0181 – Thinning the Herd

I read some suggestions (can’t remember where, though) that “herd immunity” may be part of the pre-emptive answer in battling COVID-19. Then I came across an opinion article by Dr. Gideon Meyerowitz-Katz in ScienceAlert.com entitled “Here’s Why Herd Immunity Won’t Save Us From the COVID-19 Pandemic” (https://www.sciencealert.com/why-herd-immunity-will-not-sav…).

Herd immunity in a nutshell involves the acquired immunity of a high percentage of a population (especially via vaccination) in order to combat a virus. (derived from the Oxford dictionary meaning).

Meyerowitz-Katz asserts that “Herd immunity without a vaccine is by definition not a preventive measure.”

Based on what he wrote (I’m not an epidemiologist like him so I’m trying to digest it as much as I can), he points out that with or without a vaccine a population infection needs about above 90% for herd immunity. The problem is, with the current situation, where young are more immune than elder members of the population, even at 70% infection without a vaccine would result in disastrous consequences with about .35 to .7% of fatality within the population.

What he says may be debatable but, whether he is right or wrong, there is wisdom in his suggestion that to keep the infection from spreading without a vaccine really boils down to avoiding people who are sick so we should stay at home, stay safe, and practice social distancing as much as possible.

The comic is wrong or right or both, depending on which side of the fence of herd immunity you are on.