Herd Immunity

GAgymmom

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Ivies have a meeting at 5pm today with their sthletes and sources claim, they will be cancelling all fall sports.
This is so unnecessary. People do it understand Herd Immunity Theeshhold and weakening of a virus as it makes its way through a population. It’s time for these officials to stop listening to talking heads and to get real information from epidemiologists (not the ones on TV, but real doctors who are actively studying virology and seeing/treating patients). Continuing to suspend life in order to avoid being sick is ridiculous, and honestly we cannot continue in this way. Everyone compares us to other countries, but it they actually listened to the people from other counties they would see that the ones who have gotten past all this actually never shut anything down, expected a certain percentage of deaths, and continued in with life. They reached HIT very early BECAUSE they didn’t sequester everyone. The USA needs to let people live normal lives .
 
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Jazzjerz

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Everyone compares us to other countries, but it they actually listened to the people from other counties they would see that the ones who have gotten past all this actually never shut anything down, expected a certain percentage of deaths, and continued in with life. They reached HIT very early BECAUSE they didn’t sequester everyone. The USA needs to let people live normal lives .
Which countries in particular are you talking about here? I’d like to research a little.
 

lilmisssunshine

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I'm also interested in where you're hearing this. Everything I've read recently suggests that you either don't get immunity from having it or that the immunity might last only a short time. My friend's neighbor had it early on (They're in NYC.). Recovered and tested negative for several weeks. Then got it again. (And to be clear, I'm talking about actual test results, not just someone being pretty sure they have it based on symptoms.)
 

KipWinger

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Everyone compares us to other countries, but it they actually listened to the people from other counties they would see that the ones who have gotten past all this actually never shut anything down, expected a certain percentage of deaths, and continued in with life. They reached HIT very early BECAUSE they didn’t sequester everyone.
I think this represents a misunderstanding of the concept of herd immunity and the impact of COVID-related illness. For a population to achieve herd immunity, approximately 60%-70% of the population would need to have been infected, and no population has even come close to this. Plus, the virus is so new that, to lilmisssunshine's point, we have no idea how long immunity following exposure will last.

For argument's sake, let's say that we do rely on herd immunity (without a vaccine) and wait for 60% of the population to become infected. That means in the US, approximately 200 million will need to be infected for the protective effects of herd immunity to be realized. And with a mortality rate of around 1%, that means 2 million Americans will need to die so that everyone else can lead "normal lives." Is that worth it?
 

Carabistouille

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I live in France, where numbers are relatively low right now and we did have a 2,5 months long lockdown, which was very strictly followed. Some restrictions are still in place right now.
 

Getoutyall

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I think this represents a misunderstanding of the concept of herd immunity and the impact of COVID-related illness. For a population to achieve herd immunity, approximately 60%-70% of the population would need to have been infected, and no population has even come close to this. Plus, the virus is so new that, to lilmisssunshine's point, we have no idea how long immunity following exposure will last.

For argument's sake, let's say that we do rely on herd immunity (without a vaccine) and wait for 60% of the population to become infected. That means in the US, approximately 200 million will need to be infected for the protective effects of herd immunity to be realized. And with a mortality rate of around 1%, that means 2 million Americans will need to die so that everyone else can lead "normal lives." Is that worth it?
What are we trying to do here if not achieve herd immunity without ever overwhelming our hospitals? There is no guarantee of a vaccine. I’m seriously asking cause I’m starting to get so confused in this whole mess.
 

Aussie_coach

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We have had a lot of success. In my State (which is the 3rd largest State in Australia) and most of the country we have had no community transmitted cases of the virus in just under 2 months. We have 3 active cases in the State, all got it overseas and were quarantined as soon as they returned to the country, and in total since the start of the pandemic we have had only 6 deaths.

The whole of Australia has only had 105 deaths in total since the start.

We did not go the herd immunity way, we went with suppression. We locked down tightly.

The Australian borders closed in early March. And it hasnt reopened. We are told it won’t reopen this year.

