ideas like masks, for example? The solutions to elimination is so, so simple. It’s like we can’t handle an opponent with better technology. It’s like in war time, the Japanese copied our carriers. They copied our airplanes. We did it our way, by armoring the planes and defeated them. We, well actually (((we))) built atomic bombs.

    In North Korea in the air it was different but it was still European (Russian) fighters, but on the ground surely the USA had the technological advantage. The fact that the USA was able to beat NK and China back to the 38th parallel with an expeditionary force landing at sea with half the numbers says that US approach + technology was superior.

    In Viet Nam, the US was able to carpet bomb with impunity. Far superior technology, though NK won that one through focusing on what was winnable for them.

    There hasn’t been a conflict that involved Orientals other than the economic one since, where China is now starting to threaten the hegemony. We haven’t been in a position where we’ve really had to copy their technology. Instead, they’ve copied ours. There is still a vain pride that lingers instead of a willingness to do what is required to prevail. Often in life you need to hit rock bottom to kind of get to that point, but not always.

    We have the tools, the math to understand it, to succeed at elimination but we are not even at the 1918 level, where mask usage was common in the Western world. Takes less time, costs less, costs economy less, kills less people. Instead, it’s like trying to reason with Dr Evil.

  110. Anonymous[194] • Disclaimer says:
    @Anon

    So if you have a population of at most 10-20% illegals of a population of 300M. You don’t have to reduce transmission by 100% or even 50% with any one technique provided that overall R is less than 1.

    If illegals are the sub-population that carries the virus, then maybe they should be deported or singled out in some fashion, as part of an elimination strategy. Same with borders. With effort, that can be brought down to a trickle. Maybe a wall would be part of that, and also a make-work project.

  111. Anonymous[367] • Disclaimer says:
    @That Would Be Telling

    “ But that said, we have a number of “eternal” vaccines for RNA viruses with higher mutation rates, like for measles, mumps, and polio, what the immune system latches onto is conserved.“

    Are you saying Measles, Mumps and Polio have mutate rates? Why haven’t they worked themselves around our vaccines?

    • Replies: @That Would Be Telling
  112. res says:
    @vhrm

    Agreed.

    Figure S13 is a R0 = 2.6 version of Figure 5. The 20% (mildest) reduction seems to have the best results there as well.

  113. Peterike says:

    I have a question. We know a significant percentage of infections and deaths are in nursing homes, which are like Petri dishes for spreading disease. Yet far as I know, those deaths are all included in calculations of how infectious Covid is. Why? Shouldn’t we leave those deaths out? A nursing home environment has exactly zero relationship to how the disease spreads anywhere else.

    If we back out nursing home numbers, how do things start to look?

  114. @That Would Be Telling

    Does anyone read Alistair Maclean’s thrillers anymore? His first half-dozen, including The Satan Bug, were superb, and big when I was a kid, but he developed a drinking problem and his output after the mid-1960s was pretty bad. And his very first book, H.M.S. Ulysses, is a WWII naval story of hardship at sea is among the best of its kind.

  115. MBlanc46 says:
    @Anon

    I’m going to live at least an extra five years just to spite you, punk.

    • Thanks: Achmed E. Newman
    • Replies: @dfordoom
    , @Mike Tre
  116. dfordoom says: • Website
    @Maciano

    People who want to go for herd immunity need to be honest: they don’t want to protect the herd, they want to cull the herd. They prefer to let old people die, because they do not want to make the sacrifice, or believe they can’t afford that.

    I don’t want to believe that our society has degenerated to the point where people actually think culling people is a swell idea. But increasingly it seems that people really are thinking that way. Herd immunity does seem to be a euphemism for culling. And herd immunity may not even be possible so people will have been culled for nothing.

    The real damage that COVID-19 is doing is encouraging the vicious side of human nature. It’s encouraging a lot of miserable losers to indulge in revenge fantasies. They might want to give some thought to the idea that one day somebody might decide that they are also useless eaters.

    I personally think the dangers of COVID-19 have been wildly exaggerated and I do believe that at some point the economy will have to be restarted no matter what. But I agree that some honesty is required. Herd immunity is a slightly doubtful proposition that even if achieved will come at a cost in human life. Maybe it’s worth it but it does mean setting a precedent that some people’s lives aren’t worth anything.

    • Agree: utu
    • Replies: @res
  117. Anonymous[194] • Disclaimer says:

    SARS was eradicated. That’s why SARS didn’t cause huge death tolls, or become seasonal. Same with MERS. 1918 Flu had relatively large death tolls over ~3 years. Plague killed a huge percentage of the population in Europe. I am not sure what happened with H1N1 but your counterargument to tell him to stop right there isn’t on good ground.

    As long as there are infected/reservoir populations of COVID-19 and easy enough travel (e.g. no quarantines or testing people who cross borders), there will be COVID-19 somewhere.

    • Replies: @res
  118. dfordoom says: • Website
    @Reg Cæsar

    the difference is now you boomers are afraid of it, and want the rest of us to lose a year or two…

    It’s your governors who are putting the squeeze on. Protoboomer Trump, epitomic boomer Trump, elected by the old, suggests opening things up, and is condemned for it.

    Yep.

    In my experience it’s crybaby Millennials who are hiding under the bed from the coronavirus. Millennials love more social controls. They want more government. They want the government to regulate everything. Millennials run crying to Nanny every time their feelings get hurt.

    In Australia it’s Millennials wearing the mouth-diapers.

    • Troll: utu
    • Replies: @Reg Cæsar
    , @obwandiyag
  119. Inverness says:

    News flash: it’s now nearly June and the TSA have announced that they will soon begin random temperature checks at “selected airports”.

    Why? Because we’ve learned absolutely nothing these past six months. The stupidity. It hurts.

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/tsa-preparing-to-check-passenger-temperatures-11589579570

    • Replies: @res
  120. dfordoom says: • Website
    @PiltdownMan

    Does anyone read Alistair Maclean’s thrillers anymore? His first half-dozen, including The Satan Bug, were superb

    I don’t understand why he became so unfashionable. There were very few thriller writers who could match him.

    Maybe it’s because he wrote old-fashioned guy fiction. There’s not enough emotional self-indulgence for modern tastes. And his heroes were all heterosexual men. The horror!

  121. dfordoom says: • Website
    @MBlanc46

    I’m going to live at least an extra five years just to spite you, punk.

    I’m going to leave all my money to the stray dogs’ home just to make sure no Millennial gets any of it.

  122. @HA

    You have a point about the third one (the blood factors). However, what you say would not apply to the first two, DRACO and TRIIM. In any case, I mentioned the third was the more speculative one whereas the first two would most certainly work on humans.

  123. Anonymous[194] • Disclaimer says:

    I’ve read the whole lot, and aside from res to an extent, I see a lot of “hand waving” and not a lot of the math that Steve is looking for.

    I originally wrote the following, which I think this thread is something towards that… and Steve has helpfully asked everyone to show their workings. Thank you Steve.

    What do you think should be done, res, and when, and why? What is the aim? (Elimination, buy time, hope herd immunity is achieved and reinfection not possible, what exactly?) I read through a number of pages of comments of yours but could not discern a recommendation.

    In fact that might be worth an open thread for everyone. (Including… what do you think will happen under your plan? How will society respond? What are the implications of that?) I get the sense that some may be anti-lockdown and not really opposed to other measures, even the dreaded masks. Others are actually for “everyone should get back to normal” which is unenforceable. E.g. Hey you! Go to a nightclub! Go to choir practice! Take a paid vacation on an airplane!

    Maybe some are for an extended lockdown. It needs to be defined though.

    res has answered this here (maybe re-post it here for us, res):

    https://www.unz.com/isteve/spain-still-far-from-herd-immunity/#comment-3896704

    I have responded to his answer here:

    Thanks res for answering, and thanks Steve for appreciating the questions put. We can continue this here I guess, although I was hoping for something new to draw other views/comments as well.

    – Is it possible for someone who has been infected once to become infected again?

    I think this is a crux of the herd immunity strategy. I’m not sure it’s impossible to not be reinfected. I suspect part of that is dependent on whether you get a lung infection or not, but not sure. Also time. If a second wave comes through in a year and the infectivity resets, so much for HI.

    How long do you estimate your HI strategy to take, res? From the single digits to 70-80% is a lot of ground to cover as I see it. If it is to be done with rapidity I can see a lot of people in the 30+ bracket holding off, as well as cautious other people. I see it taking a lot longer than expected. And also the links of the younger people to the rest of society (e.g. schools, nursing homes, hospitals) is there and quite hard to prevent. And IFR will be higher the more cases there are at once.

    Counterproposal is elimination (which Steve/gchochran first proposed). See Taiwan. State by state, so each state has an incentive to get on top of control and emerge on the other side with a somewhat normal life.

    https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/country/taiwan/

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/asia_pacific/taiwan-beat-covid-19-and-won-friends-at-the-who-its-still-fighting-for-a-seat-at-the-table/2020/05/15/d924b082-9025-11ea-9322-a29e75effc93_story.html?outputType=amp

    Over a month now, no local transmission cases. Last was 12th of April I believe. So they had local transmission, but eliminated it. Of course, TW is not the only country to have reduced R to below 1, but they are the country that is relatively trustworthy with the longest record of no new cases.

    I think it’s possible. But you do need commitment to lowering transmission. Social distancing, limits to indoor events/restaurants I think, especially when alcohol is involved. I am not sure on whether schools need to be closed or not. Hand hygiene.

    Testing everyone who has symptoms will be possible if not already. If that is encouraged by the state you have a chance to halt the spread of disease with those cases. And each positive you can then contact trace. An app will probably help with that. People with CV must then isolate until testing free adequately (make take a few tests to confirm.)

    Testing people for fevers and other symptoms is something that is done at building entrances in Taiwan, Singapore, China, etc. It’s a good opportunity to test more people who would be rejected. There are some companies in the US actually doing this already.

    Masks. Get a high percentage of the population wearing them, it has to help. Taiwan has done all of the above things, but I think not the schools closures. It’s not really a lockdown.

    To get this to work you need to have the discipline to wait until a month or two past the last case, like TW has done, and get to that point in the first place.

    Once eliminated, you must maintain very strict quarantines at the country border level otherwise you have to do it all over again.

    If you get lucky, you get eventual HI via a vaccination.

    What would be nice is to see your strategy tried in one state, if only to be an example for the others of what not to do. And an example of elimination in a state, to see what is possible for Americans.

    I think a lot of people get hung up on what is available/possible right now. Amazing things are possible with planning and some time. It’s like scrubbing a pot, or just filling it with water and leaving overnight.

    As res alludes to, it’s worth treating each state as an experiment. The site to do that is here:

    https://gisanddata.maps.arcgis.com/apps/opsdashboard/index.html#/bda7594740fd40299423467b48e9ecf6

    Click on “USA”. Click on “Admin 1” to bring up states. Then click on each state. On the graph down at the below right, click on the “Daily Cases”.

    The best response of the states (an initial exponential growth followed by exponential decay):
    NY
    New Jersey
    Michican
    Louisiana
    Washington
    Rhode Island
    Vermont
    Hawaii
    Montana
    Alaska

    The states not getting on top of it (exponential growth of cases currently):
    Virginia
    North Carolina
    Arizona
    Minnesota
    Wisconsin

    You will note that several of the states that have mounted successful responses in terms of effecting exponential decay of cases have managed to achieve approximately a 10-fold reduction in a month. Like Vermont for example.

    With the USA at 1.5M cases, enacting Vermont-like approaches or better would take about 6 months to get down to the last case coming through. i.e.
    1.6M May
    160k June
    16k July
    1.6k Aug
    160 Sept
    16 Oct
    2 Nov
    0 Dec.

    If undercounted by a factor of 10, so what, add an extra month.

    I suspect with mandated face covering you could get that to less than 6 months. In a few months you might even be able to produce a daily N-95 equivalent to really cut down that time.

    And here’s what you need to do as well. President Trump commits to eliminating CV and building a wall to prevent reinfection from Mexico. Canada looks to be slightly ahead with CV, but Mexico is exponentially increasing cases.

    The thing I suspect a lot of you don’t realize is that widespread testing (and tracing, the authorities will trace), is going to do a lot of the work for you anyway. Positives isolated and their positive contacts isolated are also going to lower transmission. (So if you wanted to pursue herd immunity it’s going to take a lot longer than you think, and add in the others taking less risk.)

    The USA is honestly not doing a bad job of testing now. At 33k/1M, it’s near Germany per capita and not far from Australia and New Zealand.

    https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/

    Also check out the tests per day. The daily number is climbing, while the number of cases is starting to decline. Positive results per test are necessarily starting to diminish. The USA is actually getting on top of this.

    https://ourworldindata.org/grapher/full-list-covid-19-tests-per-day?time=2020-03-10..&country=AUS+NZL+USA

    To a large extent you can in fact live relatively normal lives while the virus is gradually eliminated.

    So there you have it. Within a year, lives back to normal except for overseas travel, with a built-in method of border restriction to boot. What’s not to like?

    And as a free bonus I’ll even do the math for the other side. With the USA cases at 26k per day and slowly declining, it takes 9230 days to burn through 300M population to reach the 80% herd immunity that the R0 of 5.8 would suggest.

    https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/eid/article/26/7/20-0282_article

    And whether we are 10x undercounted at 1.4M, maybe cases are really 14M (though I doubt it), you’ve still got the vast majority of 80% of 300M to burn through.

    Ok, I’ll grant the HI people a bunch of things in their favor. Say that somehow the R0 is actually 3. No, I’ll make it 2. This gives 50% for Herd Immunity Threshold. e.g. 1-1/2=50%.

    I’ll say that despite the testing going exponential and cases declining, that somehow it’s a tip of the iceberg, we are actually at 14M cases now instead of 1.4M.

    And say that instead of 26000 daily cases per day there is a 10x undercount and that it is actually 260k new cases per day going on atm.

    It’s (300M) * 0.5/260k= 579 days. But instead of 150M there is only 135M to go through, so it’s 579* 135/150 = 521 days, or 43 months and a lot more deaths, instead of my 6-9month elimination without lockdowns (or less with masks).

    • Replies: @vhrm
    , @Achmed E. Newman
    , @res
  124. vhrm says:
    @PiltdownMan

    I read HMS Ulysses , Guns of Navarrone , Force 10 from Navarrone and maybe Ice Station Zebra in middle school or high school (late 80s, early 90s). I think my dad must have had them around for some reason.

    The first two of those i liked a lot, the other two i don’t remember.
    Kind of led me into Tom Clancy books.

    (Man… why don’t i read anymore? It’s no more of a waste of time than watching TV and there’s so many more books than shows!
    i think the last fiction i read was the Harry Potter books 🙂 not worth it)

    • Replies: @dfordoom
  125. CJ says:
    @Oscar Peterson

    Yo Oscar,

    I once saw an interview with your namesake where he was asked a question about “experimental music”. Peterson replied, “Experiments belong in the laboratory.”

    • Replies: @Oscar Peterson
  126. anon[278] • Disclaimer says:

    Five sailors on the USS T. Roosevelt have tested positive after they previously tested negative.

    https://apnews.com/0cae34376380ab4150002a58bd9934b9

    WASHINGTON (AP) — Five sailors on the U.S. aircraft carrier sidelined in Guam due to a COVID-19 outbreak have tested positive for the virus for the second time and have been taken off the ship, according to the Navy.

    The resurgence of the virus in the five sailors on the USS Theodore Roosevelt underscores the befuddling behavior of the highly contagious virus and raises questions about how troops that test positive can be reintegrated into the military, particularly on ships.

    All five sailors had previously tested positive and had gone through at least two weeks of isolation. As part of the process, they all had to test negative twice in a row, with the tests separated by at least a day or two before they were allowed to go back to the ship.

