Misinformation about Herd Immunity

There is a lot of misinformation and a lot of intentional disinformation about Herd Immunity. Sweden is conducting a national experiment in Herd Immunity. The Idea is that if enough people catch Covid-19 early, it will prevent a second wave. Sweden has had 5 times the per capital deaths of Denmark and 10 times the rate of Norway and Finland. Yesterday Sweden quietly changed directions allowing local lock-downs. The jury is still out on this approach. If Wisconsin had the same per capital deaths of Sweden 1900 more would have lost their lives. That means 1900 more times an ICU nurse would have zipped a body bag and informed families that their loved ones died. The infection rate is going up, but as medical communities develop better treatment, the death rate is declining. There are medications being tested that may be available in several months. We will not know the long term effects of Covid-19 for those with mild cases, but there appears to be lung, heart, and kidney damage in some patients. What is more troubling is there is a lot of disinformation being put out by Russian Trolls aimed at polarizing our great nation, and folks on the far right and left re-posting this disinformation. Please research your sources and do not support the efforts of the Russian Cyber Warfare division of the Russian Military.

Three Epidemiologist put out the “Great Barrington Declaration”. They are advocating in letting Covid-19 run its course in younger patients to achieve herd immunity. There are several issues with this. This herd immunity approach has been call a fallacy by a group of 80 researchers according Contagion Live publications. Some are claiming that herd immunity could be achieved with just 20% of the population being infected. Herd immunity for a virus with a reproduction rate of over 3 is more likely 70%. Since the long term effects of this virus on heart, lung and kidneys is not know, wearing masks avoiding indoor spaces with non-family members, until a vaccine is available seems prudent. Getting herd immunity where up to half of those with the virus have long term organ damage, goes beyond stupid. Too much is still unknown to advocate for this course of action.

Taiwan and New Zealand still remain the gold standard for controlling Covid-19. Taiwan has a weekly allocation of N-95 or 3-layer surgical masks. Taiwan has had less that 10 deaths in 7 months. In New Zealand President Jacinda Ardern won by a landslide in the October 18 election. Her motto for coronal virus of “Go Hard and Go Early” has controlled outbreaks with a hard early lock-down. New Zealand had gone for over 100 days without infections, before they had a new cluster outbreak, which they controlled. The most frustrating aspect of this virus is that we are seeing rural areas of Wisconsin and the Dakotas, which avoided the virus, now leading the country in outbreaks. These are areas where the president has great followings, and had plenty of time to put robust prevention protocols in place. However, they ignored the advise of the medical community as the president ridiculed many of the precautions that countries like Taiwan took. We know how to control this virus, just do it.

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