Our State border closed in March, and only opened 2 days ago after two months of no deaths and no community transmitted cases.

One City in Australia is still getting cases (Melbourne, no where near us). They started to get 70 cases a day and as a result they have gone into lockdown for at least 6 weeks and every other State in Australia closed their border to anyone from Melbourne. To enter our state you have to provide things like receipts and date stamped photos to prove you haven’t been anywhere near there in two weeks.
 

JessSyd

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There have been some very interesting studies on population immunity levels released recently. One, a wide scale study from Spain, shows that even though they were absolutely slammed by Coronavirus, the overall level of immunity in the community is still quite low. Encouragingly, it showed that most (not all) people who were known to have had confirmed cases of coronavirus showed an immune response, so that is good news.

Studies in Sweden show similar - they have lost lots of people and their economy has suffered almost as much as everyone else’s but they are nowhere near herd immunity.

Studies from New York, on the other hand, show that there are some suburbs (like Corona, which I guess is apt) where the number of infections might already be reaching a herd immunity threshold. This is, of course, if our assumptions about immunity are correct (eg, that antibodies will confer immunity and that immunity will last a useful amount of time.)

Looking at the news, I would not be surprised if some parts of the USA are the first in the world to achieve it. There are states now where one in four test results are coming back positive. If nothing changes, then herd immunity will be the result. But if that is the goal, then as a previous poster said, you cannot have it happen too quickly - you still need to control the spread somewhat.

Some countries, because of their health system or their welfare system, cannot enact the public health measures necessary to sufficiently lower the curve. In India, for example, in some areas hospitals are so overwhelmed that people are now dying in the streets. And not just of Covid. Of things nobody should die of, like routine pregnancy complications.
So EVEN IF herd immunity is your goal and preventable deaths are considered acceptable collateral damage, there is still a dance to be done to reduce the number of preventable deaths as much as possible.
 

Geoffrey Taucer

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Two things about Herd Immunity:

1) Achieving herd immunity without a vaccine means roughly 80% of people would have to catch it and become immune. In the US, covid-19 has thus far had a mortality rate of around 5%.
What this means is that when you say "let's hurry up and achieve herd immunity," what you're really saying is "let's hurry up and sacrifice the lives of 13 million Americans."

2) Herd immunity depends on antibodies persisting in those who have contracted the disease; if those antibodies do not persist, then herd immunity may never be possible. And indeed, this may be the case with covid-19: https://www.businessinsider.com/coronavirus-antibodies-study-herd-immunity-unachievable-spain-2020-7

If you want to be able to safely reopen, then stay home when you can, and wear a mask when you go out.
 
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gymgal

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Two things about Herd Immunity:

1) Achieving herd immunity without a vaccine means roughly 80% of people would have to catch it and become immune. In the US, covid-19 has thus far had a mortality rate of around 5%.
What this means is that when you say "let's hurry up and achieve herd immunity," what you're really saying is "let's sacrifice the lives of 13 million Americans."

2) Herd immunity depends on antibodies persisting in those who have contracted the disease; if those antibodies do not persist, then herd immunity may never be possible. And indeed, this may be the case with covid-19: https://www.businessinsider.com/coronavirus-antibodies-study-herd-immunity-unachievable-spain-2020-7

If you want to be able to safely reopen, then stay home when you can, and wear a mask when you go out.
1. While the published death rate is just under 5%, this is a gross overestimation of the true number, due to the number of asymptomatic and mildly symptomatic cases that are going undetected, with the true positivity rate as much as 5-10x current numbers. Add to this the fact that the US is counting every death with a "positive" test as a covid death, regardless of whether it had anything to do with the actual decline/ death. stroke patients, car accident victims, cancer patients. We cannot take the current 100,000+ deaths and just assume that all of those individuals would still be alive if Covid was not here. The true percentage is estimated to be 0.2-0.7% (still a significant number, to be sure). We are also learning more about the virus each week which will continue to reduce the mortality rate further and will put us in a position to be better able to protect those who are most vulnerable.