  127. MattinLA says:

    Where do you get the idea that immunity will fade after a few years? It’s permanent, just like every other virus.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
  128. @MattinLA

    Not for the previous four coronaviruses.

    • Replies: @dfordoom
  129. vhrm says:
    @Anonymous

    Yours seems to be a good general write up of what Gov. Newsom and Cuomo and Fauci seem to want to do and think will happen.

    To me it reads like a dystopian story of government induced pain, like “land reform” in Zimbabwe.

    Fortunately, now we have various states, like Georgia, opening up, and i don’t think wecre putting that genie back in the bottle.

    Also certain “urban” populations are ignoring the social distancing anyway so they’re leading the way in resistance and will bolster those numbers.

    Also, when the next wave comes in October we already know it’s only going to be bad in NYC , but, NYC supposedly already has had 20% infected, so it won’t be as bad even there.

    Hopefully a large number of people other than those working directly with coverable populations refuse testing so that we can have some nice healthy spread of millions a day.

    I’m surprised by how much of a snowflake i am, but i can’t think about the Newsom-Cuomo-Fauci 18 months of slow death plan for more than a few minutes at a time before i start sputtering and start thinking of revolution.

  130. AKAHorace says:
    @Thoughts

    I take 20 supplements a day, I do the sauna, I exercise, I take Quinine and any Quinine derivative I can get my hands on.

    That’s just what you have to do. And everyday.

    So? Welcome to the reality of living on a germy planet.

    I don’t sit on toilets, I use toilet paper to flush the handle, then I use more toilet paper to open the door, then I wash my hands, then I push the door open with my foot…etc etc

    It’s not my problem if other people aren’t that meticulous.

    You may have a unique insight into microbiology. If you are wrong though and people follow your advice you will have a unique responsibility for what happens to those that take you seriously. Wearing a mask indoors is not a lot of extra effort, from the scientific literature that Sailer has posted there seems to be a serious possibility that it can prevent infection and save the lives of many elderly and sick people and a very low possibility that it damages the health of healthy people who wear them for a short time. One can argue that that the old and sick are of little economic importance and that an earlier death for them may even be a net benefit for state finances.

    If you are not willing to make this minor sacrifice for the old and sick though how far do we have to go for you if you are ever not too important for the well being of society ? If I could save your life by embarrassing myself by walking around with a diaper on my face do you think that I would be wrong to do it ? Those young people that you insult, lets assume that everything that they believe about how useful facemasks are is no more useful than astrology, they at least seem more worth saving than someone who gets 20 supplements a day and access to a sauna and has no sympathy for those who can’t. A society made of people with your moral outlook would be harsh. Frankly, you are a walking argument for communism.

    • Replies: @AKAHorace
    , @Thoughts
  131. @res

    “A non-homogenous population may result in lower thresholds for herd immunity than the commonly quoted % infected = 1 – 1/R0 figure.”

    True, but doesn’t heterogeneity work the opposite way as well and diminish the power of herd immunity? It’s nice to think that at some point in the future, so many people in the U.S. will have immunity that it can’t spread anymore when somebody arrives from somewhere else where it is still rampant. So let’s say we’ve reached herd immunity at 50% of the population overall, and two-thirds of the more outgoing 75% of the population. The other 50% that are uninfected are comprised of one-third of the 75% who were viewed as not high risk and they just lucked out in not getting it, while the other 25% of the population are the most vulnerable who have been protected.

    But what that means is the 25% of the population who were protected are still very much at risk if the germ then gets into their social networks even after you declared victory in the race to Herd Immunity. So you get back to huge death tolls after Herd Immunity is reached by

    Fundamentally, it looks like there is a tradeoff between herd immunity and segregating the most vulnerable, which means the latter won’t much benefit from herd immunity.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
    , @Lars Porsena
    , @res
    , @utu
  132. AKAHorace says:
    @AKAHorace

    @Thoughts

    OK, you were not the guy who was mocking young people who were wearing masks. You just seemed over confident to the point of arrogance about how well you were managing your own health. I am not just criticising you but a general viewpoint that I have seen on these threads. Perhaps I am not fair in taking you as the most prominent example of it, if so I apologise. I hope I have explained why this reluctance to wear face masks seems so offensive.

  133. @Coemgen

    I don’t think it’s a conspiracy like that, Coemgen. There are lots of reasons we don’t do things the way the Chinese did. For one, forcibly locking people in their homes and such is still outside the realm of what Americans will put up with, for now, and good on us for that.

    Yes, I think many entities have taken full advantage of this “crisis”, most of them not out of any great strategy. The Lyin’ Press LUVS this stuff, as it is bigger than OJ/9-11/Kavanaugh combined for viewers and readers. Big Gov has its own reasons. Telling people they can’t take their boats out on the river, can’t set foot on the beach, and can’t take their toddlers on the playground is a power trip not seen since the old USSR or Red China. It doesn’t matter what their official ideology is, they LUV this stuff.

    • Replies: @dfordoom
  134. @vhrm

    I’m surprised by how much of a snowflake i am, but i can’t think about the Newsom-Cuomo-Fauci 18 months of slow death plan for more than a few minutes at a time before i start sputtering and start thinking of revolution.

    That doesn’t make you any kind of snowflake, Vhrm – it makes you a real American. Good comment.

  135. @Anonymous

    You are welcome to do all this, Comrade #194, after we give you your own country to fuck with. How about North Korea? Not here, buddy, or we will fuck with you back.

    PS: Chairman Mao could really use a guy like you, Joel Comrade #194. You know where to find him.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
  136. TyRade says:

    but your assumptions of 0.5% IFR and herd immunity threshold 60% are just that Steve.

    Average IFR of 56 studies is 0.36:

    https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1zC3kW1sMu0sjnT_vP1sh4zL0tF6fIHbA6fcG5RQdqSc/edit#gid=0

    Herd immunity threshold, allowing for heterogeneous contact and susceptibility, as low as 7% – 24%:

    https://judithcurry.com/2020/05/10/why-herd-immunity-to-covid-19-is-reached-much-earlier-than-thought/

    Taking the 0.36% IFR (trending lower with most new work):
    For herd threshold 7%, US deaths 83,000
    For herd threshold 24%, US deaths 285,000

    Set that against the economic hysteresis plus ever tightening government control which embody the extreme ‘precautionary principle’, and is mowing down people on a Stalinist scale. ‘Worth it’?

  137. Coemgen says:
    @Oscar Peterson

    Mao went after the sparrows

    That is an episode in history that we should never forget: Four Pests Campaign.

    Four Pests? Is that anything like seventeen intelligence agencies or sixteen former Watergate prosecutors? There’s something about attaching a certain number to one’s slogan that must be very attractive to many people but at the same time is a tell for the rest of us.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
  138. @Coemgen

    The Chinese love counting, such as The Gang of Four. My favorite from the Cultural Revolution was Two Whatevers.

    • Thanks: Coemgen
    • Replies: @Achmed E. Newman
  139. Anonymous[289] • Disclaimer says:

    Steve

    You’ve a talent for asking the right questions.

    Here’s your answer: herd immunity is not supposed to work. It’s a distraction.

    Here’s what’s happened —
    History first
    The New Deal considered US manufacturing as its primary enemy. WW II enabled the Federal government to shut most small manufacturers out of the wartime materiel market; most of the WW II effort materiel production was by the large corporations. This, and the subsequent Korean war, left the large manufacturing companies as the primary enemy of the Democrats, in that they were the primary support of the Republicans, and of the Anglo-Saxon world view (two ways of saying the same thing).
    The destruction of the large manufacturing corporations startedin the 1960s, with changes to the tort laws that drastically increased legal costs (_Unsafe at Any Speed_ was typical of the propaganda used to justify the tort law change). The Civil Rights Act permitted the Democrats to select corporate personnel (word at the time was that affirmative action hires were put in personnel “to minimize the harm they could do”). The Bake case later extended control of personnel to the present leve, in which anybody except European Whites is favored for hiring and promotion.

    As part of this, the “objective” Anglo-Saxon attitude towards events became “racist” (and quite a variety of other unpleasant names), and all jobs were filled on the basis of present and anticipated future compliance with the current “political reality”.

    So much for history.
    The result is that (a) not only have all public health measures been abandoned or (and I mean this under the dictionary definition (https://www.dictionary.com/browse/perverted) perverted to political ends — examples: lobbyists making too many vaccines legally required, a CDC fighting “epidemics of gun violence”, Fauci spreading AIDS by keeping bathhouses open in order to keep the homosexual vote, encouragement of public dedication in urban areas (few or no porta-poties are provided to the street people), discouragement of disease monitoring.

    Essentially, people with an “objective” view of reality (reality composed of objects that interact, there are “truths” about these objects and their interaction that are independent of humans) has been selecively removed from government. People with a “postmodernist” view of reality (reality is struggle, winning is all, physical problems don’t exist because “technology” or “the economy” or “shut up and sit down).

    Fauci, Pelosi, Gavin Newsom, Democratic politicians and office holders in general, are reacting to COVID-19 _without reference to the actual disease and its effects_. They have taken this as a chance to demonstrate their power by completing their destruction of US economic capability by putting the entire population of the United States under house arrest and simultaneously firing about 30% of them from their jobs (or destroying their small businesses). If you listen to them, they not only say this, but brag about it.

    The weak spot in the Democratic strategy is that, as usual, it amounts to a suicide bomb. Cities need public health more than the countryside. The Democrats are destroying their political base and unifying non-urban areas against themselves. Non-urban counties are lightly affected by COVID-19 rejecting house arrest and trying to restart. Urban counties are highly affected by COVID-19, have no effective public health measures, and are remaining under house arrest. If “money is the mother’s milk of politics”, then the mother’s milk is drying up for the Democrats.

    Herd immunity was never a real possibility, thanks to asymptomatic carriers, and is getting less plausible as time passes (https://apnews.com/0cae34376380ab4150002a58bd9934b9).

    Anybody want to bet whether Flynn or somebody equally injured by the Democrats will be the president after Trump?

    In he meantime, the world gets back to work, soaks up the casualties, and either staggers along or falls, just as it always has. Believe it or not, that’s the best humanity can do just now. The heroic public health measures of the 1800s and early 1900s are beyond humanity now, both in politics and in the capital and personnel needed to implement them.

    And that’s the answer to your question. “Herd immunity” was a distraction intended to enable the final triumph of the Democrat attempt to “remake America”. No more, no less.

  140. Anonymous[289] • Disclaimer says:
    @Steve Sailer

    One of the funnier Black Humor stories of the COVID-19 plague was the New York State’s law/regulation that “recovered” COVID-19 were legally required to be accepted back in the old folks home from whence they came. It turned the old folks home into slaughterhouses, to quote an employee of one such.
    And, when asked about that, the NY Governor interrupted the reporter and said said essentially that “The Law is the Law, and must be followed”. No sympathy for the old people who had been killed, just a “sit down and shut up” for the reporter. Apparently the NY Governor thinks he’s God and hates atheists, and the reporter / Moses had a close call there.

    Competence, in the Anglo-Saxon sense of the word,”ability to affect objective reality”, is absent from government. It has been replaced by an ability to get and hold power, or to comply with power (formally, “Postmodernism”). The population, without power, survives when it can, and suffers what it must.

  141. Anonymous[245] • Disclaimer says:
    @vhrm

    Appreciate the praise. Yes, it’s the what, why, how covered of elimination with examples.

    I guess some people just want to see the world burn. I am all for the 2A, the 1A, but it seems like there is a “Don’t tread on me” segment of the population that would likely burn down a wing of a nursing home if it could be done with plausible deniability. They can’t articulate a plan or a timeline or do basic math workings out to show what it might look like.

    I’m really not seeing where you are getting the 18 months from with elimination. It seems like you would rather have 1.5+ years of death and shitty economy than be back to normal in 6-9months. To the point of encouraging people not to get tested.

    I think the fortunate thing is that there will be an inevitability to this. Those in areas with exponential growth will be touching the hot stove like the UK and Netherlands and learn to do things differently. And in others the testing and tracing will shut a lot of infection down, and give encouragement to eliminate.

    Then there is Sweden, 8th in the world in deaths per capita, hardly a sign of slowing down, half the testing of the USA per capita, less cases per capita (more to go). About 500 cases per day for a month now. About 1000 days to go at that rate at least.

    This is the same country that invited in half of Arabia to complement their no-go zones, and the right would look to them for leadership?

    • Replies: @res
    , @The Alarmist
    , @vhrm
  142. Anonymous[245] • Disclaimer says:
    @Achmed E. Newman

    It seems that some here put the herd in herd immunity.

    I’m not a communist, or a Jew, or a homosexual for that matter. I’m white with white kids and I proudly voted for Trump last time. If I vote him in this time it won’t be due to how the comments section is behaving atm.

    It seems like keeping 6 feet away from others for a while, using some hand sanitiser, getting your temperature read as you enter a mall and being asked to voluntarily leave and get tested for CV of febrile, and perish the thought – wear a mask for a few months… is a worse cross to bear than any of the drafts for war that the US has put up with that sent a proportion of young men to death and dismemberment.

    Where is the pathway to the gulag, to the FEMA camps, to the Katyn forest ditches, in any of this? I’m cautious about that stuff myself but just not seeing it here tbh.

  143. @Coemgen

    Which Chinese? The People’s Republic of China did one thing. The Republic of China on Formosa did another.

    Me, I prefer the course set by the Republic of China.
    https://thediplomat.com/2020/04/how-taiwan-battles-the-coronavirus/

  144. @Anonymous (n)

    Smallpox and measles are both viral diseases, so antibiotics should have no effect upon them.

    Measles is probably the best analogue for COVID. We read from here:
    https://vk.ovg.ox.ac.uk/vk/measles

    In high income regions of the world such as Western Europe, measles causes death in about 1 in 5000 cases, but as many as 1 in 100 will die in the poorest regions of the world. Worldwide, measles is still a major cause of death, especially among children in resource-poor countries.

    COVID has a very high death toll amongst some populations. Most interesting to me is the death toll amongst darker-skinned residents of NYC in March and April (including some former colleagues of mine, sadly). Now, whites and Asians are generally wealthier than blacks and Hispanics in NYC, but I’d guess that there are a LOT of poorer Chinese in the city, and I’d guess that their death rate is below that of blacks and Hispanics (who in NYC are darker than the largely Mestizo Hispanics of LA).

    Maybe it’s the darker skin leading to lower Vitamin D, and thus a lowered immune system, in NYC in the winter months? Meaning that you want to shift COVID infections to the summer months when solar radiation will naturally increase Vitamin D levels (if people aren’t locked indoors, that is!)

    Measles I think is the model. Highly fatal when confronting a poor, undernourished population, and .02% fatal when confronting a modern, Western society. I think there’s no avoiding COVID, especially if it mutates. The best alternative is to strengthen the immune systems of those who get it, and rigorously protect those whose immune systems cannot deal with it.

    • Replies: @Anonymous (n)
  145. @Anonymous

    Yes, measles, mumps, and polio are all RNA viruses, and without the unique to the coronaviruses proofreading mechanism, they all mutate at significantly higher rates, and yet we have “eternal” vaccines that don’t need constant changes like the flu one.

    To amplify what I said about “conserved” parts of viruses, these parts simply cannot change significantly or that copy of the virus will fail to function.

    Let me try an analogy: you need to tighten a 1/4 in bolt on the surface of something, it doesn’t have anything blocking movement above the bolt. You can use a spanner with a 1/4th inch socket at one end, and it doesn’t matter much if the angle between the socket and the handle is 10 degrees or 15 degrees. But if the socket end is 3/16th’s of an inch, it can’t work, it’s too small to fit onto the bolt. The socket size must be “conserved” for this spanner to work for your task.