2. The point about antibodies not lasting is most concerning about this virus because it may not bode well for a long term vaccine.
 

Geoffrey Taucer

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1. While the published death rate is just under 5%, this is a gross overestimation of the true number, due to the number of asymptomatic and mildly symptomatic cases that are going undetected, with the true positivity rate as much as 5-10x current numbers. Add to this the fact that the US is counting every death with a "positive" test as a covid death, regardless of whether it had anything to do with the actual decline/ death. stroke patients, car accident victims, cancer patients. We cannot take the current 100,000+ deaths and just assume that all of those individuals would still be alive if Covid was not here. The true percentage is estimated to be 0.2-0.7% (still a significant number, to be sure). We are also learning more about the virus each week which will continue to reduce the mortality rate further and will put us in a position to be better able to protect those who are most vulnerable.
The official death count may also be artificially low. Consider this article from the economist; it's a few months old, but the point holds: https://www.economist.com/graphic-detail/2020/04/16/tracking-covid-19-excess-deaths-across-countries

tl;dr: it's a study comparing overall death rates with years past. And crucially, the count is cause-agnostic -- meaning it makes no difference to the data whether any particular death is counted as a covid death.

What it finds is that there is a gigantic spike in the number of excess deaths -- far higher than official counts -- that timing-wise coincides perfectly with the spread of covid-19.

So we may be under counting survivors, but we're also under counting deaths. It's difficult to assess how much we're under counting the number of survivors, though. But the range of 2% - 5% is fairly consistent with what other countries have found. But even if we lowball it at 1%, we're still looking at a death toll in the neighborhood of 3 million by the time herd immunity kicks in. IF it kicks in.

EDIT: Here's some more up-to-date graphs of excess deaths: https://www.euromomo.eu/graphs-and-maps/

2. The point about antibodies not lasting is most concerning about this virus because it may not bode well for a long term vaccine.
Agreed.

However, a long-term vaccine may not be necessary, IF we can get a sufficiently high percentage of the population to vaccinate all around the same time. If we can get the transmission rate down close to zero for a month or two, that would likely be enough to get the virus within controllable numbers. Subsequent re-vaccinations may be necessary, and whether a vaccine works or not, it's hard to predict how long it will take to develop one that people feel safe with. (This, of course, is complicated by the fact that a sizeable portion of the US population thinks that both masks and vaccines are evil, and they could very well mess it up for us all)
 
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Eleven sol

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The Spanish flu began in the spring as a mild infection that mostly affected the very young and elderly. In the second wave in the fall, it mutated to become more deadly and affected mainly young adults. The lockdown was to try to eradicate the coronavirus before it mutated to become more deadly. It has already mutated several times because we are passing it around.

I hope we are overreacting because the alternative is unthinkable.
 

Getoutyall

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The Spanish flu began in the spring as a mild infection that mostly affected the very young and elderly. In the second wave in the fall, it mutated to become more deadly and affected mainly young adults. The lockdown was to try to eradicate the coronavirus before it mutated to become more deadly. It has already mutated several times because we are passing it around.

I hope we are overreacting because the alternative is unthinkable.
See this is not what I was told at all I was told we were only closing down for the hospitals to get PPE and to make sure the hospitals were not overrun with patients...which we did do so that’s why I’m confused what we’re doing now. What’s the goal here.
 

JessSyd

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You can not just close once and then get back to normal if your goal is to prevent hospital overrun.

You have to look at your ER capacity and keep the number of new daily cases under a certain amount. So either you keep closing down again once numbers creep towards that amount, or you change behaviours so that you don’t have to shut down again.

And we know, from observations all over the world, to keep numbers from growing exponentially (getting larger each day) we need most people practicing good hand hygiene, wearing masks when social distancing is not possible, and most importantly reducing and/or social distancing the typical number of interactions they have.