    Lots of parts of the proteins viruses make must fit precisely onto what they work on, while other parts of them might be able to tolerate minor changes without harming the function of the proteins.

  146. @PiltdownMan

    His Where Eagles Dare, both the novel and the screenplay he wrote for the movie, and at least the beginning of Bear Island were good (can’t remember anything after it, which is a bad sign), but you’re otherwise right, nothing I tried after the 1962 Satan Bug was worth the time.

    Can’t answer your question about today’s tastes, I read them all before going to college at the end of the 1970s. In fact, looking at the online catalogs of my public library, junior high, and high school, pretty much every vital, formative book I read has been discarded, which I don’t believe is coincidental.

  147. @Je Suis Omar Mateen

    If immunity lasted a mere 24 months, vaccines would not bother existing.

    Health care workers could get them every year.

  148. @Mr. Anon

    More than that: about 8% of human DNA originates from viruses:
    https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/what-percent-virus-are-you/

    So we are descended from people who had their DNA altered by viruses and passed it on.

  149. Mike Tre says:
    @MBlanc46

    My wife and I are going to the reopen Illinois rally in downtown today. Should be interesting.

    • Replies: @MBlanc46
  150. Mike Tre says:
    @Buzz Mohawk

    Steve, shouldn’t you be photo-shopping a mask over your face in all those photos on the right side of the screen?

    I mean, if it saves just one life….

  151. @dfordoom

    Maybe it’s because [Alistair Maclean] wrote old-fashioned guy fiction. There’s not enough emotional self-indulgence for modern tastes. And his heroes were all heterosexual men. The horror!

    Worse, his protagonists are extremely competent men. He had two basic types of stories in the early works I remember, in which the protagonist was dealing as best he could with extremely violent events. Either he knew what was going on, was perhaps part of engineering the situation in the first place, Where Eagles Dare is the great example of that (and as I note in another reply, the exception to his later works being dreck, perhaps it being written in the context of making a movie helped keep him on the straight and narrow), or the protagonist has to figure out what the hell is going on, at the same time he’s trying to keep as many people alive as possible, The Endless Night is my favorite example of that.

  152. Bill says:
    @peterike

    Your comment is why the obsession. It matters how high the peak is, numerically.

  153. res says:
    @dfordoom

    I don’t want to believe that our society has degenerated to the point where people actually think culling people is a swell idea. But increasingly it seems that people really are thinking that way. Herd immunity does seem to be a euphemism for culling. And herd immunity may not even be possible so people will have been culled for nothing.

    Consider the idea that the goal is to infect low risk individuals as much as possible to achieve herd immunity thus protecting the high risk individuals in the long term.

    For everyone advocating the lockdowns, please specify your vision of the endgame. In particular, what do we do through the end of the next flu season? And when do we do it?

    For you (dfordoom) in particular, is it better to take measures which will regrettably kill some people by just haphazardly releasing the lockdowns (as you seem to be advocating) rather than doing so with intent and a plan–do so during a favorable season and make efforts to have low risk individuals infected rather than high risk individuals as much as possible.

    • Replies: @dfordoom
  154. Thoughts says:
    @AKAHorace

    I hate it when people don’t read the entire comment

    Go back and read what I wrote

  155. res says:
    @Anonymous

    SARS and MERS were both much less infectious than COVID-19. They are not a good comparison in general, though I don’t think that affects the point you are making (if anything it reinforces it). This article from 538 has a useful comparison:
    https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/why-did-the-world-shut-down-for-covid-19-but-not-ebola-sars-or-swine-flu/

    As long as there are infected/reservoir populations of COVID-19 and easy enough travel (e.g. no quarantines or testing people who cross borders), there will be COVID-19 somewhere.

    Strongly agree. That is the key problem with the eradication strategy.

    P.S. One bit of trivia. SARS was declared contained on 5 July 2003. Worth thinking about in the context of possible seasonality for COVID-19.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Severe_acute_respiratory_syndrome#Date_of_containment

  156. Coag says:
    @Oscar Peterson

    Keto diet is out, Juche diet is in!

  157. res says:
    @Inverness

    Thanks for the link. What makes you think this is a bad idea? If anything it seems too late, but still worth having in place (with kinks worked out) by the next flu season.

    A brief non-paywalled article with comments:
    https://thehill.com/policy/transportation/tsa/498098-tsa-to-begin-checking-passengers-temperatures-at-several-airports

    It is interesting that they did a pilot program at Dulles in April but are not following up until now.

    P.S. Is anyone up for summarizing the key points of the WSJ article and comments?

    • Replies: @Inverness
  158. @dfordoom

    Actually, I’m not at war with “millennials”– as insulting a term in its own way as “boomer”– but with the whole generational-labeling thing, which I call astrology. I appreciate sensible people of any age– or race, sex, nationality, etc.– and don’t expect them to apologze for the rest of their cohort.

    • Replies: @dfordoom
  159. res says:
    @Anonymous

    res has answered this here (maybe re-post it here for us, res):

    https://www.unz.com/isteve/spain-still-far-from-herd-immunity/#comment-3896704

    Thanks. I am reluctant to repost a 1300 word comment given that it is easy enough to follow the link. If people really want me to I can, or others can do it, I would not mind. Just please put it behind a MORE!

    Here is the link to my 1000 word response to your comment there as well.
    https://www.unz.com/isteve/spain-still-far-from-herd-immunity/#comment-3897584

    Thank you for laying out your thoughts in detail and considering mine. I think the conclusion to my response linked above captures where we are now.

    To my mind the key assumptions underpinning my mindset are:
    – Unable to assume a vaccine will arrive in time to make everything better.
    – Summer is better than winter for achieving herd immunity.
    – Elimination is untenable in the long term.

    Perhaps we would do better to discuss those assumptions? Because if we (or others) disagree there it will be hard to come to any sort of common understanding.

    Have you looked at my comment 86 above?
    https://www.unz.com/isteve/how-exactly-is-herd-immunity-supposed-to-work/#comment-3897982

    What makes you think it is possible to sustain elimination over the long term?

    P.S. Based on my experience in modeling and simulation, I think we are much better off discussing assumptions than math at this stage. Though some math (e.g. the paper discussed in comment 86) can help by describing various scenarios.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
  160. @Inverness

    You and all you assholes who think China of all places would unleash a plague on itself in order to get Americans are trolls working for military intelligence at a quarter a response. You rich now. See you at the ice cream store.

    • Replies: @dfordoom
    , @Reg Cæsar
  161. @Anon

    What about Y and Z? What about the Greatest Generation (they’re still around)? What about the War Babies? You children of Alex P. Keaton are the worst. You actually believe all that freedom-stuff made up by liberal TV-makers.

  162. @dfordoom

    All this Hysterical Over-the-Top Generation Naming and Shaming just popped up recently.

    When trends in ways of thinking pop up, all at once, all in the same context, all using the same phraseology, I suspect enemy action. (Once is happenstance; twice is coincidence; thrice is enemy action.)

    The talking point memo goes out. The loyal parrots parrot it. And so it goes.

    • Replies: @utu
    , @PiltdownMan
  163. @Steve Sailer

    Fundamentally, it looks like there is a tradeoff between herd immunity and segregating the most vulnerable, which means the latter won’t much benefit from herd immunity.

    I don’t think that’s true at all.

    For some of the concepts involved in ‘herd immunity’, the high risk people dying is part of what gets you there, ie the herd gets culled and the remainder has immunity.

    But for other causes and concepts baked into this meta-concept of ‘herd immunity’, if this thing burns itself out while the 25% remain self-quarantined, then when the 25% leave quarantine, there is no raging viral infection to be exposed to.

    The odds of those people getting it go way way down. Probably not nothing, but way down. Because most of the people at the store, at the restaurant or wherever, do not have the virus because they have already cleared the virus and are immune.

    So there is still a chance that the virus is lingering around in places and though the 25% are at a lower risk in the general public because there’s so many less infected running around, some of them might still get it. Once they have it, they could re-ignite a mini-pandemic in their own social circles that were previously protected. Sure.

    Short of an effective vaccine there is no way around this. For the 25% to be completely safe, they will have to continue to isolate or face risks. But the other 75%, to the degree that they are NOT isolated and actually infected, +4 weeks, the risk for the 25% goes down to catch a stray that starts a mini-pandemic.

    And that is mitigated in 1 way by default, and a second way by behavior. 1 way is, those 25% are all disconnected from each other in their own social networks, and fire-breaked off from each other by immune people. So only some of those groups might face this risk and the rest of the 25% at risk groups luck out.

    For the ones that are unlucky, this virus is contagious before it is symptomatic, so isolating the individual who is to play typhoid mary in their social network is probably not going to be achieved with a high degree of success. They will spread it to some others in their network.

    However unless their whole network is at the spreading event, and even then, not the whole network will get it. The 2nd mitigating factor is once the typhoid mary goes symptomatic, everyone will know it’s at wild in the group. Then they will be able to self-quarantine from the group and in 3 weeks (6 for a couple rounds of reinfection if a close group) everyone that was infected will be exposed, which is some, but the mini-pandemic is halted and the rest of the network is still protected.

    Short of a vaccine, this risk of a protected person still getting exposed and infected by a lingering remnant of virus will possibly go away at some point, will possibly remain forevermore, and will probably take at least a couple years to get to total 0% even if it does go away. I haven’t a clue what the risk curve would look like, in different places and at different times, but it is probably non-0. But I don’t know if for most people it will turn out less than the risk of lightning or more than the risk of para-gliding.

    The protected people will probably have to remain somewhat protected. ‘Herd immunity’ does not fix that. But the 75% unprotected need to be unprotected and frankly even better if infected (and cleared and immune) so they can serve as a firebreak between the different networks of protected people and so they can’t be the infective agents. That’s the idea of it.

    • Agree: vhrm, qwop, res
  164. res says:
    @Steve Sailer

    True, but doesn’t heterogeneity work the opposite way as well and diminish the power of herd immunity?

    I don’t think so. First, I’ll repeat the references. This page:
    https://judithcurry.com/2020/05/10/why-herd-immunity-to-covid-19-is-reached-much-earlier-than-thought
    references this paper:
    Individual variation in susceptibility or exposure to SARS-CoV-2 lowers the herd immunity threshold
    https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.04.27.20081893v2
    with full text: https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.04.27.20081893v2.full.pdf

    First point is the paper focuses on both individual variation in susceptibility and exposure (connectivity). Based on figure 3 (there is a lot going on in that figure, I recommend spending some time to understand it) we can get some idea of how the herd immunity threshold and total epidemic size (see comment 86 for discussion of how moderate lockdowns may reduce the total epidemic size to be closer to the HI threshold, an important piece of the puzzle) vary with different levels of non-homogeneity.

    That figure assumes an R0 of 3 (raw HI of 67%) and presents susceptibility estimates which imply a resulting HI threshold of around 20% with total epidemic size of less than 40%.

    One thing I don’t understand is why they did not look at scenarios with both effects involved simultaneously. It seems like they emphasized the susceptibility aspect (perhaps that is where their expertise lies?) overall. Which seems odd given that figure 3 indicates variable connectivity results in an even steeper decline.

    So let’s talk about connectivity. Especially since I think that is both more important and more intuitive. First, it is critical to realize the network connectivity is roughly hierarchical (both intrinsically and especially useful conceptually). So consider the levels of neighborhood, city/county, state, national, and international.

    I think it is reasonable to approximate things as a series of hierarchical levels of roughly similar networks. This allows us to discuss one level in detail then extrapolate those conclusions to the other levels. Here is some theoretical background for the more masochistic:
    Networks and the Epidemiology of Infectious Disease
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3062985/

    An important point is that social networks are not random.

    Figure 2
    Comparison of random and scale-free networks. (a) Degree distributions for two classes of networks: scale free and random networks. (b) Example random network with 100 nodes and 300 links. All nodes have similar numbers of links. (c) Example scale-free network with 100 nodes and 300 links. Most nodes have few links, with a few nodes having many links.

    This excerpt is a bit cryptic, but I have bolded the relevant conclusion. In particular notice the “much.”

    For the extreme case of P(k) following an unbounded power law and assuming equal transmission across all edges, Pastor-Satorras and Vespignani [87] showed that the classic result of the epidemic threshold from mean field theory [10] breaks down. In real-transmission networks, the distribution of degree is often heavily skewed, and occasionally follows a power law [22], but is always bounded, leading to the recovery of epidemic threshold, but one which is much lower than expected in evenly mixed populations [88].

    Thinking about this intuitively, look at panel a in the figure above. About 1 in 100 people have 7 or more connections (hypothetical example of course) and 1 in a million have 200 or more. Hopefully it is obvious how once the infection is present in that network those people are most likely to both become infected early and transmit the infection. Once they are immune we are much closer to herd immunity. We can discuss this more if you like.

    That covers one level of the network hierarchy. Say that network represented a city and we now jump all the way to the country level as a simple example. The idea is similar network topology exists there. NYC is much more connected than Podunk. Hopefully it is again obvious that NYC is more likely to become infected early, but once it achieves HI and the infection subsides there then it is less likely to spread it to Podunk (assuming it hasn’t done so already!). Once complexity at the higher levels is that at the level of people the period of infectiousness is short (and asymptomatic infectiousness is shorter still if it exists at all). This is not true at the higher levels. The period of infectiousness for travelers from a given city can be long (especially if travelers are not checked for infection and/or the course of the local epidemic is slowed by countermeasures).

    Hopefully that is enough to get the basic idea across. If not for anyone, feel free to ask for clarification. Now for an important subtlety (which I think speaks to your point, sorry for being so long winded getting here, but I thought the background was important).

    Talking about herd immunity as a percentage obscures important variation. It would not do much good to draw an east-west line through the US and infect everyone on only one side and declare HI with 50% infected. Obviously that is ridiculous. It is less ridiculous, but still a problem, to consider HI achieved when significant parts of the country have not had an outbreak. That just means if a single case happens to find its way to one of those places we have a local epidemic (hopefully it is apparent how this idea scales across the network hierarchy).

    As a hypothetical, how about this as a way of helping reach HI? Take everyone in the US with significant frequent flyer status and present them a choice. Either you don’t fly through the end of the next flu season OR you allow yourself to be infected then quarantined through recovery. (really neither a good nor viable idea, but hopefully the provocative though experiment makes a useful point).

    So for achieving HI what you really want is to achieve immunity for as many high connectivity people (and locations) as possible across as many locations as possible.

    Back to you.

    But what that means is the 25% of the population who were protected are still very much at risk if the germ then gets into their social networks even after you declared victory in the race to Herd Immunity. So you get back to huge death tolls after Herd Immunity is reached by

    I think this clarifies your objection. If I understand correctly, the issue has to do with local networks. Hopefully the discussion above is helpful.

    Another thing to consider is that some portion of the most vulnerable (susceptible and/or connected) of the protected 25% (roughly corresponds to over age 60, is that in line with your thoughts?) may have become infected already. Either before we became careful or just through bad luck.

    Fundamentally, it looks like there is a tradeoff between herd immunity and segregating the most vulnerable, which means the latter won’t much benefit from herd immunity.

    There is some tradeoff. As an example, it is not really possible to intentionally infect the most outgoing resident of a nursing home. And if that person becomes infected accidentally the local situation may become bad quickly.

    The benefit comes from reducing the chance of the virus of entering the nursing home in the first place. By being especially careful while the virus is allowed to spread and then having the herd immunity of the larger community limit the ability of the virus to gain a foothold elsewhere (a necessary precondition for getting it into the nursing home) going forward.

    Again, I will note that it is possible for any given individual to lock themselves down as hard as they want (and can manage to sustain). It will probably be a good idea for vulnerable individuals to make an extra effort to be careful through the next flu season or two. Regardless of what approach we follow now.

    After reading the above, do you you still think the end of your final sentence (won’t much benefit) holds? At this point I have given a great deal of detail on what I think we should be doing and why. Perhaps you could offer what you think we should be doing and why? Attacking the positions of others is MUCH easier than presenting and defending coherent positions of one’s own.

    • Agree: qwop
    • Thanks: V. K. Ovelund, PiltdownMan
    • Replies: @pepperinmono
  165. res says:
    @Anonymous

    I’m really not seeing where you are getting the 18 months from with elimination. It seems like you would rather have 1.5+ years of death and shitty economy than be back to normal in 6-9months. To the point of encouraging people not to get tested.

    What makes you say 6-9 months? It seems to me that if we have lockdowns in place at the beginning of the next flu season they should stay on until the end. Which would be 10-11 months from now. Six months from now is basically the start of flu season.

    Releasing the lockdown during the flu season seems like a much worse idea than releasing it now.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
  166. @Steve Sailer

    LOL!

    That sounds so 2020 American (8 year-old boy American, that is).

    John Derbyshire wrote a paragraph or two on this Chinese thing a year or more back, but I didn’t remember that one.

  167. @The Alarmist

    It is believed that some acquired immunity from the ’57 flu might have lessened the toll. Interestingly, antibiotics were also believed to play a role in muting the toll of both pandemics by preventing secondary infections like pneumonia; interesting because antibiotic resistance might now be in play.

    This is certainly true for Italy and Spain. I’ve posted numerous links the last few weeks here to all kinds of sites which show that Italy and Spain suffer a lot from antibiotics-resistance. And this problem was addressed well before CO-19 did arrive because it then already did lots of damage.

  168. @Daniel Williams

    People don’t seem to develop lifetime immunity to flu (in general, since there are so many strains) and it kills lots of people every year.

    The flu is an interesting virus because it has a segmented RNA genome (7 separate RNA segments for most, 8 for one I believe).

    If an individual comes into contact with two different strains, a third or more can arise as a result of the shuffling of those segments if two different flu virus strains manage to get into the same cells in that persons body.

    So, it has one additional mechanism for variation over an above that caused by inaccurate copying of its RNA.

    • Thanks: Daniel Williams
  169. @Anonymous

    To the point of encouraging people not to get tested.

    I find the fetishism of testing to be somewhat amusing. At first, they test only those who presented symptoms, establishing “confirmed” cases, then bannered those and deaths they claimed were attributable to the virus, which gave what looked like a very scary CFR. Anyone who gave it any thought realised “confirmed” cases might only be a fraction of actual cases … remember that in January the media was already talking about what a bad flu season this was turning out to be.

    Then, the world starts clamouring to be tested, to what end, I don’t know, other than for the doc to tell you to stay at home for two weeks. I had a wicked viral infection (untested) in January, for which my doc wrote me out for a week and later for another weak. I suspect the aasian dude who sneezed in my face in the Atlanta terminal might have given me the bug. Stay home, take Paracetemol, drink plenty of fluids, and rest. That was all medical science could do for me in January, so absent a shortness of breath, testing positive at that time would have changed very little. Anyway, the experts ran out of tests because they were burning them on patients presenting with symptoms, while all that while it would have better informed public policy making to start grabbing large random samples in various places to perform actual epidemiology rather than feeding the scare machine.

    Anyway, it seems like there’s less and less actual science in modern science these days, so why are we surprised all the scientists want to run the world rather than support the people and their leaders who make up the world to make informed choices?

    • Replies: @Anonymous
  170. … economic downturn dragging on for several years as scores of millions hunker down and don’t spend a lot of money pursuing an active social life.

    No, Steve, this is not right. I do not believe it at any rate. Pursuit of an active social life is a good thing on its own merits, but it dissipates resources.

    Were it not so, then a poor country like Haiti could get richer by throwing big parties.

    To get rich, you need to make things. Using things up by throwing parties will not help.

  171. Glaivester says: • Website
    @qwop

    I believe you mean the Re, not the R0.

    R0 is the spread value if no one has acquired immunity*. Re is the actual spread value in reality, after acquired immunity is taken into account. So immunizing people does not alter the R0.

    *I believe that people who have “intrinsic” immunity, i.e. they are genetically incapable of getting the disease, are included in the R0; the only factor distinguishing R0 from Re is acquired immunity.

    • Replies: @qwop
  172. *I believe that people who have “intrinsic” immunity, i.e. they are genetically incapable of getting the disease, are included in the R0

    In reality, how could they possibly have included it if they don’t know what it is? I can’t find any medical literature even attempting to fully address it with this virus, and all I have found for addressing it are credible credentialed people in relevant fields claiming they can’t find any either.

    They will however show up, I think (if we can’t or don’t account for them) in an artificially lower tapering of Re. Because they will persistently show up as uninfected (as in, uninfected and unexposed, when they are really exposed and genetically immune, or asymptomatic below testing threshold). That will have the effect of making Re look lower.

    Depending on accounting for asymptomatic based on symptom threshold, those people will show up there too, and based on everything I have seen, they will be huge.

  173. Well, speaking for the entire continent of Australia and its people (apparently talking like this makes numbers inherently better), “we” have tested about 5% of the population – still kinda-non-randomly – and the prevalence of infection with SARS-nCoV-2 is 0.7%.

    So there is no sign whatsoever of ‘herd immunity’, except to the extent that this virus is so shit that it was wandering around unmolested from November 2019 to March 23 2020 … and only got its hooks into 7000 people.

    And that’s before anyone notices that more than 10% of Australia’s positive tests – and 20% of the dead-with – are passengers from a single cruise ship that docked on March 19th.

    There were only 4 days for 700 infected Ruby Princess passengers to spread the virus before the ‘lockdown’ happened.

    So it’s odd that they spread the thing so rapidly. If government health spokespeople’s claims are to be believed –
     • two infected passengers generated 133 additional cases in Tasmania (total cases: 202);
     • 7 infected passengers generated an additional 59 cases in WA (total cases: 546).

    The additional number of positive tests that have been traced back to Ruby Princess infectees, could be as much as 20% of total cases.

    By comparison, there were tens of thousands of incoming travellers from China, Iran and Italy – some of them certainly infected – who arrived between late November 2019 and March 2020. Why didn’t they seed processes that had the same trajectory?

    .

    And people should start rejecting the media’s framing of what a positive test means, for fuck’s sake.

    Infected by the virus SARS-nCoV-2” does not mean “has covid19“.

    COVID19 is a rarely-fatal respiratory illness that is caused by SARS-nCoV-2 in significantly fewer than 50% of people infected by the virus.

    There is a deliberate attempt by interested parties, to conflate two things in what passes for the public mind[sic].

    Innumerate, illiterate[1] HousewifeTV viewers are being actively encouraged to believe that two weakly-related things are in fact interchangeable terms for the same thing – those two things being
    Ⓐ the presence of SARS-nCoV-2 RNA in nasopharyingeal excretions; and
    Ⓑ the presence of COVID19 – an actual respiratory disease.

    Ⓐ causes all Ⓑ; that’s a very different thing to All Ⓐ causes Ⓑ.

    Where the ‘all’ appears is critical, but is simply outside the cognitive range of viewers of Ellen, Dr Phil or Sanjay .Gupta – or to virtually any other individual within σ of cognitive median.

    In the same way, ‘case‘ = ‘tested positive for SARS-nCoV-2‘. It does not mean ‘has symptomatic COVID19‘ (let alone the links being foisted by media, which is that ‘case’ means ‘severe (hospitalisation and risk of death) COVID19‘ )

    To labour the point somewhat…

    It’s a bit like “carries herpes simplex” vs “has a cold sore“.

    Loads of people are infected by herpes simplex (globally: about 67% of people under 50), but their system is sufficiently stable that they never get a cold sore. Others very rarely get cold sores – during infrequent times of stressed immunity (e.g., winter). Others have weeping cold-sores that are present permanently. A few newborns have died of encephalitis after contracting herpes simplex 1 from an infected adult, but the risk is minuscule.

    People intuitively understand the cold-sore example, but drop the cognitive ball when it’s applied to a novel virus with an accompanying media chorus.

    It’s by no means clear that herpes simplex infection wouldn’t see off the median victim of death-with covid19 – i.e., a chronically-ill septuagenarian, usually a resident of a nursing home.

    Notes.

    [1] ‘Illiterate‘ does not mean ‘incapable of reading letters and working out what the word is‘. That’s the definition governments use to be able to claim “99% literacy”, in order to try to pretend that the ~$15k per child spent on public schools is not utterly wasted.

    Ask a self-described ‘educator’ what the word means: have a barf-bag handy, because the response will be a word-salad about expanding knowledge, developing critical faculties, and better understanding oneself and the world.

    Point is: it’s not just “‘C-A-T’ = CAT” followed by “Good job!!!!“.

    Literacy means being able to understand words in context, and to evaluate truth claims in written material.

    In my (misanthropic) view, ‘literacy’ is not obtained by an adult human unless they hit PIAAC Level V (achieved by 0.7% of adults OECD-wide):

    . Adults reaching this level can perform tasks that involve
     • searching for and integrating information across multiple, dense texts;
     • constructing syntheses of similar and contrasting ideas or points of view;
     • evaluating evidence and arguments.

    They can apply and evaluate logical and conceptual models, and evaluate the reliability of evidentiary sources and select key information. They are aware of subtle, rhetorical cues and are able to make high-level inferences or use specialised background knowledge.

    That’s literally too much to ask of 99% of adult humans in the OECD.

    • Replies: @Almost Missouri
  174. Anonymous[194] • Disclaimer says:
    @res

    What makes you say 6-9 months? It seems to me that if we have lockdowns in place at the beginning of the next flu season they should stay on until the end. Which would be 10-11 months from now. Six months from now is basically the start of flu season.

    First, I think lockdowns should be defined. What is a lockdown, exactly? I think you can have most if not all of the benefits of a lockdown if you have in place measures to reduce spread of infection as I spoke about in my email. Yes, nightclubs are out. Restaurants – if outdoor seating is in place are likely fine with some social distancing. And maybe internally though I have my doubts on that. But for the most part, low-risk activities go on as normal and medium to high risk have in places measures to lower the risk.

    I am basing my figures on the halving time, or the time it takes to achieve a 10x reduction (you can use either of course with an exponential decay curve). And that’s what you get when R < 1. Yes, I picked the best examples that can be seen, but I suspect, like the rest of the world, that's a result of policy and replicable elsewhere. Most aren't wearing masks, so that's something that can be done to get there faster. And that's desirable because the alternative is a no-mans land.

    I think too much is made of the flu season btw. Massive spread has happened in Singapore and that doesn't have a winter. By the same token, flu would have already started in AU and NZ, but that is at a fraction of normal because flu is a less infectious disease than CV, and every way that flu is spread is also impacted by measures targeted at CV. So they are seeing record low prevalence of flu.

    In any case, intracountry or intrastate measures are ended when there is a period of time with no new cases, at a time when everyone who has so much as a cough, sore throat, fever, shortness of breath, lack of sense of smell or taste, etc. is tested and can be tested (which is probably at or near that point in the USA now, right? At the end point it's key to maintain stringent border security with quarantines to infected countries.

  175. @res

    As I posted several weeks ago, this is all very complicated.
    But just the flu, possibly bad year.
    As data emerging, even more likely true.
    I am an oncologist.
    Some educated observations:

    Too much reliance on models rather than clinical experience of past epidemic behavior .
    Many of the modelers have been spectacularly wrong in past.
    Ferguson.
    Even Fauci with HIV.

    It is just a fallacy that herd immunity needs to be reached to stop an epidemic.
    Herd immunity has generally been used wrt vaccines rather than actual illnesses.
    Respiratory viruses are seasonal(probably related to absolute humidity changes).
    As mentioned, herd immunity is moderated by inhomogenity of susceptibility/ connectivity for not entirely understood reasons.
    Studies have shown can occur at levels that are out there now(15-20%).
    Idea that has to be 50-70% is just not true.
    There are genetic and racial differences.
    There is innate immunity.
    There is probable overlap with other Coronaviruses enough to provide some immunity.
    May be immune( or not susceptible) without having antibodies.
    Some viruses just disappear.

    Doubt will be vaccine . Has not been one for Coronavirus and vast majority of viruses.

    Number in numerator unreliable as allowing those suspected of having are included.
    Also major financial and political reasons to inflate numbers.
    Denominator unreliable also, adding covid + and antibody + together , totally inappropriate.
    No pathological definition of what the disease is exactly( dying with vs of , not even known what it means).
    Constantly changing diagnostic criteria.

    There are always clusters through random and unknown factors.
    For every New York there is a Los Angeles.
    There will always be a worst area and a best area.
    Need to look at whole country.

    To me no obvious major increase in overall all-cause mortality, even with probably inflated numbers.
    For now , this is the gold standard.
    Seems all along to be just possibly bad flu season that have had in recent past.
    Mortality similar order of magnitude to Influenza per serologic antibody studies .

    May become seasonal/ endemic.
    SERS and MERS didn’t but were confined to Asians.
    Only time will tell.

    Have never shut down country over similar ILI’s or worse mortality from multiple other causes.
    Mortality same order of magnitude as influenza from antibody studies.
    Major health and economic unintended(?)consequences of lockdown, probably worse than virus itself.
    Not clear if lockdown has helped.
    Not clear if masks help.
    Not clear if social distancing works.
    Media and Dems, some Republicans ,too invested in continuing lockdown for authoritarian reasons , fear, ignorance, don’t want to admit error, political gain.
    Moving goalposts: First was flattening curve then cure/vaccine now 2nd wave.
    Saying meditative measures worked is tautologous.

    Way out theory: started by Deep State to discredit Trump and decrease re-election chances. Certainly being used that way. Would not put past these people to see epidemic as mere collateral damage in this war.

    Prudence: encourage elderly, nursing homers, immunocompromised to be careful. Open up rest of country entirely immediately.

    Years from now , this will seen as time of collective insanity. People who have bought in to this need to look at your fellow travelers. Why would they be right or trusted now? Surprised so many on this site have forgot this , especially RU and SS.

    • Thanks: Almost Missouri
    • Replies: @Anonymous
  176. vhrm says:
    @Anonymous

    I’m really not seeing where you are getting the 18 months from with elimination. It seems like you would rather have 1.5+ years of death and shitty economy than be back to normal in 6-9months. To the point of encouraging people not to get tested.

    The 18 months i mentioned is the (hoped for) time to a vaccine, which is the only endpoint Fauci et al have acknowledged for exiting their shutdown and assorted associated epidemic machinery.

    _i_ would rather have the Swedish method… or even a more aggressive form of it: 2 or 3 months of high infection rates among the relatively healthy followed by a Labor Day party where we all wear antlers and celebrate that it’s over and we’re basically back to normal, at least until SARS-3 comes along.

    Unfortunately, because of excessive crushing of the curve in most places already, and the onset of summer, that party’s not likely to happen since we probably won’t get to “herd resistance among the healthy”, except maybe in NYC, until next flu season.

    As far as testing, i think it’s fine for care workers and healthcare workers and anyone who wants it (e.g people who live with high risk individuals) and only they should isolate if positive… and only from high-risk individuals.

    That is, if Joe-35yo gets it he shouldn’t visit his grandparents, or his friend in the hospital, but otherwise he should carry on.

    • Replies: @utu
    , @Anonymous
  177. Anonymous[194] • Disclaimer says:
    @res

    Have you looked at my comment 86 above?

    Yes I have. It seems that your modelling assumes that getting down to a last case which then clears is impossible. If one looks at the very real example of Taiwan and now Viet Nam, it certainly seems that it is both possible to take a country from a situation of local transmission (i.e. source unknown cases), and reduce the transmission to a level where there is one last case which finally clears. i.e. elimination. If one subscribes to the Germ Theory of Disease then a virus cannot spring out of the aether. It must have a source.