And you have to remember that people hospitalised for covid can stay hospitalised for weeks. 5% of cases tend to require ICU (another 15% require regular hospital beds). If you are getting 10k new cases a day, 5% of that adds up quickly. Especially when you realise that each day’s new hospitalisations are in addition to the day before’s, not replacing them.

Once beds are full, you risk the chance of people dying of non covid causes because they cannot access treatment.

And this does not even take into account hospital staff getting sick and not being able to attend those beds.

So it is not a matter of buying time once, or shifting the curve once and then being done. It requires ongoing behavioural change until the pandemic is over and many of those changes are not fun, or ones we really want to make. But to prevent hospital overrun, there really is not much choice.
 

Eleven sol

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See this is not what I was told at all I was told we were only closing down for the hospitals to get PPE and to make sure the hospitals were not overrun with patients...which we did do so that’s why I’m confused what we’re doing now. What’s the goal here.
I understand where you are coming from. When we first closed down, I was super annoyed. I thought, “Let’s get it and get it over with.” The hospital capacity is definitely a part of it, but the other part is the unknown factor of how it will mutate and how and if people are immune once they get it. Frankly, I don’t know if I would recommend the article below to anyone because it scared me, but there are striking similarities between what happened 100 years ago and now. Consider if we send the kids back to school and this high contagion virus mutates to become more deadly and affects children more. There’s also a delay in showing symptoms so many could be infected before they even knew what was happening. So this is why people are proceeding so cautiously, IMO.

I hate, hate this lockdown and the restrictions so much but there are reasons attempting herd immunity may not be the best course of action. History tells us we need to approach the whole situation with a lot of caution.
 

GymDadWA

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The roll in sports for the Ivy League is different than in the power five collegiate sports conferences so the Ivy League cancelling/postponing sports and limiting the requirement or the ability for access to athletic facilities makes sense for them versus other schools where athletics (football and basketball) are a major source of income and cancelling sports has major ramifications beyond disappointing the athletes (I feel for them) and fans.

In my non-scientific opinion trying to get herd immune is not possible, we were never able to do that with any other disease (chickenpox, mumps, measles, etc.) over decades of time until we had vaccines available for them. Trying to get herd immune is a reckless proposition versus teaching societal behaviors which mitigate the spread of the virus as other countries have successfully done. With successful mitigation sports can return with athletes able to play without restrictions and stadiums full of fans. See New Zealand rugby as an example: https://www.si.com/extra-mustard/2020/06/15/new-zealand-super-rugby-coronavirus-fans-sellout
 

Aussie_coach

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New Zealand went into major lockdown when they had only a few cases. They have not had a single case diagnosed in their country in almost 2 months. They are an island with very difficult to penetrate borders, that have not been open in months. I don’t see this being possible in the USA no matter what measures are taken.
 

3cats

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It is not true that covid deaths are being counted even if they pass away from a car accident or other non Covid related accidents or illness. A death can be categorized at dying with Covid or bc of it.

Hospital billing can be opaque, and is incredibly nuanced. But over diagnosed covid deaths is not dramatic nor overwhelming, nor occurring at a rate that would skew state or national data in any meaningful way. It is much more likely that deaths are being undercounted. However, that is typical in any large case illness. And scientist will study the true effects of Covid on the population for decades to come.

The country, and much of the world is in a true crisis. And to keep passing on misinformation originally birthed on unscrupulous websites is irresponsible.

I implore the admin here that if we continue to not be allowed to add politics to a discussion, please let us defend actual science and the medical community at the front lines.
 

mommyof1

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it they actually listened to the people from other counties they would see that the ones who have gotten past all this actually never shut anything down, expected a certain percentage of deaths, and continued in with life. They reached HIT very early BECAUSE they didn’t sequester everyone. The USA needs to let people live normal lives .
Where has herd immunity already been achieved?

I believe in the intrinsic value of human beings. No person is worth sacrificing as part of "a certain percentage of deaths" that is just to be accepted without a fight.
 
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