    These countries have eliminated using a policy of mask usage among other measures. Australia and New Zealand are countries that are practically at that point without using masks, but surprise surprise it has taken them longer. Call me crazy but I would rather be in the position of Viet Nam or Taiwan and ready to open up everything internally months earlier if it means wearing a mask while outside my home and in either a crowded street or inside a building.

    And note, VN shares a land border with China, and Laos, that was notoriously porous when they wanted it to be during the Viet Nam war, but now there is some nationalistic glue to keep it closed, it’s closed. (This is the thing that surprises me about some commenters here. It’s like a gift-wrapped outright reason, not even a pretext, to get a wall and suddenly Mexican immigration is no longer important to them.)

    https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-coronavirus-vietnam/vietnam-reports-24-new-coronavirus-cases-all-imported-cases-pass-300-idUSKBN22R03R

    What makes you think it is possible to sustain elimination over the long term?

    Because once you have no cases in a country that has capacity to test and does test, you will soon enough work out if you have eliminated or not. If there are no new virus cases, there are no new virus cases, and even if you get one, you can react locally to shut things down and the citizens know the drill there.

    It is possible to control borders, which is the second requirement. No one wants to go through this s*** again. Quarantine and testing during such will be in place for travel to infected countries but travel between CV-free countries will have no quarantine.

    As more countries become CV-free, then most of the world becomes such a network, and the countries with people who can’t or won’t become CV-free becomes a smaller and smaller network.

  178. utu says:
    @vhrm

    “…excessive crushing of the curve…” – There is no such a thing. The curve should be and could be crushed to zero. China, S. Korea, Taiwan, Japan and New Zealand are countries that showed us how to do it. Lack of leadership and vision in American and European politicians landed us in the wishy washy zone because the measures were not strict enough and were imposed not soon enough. This created an opening for reemergence of the cannibalistic meme of herd immunity under the disguise of dubious models of heterogenous society that promises a false salvation at 20% rather than 60 or 70% prevalence threshold. This is all part of the disinformation operation Western societies are being subjected to to undermine confidence, trust, increase chaos and uncertainty. It should not be difficult to guess that the centers responsible for spreading these memes are somewhere close to Moscow and its Lubyanka, St. Petersburg and its Olgino and similar dis-info troll farms near Beijing who preach the opposite what they do and what worked for them. They found a very fertile ground among American libertarians who have never yet missed an opportunity to play roles of useful idiots.

  179. Anonymous[194] • Disclaimer says:
    @vhrm

    Let me ask you this, then. If most states have gotten CV down to a few cases per day, down from 10 or 100 or 1000 cases per day, would it not make sense to attempt to keep going until there is one last detected case that clears up? AND it means that you can ask for strong border control so that you can keep CV free? And it means you can have things back to how they were (save the international travel to CV infected countries) when it does clear up?

    Or would you unwind all that work.

    • Replies: @vhrm
  180. Anonymous[427] • Disclaimer says:
    @Anonymous

    Something similar has happened to the West, in that a system we knew nothing of (human genetic variability and irritability of psychological characteristics in our case, the existence of microorganisms in Rome’s case) has gradually exhausted our resources, until suddenly we find ourselves poor.

    Bravo!

    (Assuming commenter is male, of course.)

    But….the hitch is that “we” DID know more than a little of the fundamental issue. Men like Lothrop Stoddard and Madison Grant and a dozen others wrote of it. Later men, from airline president and lawyer Carleton Putnam to professor Revilo Oliver to hundreds of less prominent but equally dedicated people, did, at the personal cost of stating the highly unpopular, try to make the case over and over.

    A small but dedicated, facile, verbally adroit, and usually venomous crowd, was able to make this viewpoint unacceptable to the average “thinking person”, although working class people were more resistant since they were not as isolated from the actual issue.

    As Arthur Asher Miller, that loutish, oafish doofus avatar of goodthinkers said, in other contexts, “the structure of a play is always the story of how the birds came home to roost.”

  181. Anonymous[194] • Disclaimer says:
    @The Alarmist

    I find the fetishism of testing to be somewhat amusing. At first, they test only those who presented symptoms, establishing “confirmed” cases, then bannered those and deaths they claimed were attributable to the virus, which gave what looked like a very scary CFR. Anyone who gave it any thought realised “confirmed” cases might only be a fraction of actual cases … remember that in January the media was already talking about what a bad flu season this was turning out to be.

    The virus has a reproduction number, R, the number of cases that each infected person in turn, infects. This is not set in stone and can be reduced. Reduce it to below 1 and then eventually it eliminates. Get it closer to zero and the reduction is faster.

    One point of testing is that true asymptomatic cases are a minority of cases. Symptomatic cases are the majority. True asymptomatic and presymptomatic cases will in most cases be transmitted from or to a symptomatic case. In still other cases, there is another link in between. So if you test positive, from there you can go and find the contacts of that person and test those contacts. Some of the positives turned up will in fact be asymptomatic or presymptomatic cases. With those positives you do the same thing.

    When there are any positives, isolation follows, and retesting. In so doing, you have the opportunity to prevent further transmission. It is this prevention of transmission in positives (uncovered by either symptoms or contact tracing) that lowers R. And for that, it is important. Please note, this is not the only thing that can lower R. The other things also act to lower R independently. But the R-lowering nature of testing is part of the reason that it’s important.

    All this pandemic is, is a set of infected people within each country. At first, unknown. Most with symptoms are potentially identifiable. A further group are asymptomatic that may be found with contact tracing. As testing ramps up, pretty soon the odds of the virus in an infected person being able to transmit to others starts to get very reduced. Clusters are identified early, as soon as someone shows symptoms. So you have this set of people that changes over time, but with widespread testing we start to get a very good idea of where it is and how it behaves. For an elimination goal, testing is vital, as it gives the signals as to when elimination is achieved and in which areas can measures be loosened.

    There is a somewhat variable approach to elimination with each country adopting a different subset of measures but an essential part in every country that has eliminated or will eliminate has been testing for the virus.

  182. Anonymous[194] • Disclaimer says:
    @pepperinmono

    Not clear if masks help.
    Not clear if social distancing works.

    Social distancing has been part of the solution in both Taiwan, Viet Nam, Australia and New Zealand.

    Masks have been a part of the solution in Taiwan and Viet Nam. Both have reached a point of around a month with nothing but imported cases, and done it faster than AU and NZ.

  183. utu says:
    @obwandiyag

    “When trends in ways of thinking pop up, all at once, all in the same context, all using the same phraseology, I suspect enemy action.” – Olgino, St. Petersburg; Lubyanka, Moscow; Beijing

  184. dfordoom says: • Website
    @vhrm

    I read HMS Ulysses , Guns of Navarrone , Force 10 from Navarrone and maybe Ice Station Zebra in middle school or high school

    Ice Station Zebra is one of the classic submarine thrillers. And with the Arctic setting which MacLean always did so well. Personally I’d pick Night Without End as MacLean’s best book.

    Man… why don’t i read anymore? It’s no more of a waste of time than watching TV and there’s so many more books than shows!

    It’s definitely less of a waste of time than social media. I can’t figure out what men see in social media.

  185. @dfordoom

    Maybe it’s because he wrote old-fashioned guy fiction. There’s not enough emotional self-indulgence for modern tastes. And his heroes were all heterosexual men. The horror!

    I just discovered this article by Alessandra Stanley of the New York Times, in which she reviews Alistair Maclean’s books, which she says she read as a kid who raided her brother’s stash. Making allowances for all the necessary gender-based virtue signalling by Stanley, it’s not a bad roundup.

    I think it is paywalled, though.

    https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/13/books/in-praise-of-alistair-maclean-and-the-male-romance.html

  186. dfordoom says: • Website
    @Steve Sailer

    Not for the previous four coronaviruses.

    Agreed. My impression is that people who believe in herd immunity believe in it because they want to believe it’s true. They have to believe it’s true. It’s a matter of faith.

    I think the same applies to the vaccine. The vaccine believers simply have to believe there’ll be a vaccine. Again it’s faith rather than reason.

  187. Dube says:
    @Reg Cæsar

    There are concerts worth going to? Music has been on a sixty-year slide. Except orchestral music– that’s well into its second century of decline. Could anybody since Legrand, Jobim, or Mancini even write a tune?

    Tunes? Tunes are lovely, also useful as points of departure. And do you know of ensembles other than orchestral?

  188. Inverness says:
    @res

    It would be different if we were testing travellers for the virus, or for antibodies to it. At the risk of stating the obvious, what the TSA has announced is tantamount to ‘security theatre’ for covid. We’ve known since January that the vast majority of carriers are non-symptomatic.

    All this will do is convince travellers (and others) that they need not worry past the checkpoints. So it’s not much of a stretch to say the measures the TSA have announced may well contribute to the spread of covid. But they’re going to do this at just a few airports. If you have a fever, moreover, you can knock it back with Tylenol for a few hours so you don’t miss your flight. We’ve known this since January.

    I’m frankly dismayed to be explaining any of this, at this late date. “Stay at home if you’re sick” was from January: “If you’re not showing symptoms, go out and infect as many people as possible.” But I realize that many here believe the virus is a hoax. And I’ll leave aside the issue that the TSA is notoriously incompetent.

    Suppose I’m wrong, and the only infectious people are those with fevers, and all of those with fevers are infectious. Aren’t they infecting people in the airline terminals? On the shuttle buses? On the ‘train to the plane’? Why not?

    • Replies: @res
  189. @obwandiyag

    (Once is happenstance; twice is coincidence; thrice is enemy action.)

    The first edition of Ian Fleming’s Goldfinger had a fancy cover. The publisher must have been very sure that it would be a big deal, and gone to the extra expense. Or maybe he just liked the book—back then, publishing houses weren’t run by suits with spreadsheets.

  190. dfordoom says: • Website
    @Achmed E. Newman

    Yes, I think many entities have taken full advantage of this “crisis”, most of them not out of any great strategy.

    I agree. You don’t need conspiracy theories to explain cynicism and opportunism. In the case of this crisis the conspiracy theories are particularly laughable and absurd. Individuals and corporations make their own decisions about what is in their own interests. They don’t have to hold secret meetings and hatch vast conspiracies.

  191. MBlanc46 says:
    @Mike Tre

    How did it go?

    • Replies: @Mike Tre
  192. utu says:
    @Steve Sailer

    The meme of herd immunity is being made more palatable by a promise derived from models that the prevalence threshold is much lower for population of heterogeneous spreaders than given by the formula 1 – 1/R0. The models assume that connectivity-susceptibility is described by asymmetric gamma pdf. The problem is that parameters of the function are not really known. So the results of modeling remain in the realm of model defined reality only. The paper by M. Gabriela M. Gomes et al. has this paragraph that demonstrate how clueless and desperate they are:

    https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.04.27.20081893v2.full.pdf
    An analysis of the outbreak on board the Diamond Princess cruise ship reported a cumulative infected percentage of 17% (20). Seroprevalences estimated from various settings are currently widespread, but reportedly between less than 1 and just over 20%, including estimates from Kobe, Japan (3.3%) (21) and Guilan province, Iran (22%) (22). While seropositivity estimates 25 are limited by epidemiological context and current estimates are undoubtedly affected by testing uncertainties, our results suggest that some estimated values may be closer to reaching herd immunity thresholds than otherwise predicted, if populations were sufficiently heterogeneous. Worth nothing (sic!), however, that these estimates may have been offset by the social distancing measures.

    “May have been”, really? They are right. Their paper while not exactly is worth nothing it is not worth much for those who have to make real life decisions in this crisis while it is worth a lot for all kinds of trolls who want to derail responsible policies and sow confusion and chaos.

    • Replies: @res
  193. vhrm says:
    @Anonymous

    Those are many ifs and i don’t think they’re realistic:

    1) Both Korea and Wuhan thought they were at zero new infections for days and now they have new community transmission (i.e not travel related). This means they didn’t actually get to zero, they just didn’t realize transmission was still going on. Will they get everyone, and all the cats, this time? Actually getting to zero this way is hard.

    2) The US lockdown is too loose (or probably too unevenly enforced) to get us to or near zero and it’s only going to get looser.

    In California for example the number of hospitalized, the new confirmed cases, and daily deaths have all been flat for a month. (~ 75 deaths/day ; 1500 new cases/ day )

    https://projects.sfchronicle.com/2020/coronavirus-map/

    Most of the states appear to have rates holding or near holding over the past month with the exception of those that had the larger outbreaks (ny, nj, Michigan) where they are indeed falling a lot, but still not close to zero or approaching it.

    https://91-divoc.com/pages/covid-visualization/?chart=states&highlight=California&show=50&trendline=highlight-1week&y=log&scale=log&data=deaths-daily-7&extra=Texas,Florida,New%20York,(None)#states

    But extrapolating from these graphs there’s no indication of new cases or deaths imminently dropping.

    3) Herd resistance is much more stable than trying to prevent infection outbreaks through surveillance and isolation. (You’re not an anti-vaxxer, are you? 🙂 )

    Without resistance every new infection that’s introduced threatens the whole project.

    With resistance every new infection has limited impact and fizzles out.

    As has been discussed in this thread and best encapsulated in comments 167 and 168, a high rate of immunity among the generally healthy is beneficial for everyone and the quicker it’s done the less overall risk to the vulnerable population too.

    There IS however a cost in some suffering among the generally healthy and, unfortunately, some deaths or life changing injuries too among those “healthy” who have bad reactions, but i don’t think there’s a way around that anyway so might as well get it over with in 2 months than 2 years given the massive economic and social costs of the shutdown/lockdown.

    4) finally, having closed borders would really kill tourism so it’s not something that really appeals to me. But that’s moot since the countries who don’t or can’t fight the virus are going to be the ones where the virus burns out first anyway (possibly at the expense of some short term chaos and death: see Iran. I’m also curious what’s happening in North Korea)

    • Agree: res
  194. dfordoom says: • Website
    @res

    For you (dfordoom) in particular, is it better to take measures which will regrettably kill some people by just haphazardly releasing the lockdowns (as you seem to be advocating) rather than doing so with intent and a plan

    I live in Australia where we’re now releasing the lockdowns. We can do that because the Australian government had a plan. There’s nothing haphazard about it. In the US your governments don’t seem to have had any plans at all, so whichever way you now jump you’re going to pay a price. That’s what happens when governments fail to react quickly to a crisis.

    Obviously having a plan is the way to go. Do you believe American governments are capable of devising a coherent plan and then following it? Can they set aside their own political interests (and those of the donors who own them) and act in the national interest? Maybe they can. I certainly hope they can, but I’m not optimistic.

    • Replies: @res
  195. dfordoom says: • Website
    @Reg Cæsar

    Actually, I’m not at war with “millennials”– as insulting a term in its own way as “boomer”– but with the whole generational-labeling thing, which I call astrology.

    I agree. I just couldn’t help myself replying to a particularly inane comment.

    But yes, it makes as much sense as astrology. And generational warfare is a dangerous distraction from the political issues that actually matter.

    There are a lot of snowflakes among younger people but that’s inevitable when you have an education system designed to turn people into snowflakes.

  196. dfordoom says: • Website
    @obwandiyag

    You and all you assholes who think China of all places would unleash a plague on itself in order to get Americans are trolls working for military intelligence at a quarter a response.

    They’re just idiots. They see everything in terms of conspiracy theories which is always the mark of a deranged inferior intelligence. Mostly they’re bitter losers looking for someone to blame.

  197. dfordoom says: • Website
    @PiltdownMan

    I just discovered this article by Alessandra Stanley of the New York Times, in which she reviews Alistair Maclean’s books, which she says she read as a kid who raided her brother’s stash

    I’ve encountered a couple of women online who’ve read MacLean. They were really surprised by how much they enjoyed his books. There doesn’t seem to be anything in his books that actually turns women off so once they get past the idea that he was a writer of Guy Fiction they discover that he was really just a great story-teller.

  198. Anonymous[194] • Disclaimer says:

    1) South Korea still has 1k active cases. They have to be gotten down close to zero as well, otherwise there is the possibility of transmission. In Wuhan, they are testing everyone, not just the symptomatic. That is another possibility as testing becomes cheaper and more available. The arrow of time points to elimination becoming easier through technology and capacity improving over time. Imagine everyone wearing N95 masks in an outbreak, and testing everyone several times for a period of say, 3 weeks. It would be very hard to be a virus and survive that.

    Something that may be fruitful that results out of this is that a virus that makes it through this has been selected to be more stealthy (as symptoms get tested and the contacts get tested and isolated). That may also mean that it is less harmful over time. If that was the case and some sort of cowpox-like immunity was built to virulent CV, that could be worth something. However, one would have to prove this I think for it to form the basis of policy.

    2) I would suggest that in a place like California, masks are advised if you want an elimination trend coupled with a relaxing of other measures.

    3) Does the research even exist as to probabilities of reinfection? It would be good for the herd immunity types to volunteer to be infected and studied, and have reinfection attempts to see when immunity tails off, and how different strains can infect them. I think without that information, it’s not sensible to create policy on assumption.

    And also there is the percentage of compromised health in surviving individuals, which certainly exists to an extent.

    No, I am not an anti-vaxxer. I got my flu shot not so long ago.

    I do think that even if HI was possible, it would take a lot longer than 2 months to get to that point for the reasons I have stated repeatedly. i.e. look at where the daily case rate has stabilised at, look at the projected HIT, the population, and do the math. Note that the HI proponents are the ones who are using low-ball estimates of R0, to get a low-ball estimate of HIT, and assume that the population will start doing risky things en masse. I did the alternate – I increased my estimates 10x to favor the HI proponents and still got a result that favored elimination.

    4) Iran is an interesting one – it will take longer than expected there too, as they are now having a second wave.

    • Replies: @res
  199. @Steve Sailer

    Coronavirus is permanently in the world. So what is your vision of the future with it? There may or may not be a vaccine. If there is one it may not be that effective. Does the world change for coronavirus or does the world adjust to accepting a new disease that kills a small percentage of victims, mainly old people?
    My prediction is that the young, I’m not one of them, will say fuck the oldies.

    • Replies: @dfordoom
  200. @TomSchmidt

    I know they are viral diseases and thus unaffected by antibiotics, but I listed those two as examples of the larger category of infectious diseases. The conquest of infectious diseases overall was revolutionized by both vaccination and antibiotics, hence the mention of the latter is perfectly relevant.

  201. @res

    Thanks. This seems to be the post that most comprehensively responds to Steve’s “show your work” stipulation. Though I have to admit I am puzzled why nearly all the curves casually break through their 0.5 Herd Immunity horizon. Maybe the answer is somewhere in the text, but I couldn’t find it. Indeed, neither could I find any explanation of why they put Herd Immunity at 0.5 rather than the more commonly published figures of 0.6 or 0.7. Since Herd Immunity is supposed to be one minus the reciprocal of R0, and R0 for COVID is usually given as more than 2.0, a higher Herd Immunity horizon would seem to be in order. Maybe because not everyone (e.g., young people) is susceptible, that moves the bar down? But then since most of their curves top out between 0.6 and 0.85, it seems that they don’t really believe their own 0.5 Herd Immunity bar either. Or maybe we are using “Herd Immunity” to mean different things?

    Anyhow, assuming the underlying model is correct, the takeaway seems to be:

    1) If there is no seasonality to COVID, then no lockdown short of a famine-inducing infinite hard lockdown will help. All lockdowns are just delaying the inevitable. Indeed, since lockdowns just compound COVID damage with economic damage, lockdowns are actually counterproductive (except perhaps inasmuch as they flatten the curve to keep hospitals below capacity).

    2) If there is seasonality to COVID, then the smart move is to use the warm months to build Herd Immunity. So again, lockdowns since April are counterproductive (reverse in Southern Hemisphere). The only exception might be the shoot-the-moon, famine-inducing, infinite hard lockdown, presumably predicated on the imminent invention of an effective, low side effect vaccine, the prospects of which seem remote, as other coronaviruses have resisted a cure even after many years.

    The authors don’t quite come out and say it, but their model strongly suggests that the only use for lockdowns are a) curve flattening to preserve hospital capacity, or b) delaying infections during cold months. Since neither of those benefits currently apply in the Northern Hemisphere, all of the Northern lockdowns are counterproductive even leaving aside social and economic wreckage they are creating.

    Just as the The Great Depression caused Keynes to remark,

    “Practical men, who believe themselves to be quite exempt from any intellectual influence, are usually the slaves of some defunct economist.”

    The Great Lockdown implies that

    Political leaders, who believe themselves to be quite exempt from any intellectual influence, are usually the slaves of some defunct virology model.

    Lockdowno delenda est.

    • Replies: @res
  202. Mike Tre says:
    @MBlanc46

    It was at the Thompson Center. About 250 people showed up, plus lots of drive by’s. Mancow was the star guest speaker. Lots of on duty state and city police. No antifa. Minimal freaks. 95% white. Lots of clever signs.

    Pritzker was away at his Wisconsin boat house yesterday. Not sure where Groot was. I’m not sure we’ll go to another one because I’m under no delusions about the real effect of things like this, but it was nice to get out of the house and around people.

  203. @Kratoklastes

    ” … That’s literally too much to ask of 99% of adult humans in the OECD.”

    So … democracy is a bad idea?

    • Thanks: V. K. Ovelund
    • Replies: @dfordoom
  204. @vhrm

    Thanks for bringing this. It took a while, but I plowed through it, and have appended a comment to res‘s comment below.

  205. dfordoom says: • Website
    @Peter from Oz

    My prediction is that the young, I’m not one of them, will say fuck the oldies.

    If that happens then my prediction is that the oldies will say OK then, fuck the young.

    A population at each other’s throats. That’s a wonderfully cheering prospect.

    Of course there’s no possibility at all that people might behave like grownups and see this as a problem we all need to work together to deal with? No, I didn’t think so.

    It’s also worth pointing out, if your scenario of coronavirus being with us permanently comes to pass, that people currently in their 50’s (Gen X) who are at the moment at low risk will in a few years’ time be entering the high risk category. Those people might want to think long and hard about how happy they are about the idea of just accepting coronavirus being with us permanently.

    It might also be worth considering that if we give up this time will we give up the next time a new virus appears? What if the new virus is more deadly? What if the new virus mostly kills young people (as the Spanish Flu did)? Will we decide it’s no big deal if a lot of young people die because they didn’t care when it was older people dying?

  206. dfordoom says: • Website
    @Almost Missouri

    So … democracy is a bad idea?

    Well let’s put it this way – it’s a very very optimistic idea. Voters have never made sensible decisions in the past but maybe next time they will.

  207. res says:
    @Inverness

    We’ve known since January that the vast majority of carriers are non-symptomatic.

    Evidence for “vast majority”? And are you referring to “carriers” as people capable of transmitting the disease or those who actually do so?

    All this will do is convince travellers (and others) that they need not worry past the checkpoints.

    If you have a fever, moreover, you can knock it back with Tylenol for a few hours so you don’t miss your flight.

    Agreed those are both risks. But from my point of view you are more outlining reasons for why elimination is so difficult. With herd immunity the point is to reduce the transmission which reduces Re (effective) which reduces the herd immunity threshold and decreases the chance of overshooting.

    As I said before some points of a herd immunity strategy .
    – Reduce the actual IFR experienced by protecting the vulnerable while working towards HI.
    – Reduce the final infection rate by preventing overshoot through a controlled progression towards HI.
    – Reduce the final infection rate by preferentially infecting high connectivity individuals. See non-homogeneity discussion above.

    Temperature screening for travel and big events should be simple and inexpensive. And should help reduce Re. It is not perfect, but don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good.

    I’m frankly dismayed to be explaining any of this, at this late date. “Stay at home if you’re sick” was from January: “If you’re not showing symptoms, go out and infect as many people as possible.” But I realize that many here believe the virus is a hoax.

    I think everyone here is rather dismayed by now. I am dismayed at how you can’t seem to see how what I am saying goes beyond what we knew in January so keep repeating your script from then.

    Suppose I’m wrong, and the only infectious people are those with fevers, and all of those with fevers are infectious. Aren’t they infecting people in the airline terminals? On the shuttle buses? On the ‘train to the plane’?

    So now we go from “vast majority of carriers are non-symptomatic” to “only infectious people are those with fevers.” Those are very different assertions. Which is it?

    And to repeat. The point of herd immunity is not to completely prevent infection (but thank you for helping to make the case for why elimination is unlikely to work). It is to slow infection down, preferentially achieve immunity for high connectivity individuals, and protect the vulnerable as much as possible during this process.

    • Replies: @Inverness
  208. res says:
    @utu

    OK . So my detailed posts about herd immunity are just a meme.

    How about you step up and outline what approaches you think should be taken between now and the end of the next flu season (say May 2021) and outline what you expect the situation to be then?

    • Replies: @utu
  209. res says:
    @Almost Missouri

    Thanks for your thoughtful response. Link to the paper for convenient reference:
    https://science.sciencemag.org/content/early/2020/05/11/science.abb5793
    The PDF I have is not OCRed so this is better for searching.

    Though I have to admit I am puzzled why nearly all the curves casually break through their 0.5 Herd Immunity horizon. Maybe the answer is somewhere in the text, but I couldn’t find it.

    I’m not finding a good description either (did I miss it?). They should have at least talked about it, but I think the idea of overshoot is fairly well known. Here is a paper talking about it and a figure I hope is helpful.
    How to Minimize the Attack Rate during Multiple Influenza Outbreaks in a Heterogeneous Population
    https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0036573

    Illustration of the concept of optimal control for multiple outbreaks.
    We assume that multiple outbreaks can occur, with the intervention only being feasible during the first outbreak. If the intervention is weak (or absent), the first outbreak will be large enough to deplete the number of susceptible people below a critical threshold level (the herd immunity level below which effective reproduction number <1), such that if the infection is re-introduced, its effective reproductive number would be too low to cause a second outbreak (black and cyan lines). If the intervention is very strong, it is possible that after the first outbreak, the number of susceptible people remaining is large enough to support a second (uncontrolled) outbreak upon re-introduction of the pathogen, leading to an overall number of people infected that might be the same as that reached during just one outbreak (red line). In both the “too much” and “too little” intervention scenarios, the number of susceptible people drops below the critical threshold level, which defines the level of herd immunity. The excess drop is termed ‘overshoot’. The optimal intervention is one that minimizes the overshoot by allowing the susceptible population to drop to the critical threshold level during the first outbreak, such that a second outbreak cannot occur (green line). The solid lines represent the susceptible people and the broken lines represent the infected people.

    Intuitively, think about as HI requiring being recovered from infection. The virus keeps spreading until enough are recovered, but at that point we have the remaining transmissions in the infected and contagious or incubation phases which will end up being included in the final infection total.

    What this means is the amount of overshoot depends on Re when HI is achieved since that dictates the doubling time and the number of new infections “in the queue.”

    The ideal (but probably unachievable) case would be to lock down hard once you know there are enough new infections in the queue to “coast over the finish line” of HI and finish just above.

    The practical optimum is probably something like letting things rip through summer then putting some measures in place to drop Re when HI is close.

    But since we don’t even know what the true HI threshold is and the possibility exists that non-homogeneity means it is lower than we expect, I suspect the thing to do is combine moderate countermeasures to prevent overshoot along with an attempt to intentionally infect the least vulnerable and most highly connected to minimize the final HI threshold, final IFR, and overall fatality rate.

    Back to you.

    Indeed, neither could I find any explanation of why they put Herd Immunity at 0.5 rather than the more commonly published figures of 0.6 or 0.7. Since Herd Immunity is supposed to be one minus the reciprocal of R0, and R0 for COVID is usually given as more than 2.0, a higher Herd Immunity horizon would seem to be in order.

    Agreed. I did not notice that. And the caption explicitly says: “herd immunity threshold (horizontal black bar)”
    In figures 4 and 5 they assume an R0 (wintertime for fig 5) of 2.2 which would imply HI at 54.5%. If you look at figures S12 and S13 (the same as figures 4 and 5 except for using an R0 of 2.6 giving HI at 61.5%) they have the same mistake (HI at 50%). Thank you for pointing out that mistake.

    1) If there is no seasonality to COVID, then no lockdown short of a famine-inducing infinite hard lockdown will help. All lockdowns are just delaying the inevitable. Indeed, since lockdowns just compound COVID damage with economic damage, lockdowns are actually counterproductive (except perhaps inasmuch as they flatten the curve to keep hospitals below capacity).

    2) If there is seasonality to COVID, then the smart move is to use the warm months to build Herd Immunity. So again, lockdowns since April are counterproductive (reverse in Southern Hemisphere). The only exception might be the shoot-the-moon, famine-inducing, infinite hard lockdown, presumably predicated on the imminent invention of an effective, low side effect vaccine, the prospects of which seem remote, as other coronaviruses have resisted a cure even after many years.

    I roughly agree with that, but there are some important subtleties. The primary being that limited lockdowns may help by reducing overshoot. Non-homogeneity is another, but is not covered in this paper.

    The authors don’t quite come out and say it, but their model strongly suggests that the only use for lockdowns are a) curve flattening to preserve hospital capacity, or b) delaying infections during cold months. Since neither of those benefits currently apply in the Northern Hemisphere, all of the Northern lockdowns are counterproductive even leaving aside social and economic wreckage they are creating.

    I would add c) delaying infections until we have a vaccine or more effective treatment. But those are both high uncertainty.

  210. res says:
    @dfordoom

    Can you describe their plan or point me to a reference? What is expected to happen between now and the end of your upcoming flu season? The opposite seasons is an important difference between Australia and the US.

    As far as the American government, I share your pessimism.

  211. res says:
    @Anonymous

    3) Does the research even exist as to probabilities of reinfection? It would be good for the herd immunity types to volunteer to be infected and studied, and have reinfection attempts to see when immunity tails off, and how different strains can infect them.

    As far as your rhetorical gambit, I would be happy to do that. Would you? Especially if I got a get out of jail free card from the lockdowns at the end of the process.

    But rhetoric aside, your first sentence is one of the key questions here. The only information I have seen on reinfection is recent articles about the USS Roosevelt:
    https://www.npr.org/sections/coronavirus-live-updates/2020/05/16/857379338/5-uss-roosevelt-sailors-test-positive-for-covid-19-again

    I think this highlights the probabilistic nature of all of this. Which is part of what makes elimination so hard. There are so few absolutes that enforcing absolute eradication is difficult if not impossible. And once an epidemic gets going in a naive population we are back to the beginning.

    I do think that even if HI was possible, it would take a lot longer than 2 months to get to that point for the reasons I have stated repeatedly

    You act like that is a kill shot. Which means you don’t even understand what I am advocating. Achieving HI means relaxing the lockdowns. So it might take more than two months, but during those months things are moving back towards normal.

    Elimination is what requires interminable lockdown.

    Well conceived and executed HI would ideally be done before the next flu season while still allowing a relatively gentle approach to minimize overshoot. And that desire is why it is important to start sooner rather than later.

    Note that the HI proponents are the ones who are using low-ball estimates of R0, to get a low-ball estimate of HIT, and assume that the population will start doing risky things en masse. I did the alternate – I increased my estimates 10x to favor the HI proponents and still got a result that favored elimination.

    First, include references. Second, which estimates did you increase 10x? Because you certainly did not increase R0 10x. Third, what low ball estimates of R0?

    Please try to engage with the arguments being presented in better faith. And do you have any thoughts on how non-homogeneity might influence the HI threshold? That is an important point to consider.

    • Replies: @vhrm
    , @Anonymous
  212. vhrm says:
    @res

    (i think @Anon’s comment 202 was responding to my comment 197 which makes its structure/ numbering make sense.

    and the “10x” goes way back to comment 126
    (https://www.unz.com/isteve/how-exactly-is-herd-immunity-supposed-to-work/#comment-3898758) and applied to infection rate vs confirmed infection rate.

    I’m in agreement with your analysis in the thread and generally also in this message, but just wanted to point out that i don’t think he’s being tendentious there and just replied-thread vs replied-message)

    Sad to see this thread go; it’s been illuminating, imo. If only somehow the discussion on the news or by politicians would instill the understanding of this model into the populace and use it as their baseline for considering alternative proposals, framing new numbers, etc.

    • Replies: @res
  213. Inverness says:
    @res

    So now we go from “vast majority of carriers are non-symptomatic” to “only infectious people are those with fevers.” Those are very different assertions. Which is it?

    Do you know what the phrase “suppose I’m wrong” means? It preceded one of those assertions. You are either very dim, or a troll, or both. Either way, not wasting more time on you.

    • LOL: res
    • Replies: @res
    , @res
  214. res says:
    @Inverness

    My point was that your “suppose I am wrong” seemed to only be presenting two extremes ( a false dichotomy). The “very different” referred to those extremes being very far apart with the truth likely being somewhere in the middle.

    For a simple example say you said “I think the percentage is about 0%” followed by “suppose I am wrong and the percentage is 100%.” See how that excludes the intermediate percentages? This particular example involves “the percentage of carriers who are non-symptomatic.” Which is an important question with the false dichotomy not being helpful. 5% is very different from 50% which is very different from 95%.

    I apologize for assuming you were better at reading comprehension than seems to be the case. I will try not to make that mistake in the future. If it helps, here is a description of the false dichotomy fallacy.
    http://www.philosophy-index.com/logic/fallacies/false-dilemma.php

    As for the rest, I think my comment history speaks for itself. Does yours?

  215. res says:
    @vhrm

    Thanks. That seems like a reasonable interpretation. I went back to comment 126 and looked more closely. It seems to me some of the assertions are bizarre. In particular.

    – The idea that elimination can be achieved with Vermont-like approaches.
    That might work during the summer, but I doubt it will going into Oct, Nov, and Dec as asserted. And here is the Vermont IHME page:
    https://covid19.healthdata.org/united-states-of-america/vermont
    Notice the prediction for the number of infections. Does that look like elimination to you?

    – The assumption that it is not possible to intentionally infect people to decrease the time to herd immunity.

    – The apparent assumption that the lockdowns for HI would need to be as or more severe than the lockdowns needed for elimination.

    There is a reason I keep talking about focusing on assumptions. I just wish someone would engage with that idea.

    • Agree: vhrm
    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    , @Anonymous
  216. res says:
    @Inverness

    BTW, I just reread both of our comments. You ignore the meat of my comment and then call out one trivial issue where you are in fact wrong and then call me dim?! LOL!!!!!

  217. utu says:
    @res

    “…my detailed posts about herd immunity…” – Do not ask me to read them. Skip the UR, send them directly to the White House. Aren’t you taking yourself too seriously?

    • Replies: @res
  218. @res

    So how many people have to die per week for how many weeks to reach herd immunity in the U.S. And what if not enough people volunteer to take the risk?

    So far, the official CV death toll in New York City is about 22,500. New York City has about 1/40th of the U.S. population. The final result of the state’s antibody test in later April was 19.9% residents of NYC had been infected. So say the antibody rate is now up to 30%, which would put NYC about halfway to the figure most often cited for herd immunity: 60%.

    So, multiply total deaths in NYC by 2 for 45,000 deaths being needed for herd immunity, and then times 40 for the whole U.S., which would be 1.8 million deaths.

    Perhaps we’ve learned enough from NYC’s death toll to figure out how to cut the Infection Fatality Rate in half (which seems optimistic). So that would be only 900,000 deaths. On the other hand, things could get more out of control than in NYC and lead to an even higher death rate in places where the hospitals get overwhelmed. It’s kind of hard to know for sure without trying your experiment.

    And maybe we could Protect the Vulnerable better, although Sweden hasn’t done that very well.

    So, in the optimistic scenario in which the IFR nationally is only half what it was in NYC, we’d need 100,000 deaths per week for 8 more weeks to get to Herd Immunity (assuming we’ve had approaching 100k deaths so far). In the super optimistic scenario where the hospitals save twice as many as in NYC and we Protect the Vulnerable twice as well, we’d only need 8 weeks at 50,000 deaths per week. On the other hand, if the national IFR is the same as NYC, we’d need 17 weeks of 100,000 deaths per week.

    So, here’s a big question: will enough people want to be out and about catching CV by accident when 100,000 Americans are dying from it per week? 100k is almost five 9/11s per day. Do Americans have what it takes to step up and die in those numbers each week to hurry up and get to Herd Immunity and keep on dying at a rate of 100k per week for 8 to 17 weeks?

    Or would too many of them wimp out and take steps to protect themselves?

    So far, the worst week nationally was roughly the third week of April at about 15,000 deaths. The most recent week has been down to abouty 8500 deaths.

    So, it doesn’t appear that Americans have the intestinal fortitude to get to Herd Immunity quickly. Which would mean that getting to Herd immunity could drag out for a year or even two. Which just happens to be the expected length of the coronavirus antibody, so we might start all over again with a new smoldering pandemic round two in a year or two. And so on and so forth.

    • Replies: @res
    , @dfordoom
  219. res says:
    @Steve Sailer

    So how many people have to die per week for how many weeks to reach herd immunity in the U.S.

    This is why I keep talking about assumptions. My belief is that we are reaching herd immunity one way or another. I see roughly four options.

    1. A vaccine.
    2. A controlled effort to get to HI.
    3. An uncontrolled run to HI. Either intentional or not. Say if a second wave spins out of control during the next flu season.
    4. Interminable lockdowns (perhaps intermittent) which eventually end up at HI anyway. In a sense this is a subset of 2, but matches what I think our politicians are planning now (and your scenario quoted below) well enough that I think it deserves its own category.

    Do you disagree with this? If so, please elaborate. Then we can talk about the respective deaths and hardship resulting from the different scenarios.

    Other important assumptions include:

    – How possible is it to protect the vulnerable? For example, how much of the fatality count in NY and PA was caused by the boneheaded decision to send COVID-19 cases into nursing homes?

    – What percentage of recovered COVID-19 cases can be reinfected and in what timeframe?

    – What is the effect of seasonality on COVID-19? Both in terms of Re (effective) and fatality rate. Are summer cases milder?

    – What will the true HI threshold end up being? And can we decrease that by preferentially infecting high connectivity low risk individuals?

    – How much of an issue is overshooting HI? Minimizing overshoot would be one benefit of a slow approach to HI.

    So, it doesn’t appear that Americans have the intestinal fortitude to get to Herd Immunity quickly. Which would mean that getting to Herd immunity could drag out for a year or even two. Which just happens to be the expected length of the coronavirus antibody, so we might start all over again with a new smoldering pandemic round two in a year or two. And so on and so forth.

    That is basically my fear. Compounded by concern that seasonality is a factor and we are squandering the seasons when we should have the most flexibility to release the lockdowns and/or try to achieve HI. I take your scenario to mean that we not only get to roughly the same number of deaths anyway, we also have the fallout from those interminable lockdowns while getting there.

    P.S. I am not sure planning based on the experience of NY which so botched its response and is such a special case compared to the US at large (in particular: density, degree of international connectivity, and its subway) is a good idea. But since it seems to be the best data we have I think you are right to do so. The question is how much to adjust their numbers. And let’s be a little more explicit about those IFRs. If I understand you correctly a decent estimate for the NYC IFR would be
    22,500 / (8.4e6 * 20%) = 1.3%
    With that number at this point (based on the other data out there) I would say your optimistic scenario (1.3% / 2) = 0.65% is fairly realistic.

    P.P.S. One of the things which most frustrates me is people advocating elimination who seem to think this is almost won and over. IMHO we are at the end of the beginning and this flu season will be the real test.

  220. res says:
    @utu

    Do not ask me to read them.

    Yet you feel free to criticize things you aren’t even making an effort to understand. That says a great deal about you.

    Aren’t you taking yourself too seriously?

    Probably ; ) But if I am right what I am saying is important.

  221. qwop says:
    @Glaivester

    Yes, you are very much correct. The “naught” in R0, is to indicate that this quantity is to a first approximation constant, whereas Re = R0 * (fraction susceptible) changes with time as the fraction of susceptible hosts decreases.

  222. dfordoom says: • Website
    @Steve Sailer

    Do Americans have what it takes to step up and die in those numbers each week to hurry up and get to Herd Immunity

    I’d be really interested to know how many of the people blithely recommending herd immunity as the way to go are themselves in high-risk categories. In other words, how many of the herd immunity enthusiasts are likely to themselves be among the Americans who are going to be asked to die? And how many of the herd immunity enthusiasts are in low-risk categories which means they feel pretty confident that it will be other people doing the dying for them?

    You could see this as a variation on Who? Whom?

    • Replies: @Anonymous
  223. Anonymous[413] • Disclaimer says:
    @dfordoom

    For others, this site is a good one to learn about what is happening in AU. You’ve probably seen it.

    https://www.covid19data.com.au/

    Victoria still does not have a complete handle on CV, while several other states have really gotten on top of it and are easing restrictions. The Victorian premier has been pushing back against the National Cabinet (basically prime minister + each state premier and chief ministers) view on what should be done, because they haven’t got their infections under control to the same extent.

    The PM doesn’t seem to understand the concept of how a virus works in relation to a naive population (if 1 case, it spreads exponentially, if 0 cases, it doesn’t). However, there is now the amount of testing needed, so maybe Australia can still eliminate while gradually opening up. Otherwise we are going to be back where we started several months ago with not a lot to show for it. Nevertheless, it’s more of a plan than what the US seems to have.

    Australia seems to be quite resistant to using masks and testing temperatures as a way of finding CV cases. Not sure why. People in general don’t seem to understand that something partially helpful is still better than doing nothing in this case. Of course, those countries that are testing temperatures had to deal with SARS1, where temperature was a more effective indicator.

    • Replies: @dfordoom
  224. Anonymous[413] • Disclaimer says:
    @res

    That’s a good site. Maybe you confuse the graph for “testing” in dark blue (which is increasing over time) vs the “estimated infections” which is dark brown. Or maybe you are looking at mobility, which is not estimated infections.

    Estimated infections is trending to zero, which would be elimination. This is what is seen in multiple Australian states, NZ, Taiwan, Viet Nam. And some US states as well. It’s just the result of effective measures in place to lower transmission, and it is replicable.

    I wouldn’t get overly hung up on seasonality as something that will make or break CV infectiousness. Australia has a tiny fraction of flu symptoms that it normally has now, heading into the season. And places like Singapore don’t have a winter or flu season to my knowledge, and it’s very prevalent there.

    Sure, it’s possible to have COVID parties and the like. But I think the onus is on you to show why it’s going to be a popular thing to do. Even in Sweden people are avoiding contracting the virus for the most part. I don’t think it will catch on unless there are reliable treatments to really lower the IFR, and immunity is shown to be of lasting value. My conclusion is drawn based on what I am seeing around the world based on my research. You say no one is engaging with you on assumptions. I think I have been doing exactly that. And where people in various countries try to relax measures and it results in an exponential increase in cases and deaths, they recoil from it like a hot stove and get cautious. So there is something of a negative feedback mechanism to lower R and extend the economy damaging effects if elimination is not aimed for specifically.

    I don’t think I made the point that lockdowns for HI are as or more severe than that for elimination. But the time is much lengthier. We are a few months in and very close or at elimination in a number of places. And in some smarter places like Taiwan, it was not at a huge cost to the economy there because they worked smarter rather than harder. Instead of acting like babies wrt “mouth diapers” aka face masks, they just got on and did it. Instead of acting like getting your temperature is tantamount to warrantless search, they rolled it out over the country.

    And here is a European country showing that masks do not need to be just an Asian thing.

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/mar/30/czechs-get-to-work-making-masks-after-government-decree-coronavirus

    I note that you have a belief that HI is reached one way or another. I think it makes sense to allow for the possibility that the longer this goes on, more and more countries will bite the bullet to eliminate, successfully do so, and return to normal life with restaurants, nightclubs and the like but with strong border restrictions. The countries still in a curve-flattened limbo between “let ‘er rip” (but each citizen may say, that’s a great idea… you first buddy) and elimination have a look around at what’s happening elsewhere in the world and say, well, why don’t we just get this thing over with. With widespread testing you are half the way there anyway, and it gets cheaper and cheaper to do everything else as production ramps up.

    • Replies: @res
  225. Anonymous[413] • Disclaimer says:
    @res

    As far as your rhetorical gambit, I would be happy to do that. Would you? Especially if I got a get out of jail free card from the lockdowns at the end of the process.

    No. I have children. For the same reason I don’t ride motorbikes or skydive for a hobby, voluntarily contracting CV is not something I am happy to do. I also genuinely believe that elimination is the better strategy.

    I think this highlights the probabilistic nature of all of this. Which is part of what makes elimination so hard. There are so few absolutes that enforcing absolute eradication is difficult if not impossible. And once an epidemic gets going in a naive population we are back to the beginning.

    That data point indicates that it’s possible to be reinfected, but they don’t have any numbers on it. If anything it is a point against HI strategy.

    Key to understanding elimination is the idea that reproduction number is not fixed and while seasonality may play a role, it is not a dominating factor. For example, climate in NZ is generally colder than AU and if there is a flu season they should be in it already. With encouraged and available testing (in more and more of the globe), infections show up. Symptomatic cases are common, so you don’t need to get too many cases to find a cluster. When there is a long period without clusters showing up, it’s reasonable to assume that it is eliminated locally. And then measures can be specific to small areas where clusters remain.

    For an infection to get going in a country that has eliminated, it has to come from external sources otherwise it has not been eliminated. Then it’s a problem of border control, which is achievable. (And here the left is an ally in this, because they seem to actually want to eliminate. So you push them on the border control as a necessary part of elimination.) In cases like North America, it may have to come as a North American approach unless great border security with Mexico and/or Canada is possible. Which may also be possible.

    And as far as an internal source, you’ve either eliminated or you haven’t. Elimination does require attempting to keep R down past the last case, but eventually they peter out as you find them all. As I have said earlier, any remaining clusters can be pinpointed to local areas, and then they can be focused on.

    I also don’t think you are back to the beginning, as you put it. A population that is trained to reduce R, and has all the tools in place (like testing, maybe masks, etc.) is not “back to the beginning”. It is already effectively a veteran at elimination technique. And it won’t need to be done all over, just in an area with a remaining cluster.

    You act like that is a kill shot. Which means you don’t even understand what I am advocating. Achieving HI means relaxing the lockdowns. So it might take more than two months, but during those months things are moving back towards normal.

    I think I do understand – you are for relaxing all measures, while thinking that a majority of citizens are going to be doing risky things for catching CV. And that the government will stay the course as people die and the public clamors to do something. I think that’s unrealistic. It’s certainly not what we’ve seen in any first world country, or in most developing countries for that matter.

    Elimination is what requires interminable lockdown.

    No. It requires transmission reduction measures. Masks are an underutilized method to allow societal functioning while this goes on. But it’s finite, in the scheme of things not an overly long process, but what is almost interminable is the border security requirement. To me that’s more feature than bug, but who am I to expect to find compatriots for border security on Unz.com, let along iSteve!

    First, include references. Second, which estimates did you increase 10x? Because you certainly did not increase R0 10x. Third, what low ball estimates of R0?

    There have been several referrals on this blog to a 20% number, probably not by you. Well actually, you use one on comment 168, and I guess you have your reasons and the referenced paper is attached. A multiplier based on death numbers is a way to check that, and it seems the 17% they come up with is high. Using current deaths and a 0.3% IFR (to be more generous) they would be about 12% infected now. If using 1% IFR then it’s 3.7%. The plateauing is in my view likely due to encouraged measures from Sweden plus cautiousness of citizens and the testing that is going on even at lower levels than outside Sweden.

    I think my point stands though, at the number of cases they are seeing, it’s going to be quite a while before they are through this.

    As for what I increased estimates of 10x, that I have done that for the daily number of cases (saying that there are 10x the number of cases compared to detected, this lowers the time until HI is reached, which is generous to my opponents). I have also allowed that the number of infections to date is 10x higher than detected, which also hastens the time to HI. i.e. I allow that we are further advanced and also that we get there faster than has been detected. Despite that generosity it’s still a matter of years unless a lot of people agree to voluntarily be infected.

    As far as HIT is concerned, I base it off the classical equation that uses R0 as you have also put forward. Numbers in the 2-3 range have been used for R0, though the CDC have revised that to 5.7.

    https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/eid/article/26/7/20-0282_article

    None of the HI proponents use that number that I have seen in order to calculate HIT. They certainly could if they wanted to buttress their case by presenting an argument in which HI strategy is still effective operating under that condition, with math.

    • Replies: @dfordoom
    , @res
  226. dfordoom says: • Website
    @Anonymous

    Australia seems to be quite resistant to using masks and testing temperatures as a way of finding CV cases. Not sure why. People in general don’t seem to understand that something partially helpful is still better than doing nothing in this case.

    It is odd. I think masks are a good idea because if you want to get the economy moving again they’re likely to make people feel more confident about going back to work and more confident about going back to doing things that will revive the economy (like tourism).

    It’s possible that it’s good old-fashioned racism. Chinese wear masks therefore masks are bad. There’s been a lot of hysterical anti-Chinese racism in Australia over the past few years and it’s accelerated since the COVID-19 thing. Unfortunately the Australian government is encouraging this racism. We also tend to slavishly copy the US so if the US becomes irrationally anti-Chinese we follow suit.

    There seems little doubt that most of the anti-mask sentiment in both the US and Australia is driven by racism.

    so maybe Australia can still eliminate while gradually opening up. Otherwise we are going to be back where we started several months ago with not a lot to show for it.

    I partially agree but we do know more about the virus now than we did a few months ago. We know more about treatment (we know that ventilators are not a magic cure). We’re in a better position to identify, monitor and deal with any new localised outbreaks. And with luck by the time any new outbreaks occur we’ll know if things like hydroxychloroquine are useful or just quack cures. I assume the long-term plan is to try to localise new outbreaks and stomp on them hard.

    Nevertheless, it’s more of a plan than what the US seems to have.

    Yes.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
  227. dfordoom says: • Website
    @Anonymous

    For the same reason I don’t ride motorbikes or skydive for a hobby, voluntarily contracting CV is not something I am happy to do.

    Yep.

    Judging by what I’m seeing in Australia, where Millennials are much more scared of the virus than Boomers, I suspect that even young healthy people are not going to be keen on the idea that they should allow themselves to be infected for the greater good. Especially when it’s a virus that is still not completely understood, when the long-term effects of infection are slightly uncertain and even more especially when there’s real doubt as to how long-lasting and how complete the resulting immunity is going to be.

    Strangely enough most people aren’t too keen on playing Russian roulette. And when there are no personal benefits, merely vague abstract very uncertain social benefits, they’re (quite rightly) even less keen. “We want you to get sick with this new virus and you probably won’t die but you might, but if you do die you’ll be dying for the good of the country” is not a concept that you’ll find easy to sell. I sure as hell wouldn’t buy it.

    I think I do understand – you are for relaxing all measures, while thinking that a majority of citizens are going to be doing risky things for catching CV. And that the government will stay the course as people die and the public clamors to do something. I think that’s unrealistic.

    Very unrealistic. Politicians are incredibly averse to taking political risks.

    I also genuinely believe that elimination is the better strategy.

    On the whole I agree. Elimination seems to offer the better long-term chances of actually getting the economy back to normal.

  228. Anonymous[413] • Disclaimer says:
    @dfordoom

    It’s possible that it’s good old-fashioned racism. Chinese wear masks therefore masks are bad. There’s been a lot of hysterical anti-Chinese racism in Australia over the past few years and it’s accelerated since the COVID-19 thing. Unfortunately the Australian government is encouraging this racism. We also tend to slavishly copy the US so if the US becomes irrationally anti-Chinese we follow suit.

    I don’t think racism is really the right word. I hate the word at the best of times, and as someone called racist for things like wanting to maintain a demographic majority of people like myself to retain democratic control of the country when push comes to shove – it’s pretty funny that I am for these supposedly Chinese things and yet most people, including those who would virtue signal their non-racism, are not for masks etc.

    I think it’s a cultural thing. Masks are seen as something foreign, that “We don’t do masks ’round these parts”. Maybe a subtle difference. Cultural shock is a real thing, go be an exchange student in a foreign country and try not to experience culture shock. A hundred years ago there wasn’t the stigma against masks as being an Asian thing, during the time of the 1918 flu. But things change, culture changes, perceptions change.

    What I learned from the exchange student experience was “Borrow what works, leave what doesn’t.” However, a lot of things are kind of hard to explain unless you have a lived experience. I imagine the idea of a rice-growing culture where everyone manages the water movement in a system of rice paddies because if one d***head stuffs it up, you all starve, probably allows for the idea of mask wearing in that, if everyone does it when sick then their mask wearing will prevent you getting sick, so you reciprocate.

    But the European culture is more one of PPE is for yourself, to protect you, not others.

    Strangely enough most people aren’t too keen on playing Russian roulette. And when there are no personal benefits, merely vague abstract very uncertain social benefits, they’re (quite rightly) even less keen. “We want you to get sick with this new virus and you probably won’t die but you might, but if you do die you’ll be dying for the good of the country” is not a concept that you’ll find easy to sell. I sure as hell wouldn’t buy it.

    Yeah, I can just imagine wheezing my last breaths on a hospital bed… “No, on paper this was a very low risk thing for you to contract given your age, but we didn’t count on your asthma and history of hacking up a lung when you had the flu has given you some pre-existing permanent lung damage, and we also discovered some comorbidities you didn’t know you had to do with your internal organs, which all kind of acted together. Sorry about that, old boy. Hope your wife can pay the mortgage and school fees for your family. Cheerio.”

    • Replies: @res
  229. res says:
    @Anonymous

    That’s a good site. Maybe you confuse the graph for “testing” in dark blue (which is increasing over time) vs the “estimated infections” which is dark brown.

    That was it. Thanks.

    I don’t think I made the point that lockdowns for HI are as or more severe than that for elimination. But the time is much lengthier.

    This is a point where we disagree strongly. The lockdowns need to be stronger (your severe) for elimination than HI, but if your strategy works they may be shorter for elimination.

    Please explain why you think lockdowns for HI need to be more severe than for elimination. It may help to consider what Re you consider necessary for an HI strategy versus the Re needed for elimination.

    I note that you have a belief that HI is reached one way or another. I think it makes sense to allow for the possibility that the longer this goes on, more and more countries will bite the bullet to eliminate, successfully do so, and return to normal life with restaurants, nightclubs and the like but with strong border restrictions.

    Either I am right or I am wrong. If I am wrong it is as you say. If I am right the other countries “elimination” will eventually fail. Are those border restrictions going to both last forever and be 100% effective? Remember that the seasonal flu kills tens of thousands of people every single year.

    Please remember that I am not just saying “let ‘er rip.” A key point is to reach herd immunity with minimal overshoot.

  230. res says:
    @Anonymous

    That data point indicates that it’s possible to be reinfected, but they don’t have any numbers on it. If anything it is a point against HI strategy.

    The point (I was explicit about this) is I consider uncertainty a point against elimination. The exact probability would be what matters for an HI strategy. 1% percent of people being able to be reinfected would not matter much. 50% would.

    For an infection to get going in a country that has eliminated, it has to come from external sources otherwise it has not been eliminated. Then it’s a problem of border control, which is achievable.

    Forever? Again, maybe I am wrong, but I would expect this to become something like the seasonal flu where new mutated versions keep coming back around. With the flu there is generally some cross-strain immunity (and the most vulnerable are killed first) so the echoes tend to decrease.

    You act like that is a kill shot. Which means you don’t even understand what I am advocating. Achieving HI means relaxing the lockdowns. So it might take more than two months, but during those months things are moving back towards normal.

    I think I do understand – you are for relaxing all measures, while thinking that a majority of citizens are going to be doing risky things for catching CV. And that the government will stay the course as people die and the public clamors to do something. I think that’s unrealistic. It’s certainly not what we’ve seen in any first world country, or in most developing countries for that matter.

    The very first part of that indicates you don’t understand. I am not for relaxing all measures. And have said that multiple times. What I am for is starting to relax some now. In particular the most stringent. The rest should be adaptive. It is my belief there is much more room for error now than in the fall.

    Your point about individual reaction is well made. Though I think Sweden is showing that people don’t completely lock themselves away anyway.

    Elimination is what requires interminable lockdown.

    No. It requires transmission reduction measures.

    Do you think that is enough to keep Re under 1? Especially given your R0 estimate of 5.7? ; )

    what is almost interminable is the border security requirement. To me that’s more feature than bug, but who am I to expect to find compatriots for border security on Unz.com, let along iSteve!

    Thanks for addressing that. Do you also expect the measures to be 100% effective? Can you envision us being able to do the same with the seasonal flu and its lower R0?

    There have been several referrals on this blog to a 20% number, probably not by you. Well actually, you use one on comment 168, and I guess you have your reasons and the referenced paper is attached.

    You might consider the possibility that if you don’t understand what I was saying there then you don’t understand my position sufficiently well. An important consideration is the idea of non-homogeneity and the possible benefit of preferentially infecting high connectivity individuals.

    Despite that generosity it’s still a matter of years unless a lot of people agree to voluntarily be infected.

    Consider that exponential growth might accomplish that much quicker. Though too quickly is bad because of overshoot.

    As far as HIT is concerned, I base it off the classical equation that uses R0 as you have also put forward. Numbers in the 2-3 range have been used for R0, though the CDC have revised that to 5.7.

    https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/eid/article/26/7/20-0282_article

    None of the HI proponents use that number that I have seen in order to calculate HIT. They certainly could if they wanted to buttress their case by presenting an argument in which HI strategy is still effective operating under that condition, with math.

    Well, it’s easy enough to do the raw calculation ; )
    1 – (1 / 5.7) = 82%. About a third worse than the 60% commonly cited.

    You talked about other people low balling R0. Isn’t that rather a high ball estimate of the R0 we should expect to see everywhere with no controls? Did anywhere else see growth consistent with that before they started lockdowns? Do you think an R0 that high would make elimination easier or harder to maintain?

    The big uncertainty I see is with how much of an effect non-homogeneity has. Have you read and understood my points about that?

  231. res says:
    @Anonymous

    Yeah, I can just imagine wheezing my last breaths on a hospital bed… “No, on paper this was a very low risk thing for you to contract given your age, but we didn’t count on your asthma and history of hacking up a lung when you had the flu has given you some pre-existing permanent lung damage, and we also discovered some comorbidities you didn’t know you had to do with your internal organs, which all kind of acted together. Sorry about that, old boy. Hope your wife can pay the mortgage and school fees for your family. Cheerio.”

    Yes, dying randomly is much more comforting.

    Notice that one of my thoughts is that if we did intentionally infect people (and yes, we should pay attention to comorbidities as well as age) the government should sponsor life insurance. So when the 1 in 1,000 chance does occur there is at least some compensation.

    • Replies: @dfordoom
  232. dfordoom says: • Website
    @res

    Notice that one of my thoughts is that if we did intentionally infect people (and yes, we should pay attention to comorbidities as well as age) the government should sponsor life insurance. So when the 1 in 1,000 chance does occur there is at least some compensation.

    That would be very comforting. “The bad news is that you’re going to die. The good news is that you’ll be rich after you die.”

    • Replies: @res
  233. res says:
    @dfordoom

    Look, I’m not heartless. I get what you are saying. But what happens if someone gets killed while driving to required jury duty? Is that any worse? How about accidents in military training?

    One of the things which is paralyzing decision making is an unwillingness to make decisions which will traceably cause even a single death. While not being all that concerned (in comparison) about 10,000 seemingly random (unattributable to any decision maker) deaths.

    Do you think that is healthy?

    • Agree: vhrm
    • Replies: @dfordoom
    , @dfordoom
  234. dfordoom says: • Website
    @res

    Look, I’m not heartless. I get what you are saying. But what happens if someone gets killed while driving to required jury duty? Is that any worse? How about accidents in military training?

    You’re misunderstanding me. Whether it’s immoral or not is not the point. The point is that you’re just not going to be able to persuade people to play Russian roulette with a poorly understood disease when there is zero personal benefit to them.

    How many people actually volunteer for military duty? A small minority. And they see major personal benefits to themselves – good pay, pensions, medical care, outstanding ancillary benefits, status, the chance to play with guns and the chance to visit foreign countries and kill people. These are things that appeal enormously to some people. But even with all those direct personal benefits most people don’t volunteer for military service. In the case of volunteering to risk death or possible serious long-term health consequences from allowing themselves to become infected with COVID-19 you’re only going to get a very small number of people dumb enough to volunteer. You won’t get enough people to achieve herd immunity.

    People are just not that stupid. And they’re not that selfless.

    As for jury duty, nobody volunteers for it. They have to be compelled to do it. And people go to great lengths to get exempted from it.

    Even in Sweden it appears that they have little chance of achieving herd immunity because most people are taking precautions to avoid being infected. Because people aren’t stupid and they aren’t self-sacrificing. If you want herd immunity you would have to compel people to take the risk of being infected. You’d have to outlaw social distancing and outlaw masks. Otherwise you won’t get the numbers.

    And in the case of herd immunity there’s no good evidence that such a thing is possible,
    there’s no good evidence that immunity is long-term and there’s no good evidence that immunity is total. So your chances of persuading people to volunteer are even slimmer.

  235. dfordoom says: • Website
    @res

    One of the things which is paralyzing decision making is an unwillingness to make decisions which will traceably cause even a single death. While not being all that concerned (in comparison) about 10,000 seemingly random (unattributable to any decision maker) deaths.

    There are two things that are paralysing decision making. Firstly, the fact that there is insufficient evidence that herd immunity is even achievable. No sane politician wants to take the risk of pursing such a dubious policy. Secondly, politicians know that if they make decisions that the public will perceive as being directly responsible for killing people they can kiss their political careers goodbye.

    Do you think that is healthy?

    I think it’s healthy that governments are reluctant to gamble with people’s lives when the extent of the gamble is entirely unpredictable and the benefits are dubious. That’s why sane governments aimed for elimination. The British government initially aimed for herd immunity but then Boris Johnson had a vision – he saw himself being described in the history books as the man responsible for killing more Britons than any prime minister in history. So he abandoned herd immunity.

    I think it’s healthy that reckless decision making is paralysed.

  236. @CJ

    Yeah, Oscar knew that “experimental music” meant playing to a very small house.

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