I have been resistant to accepting the “the WHO is now a bought and paid for propaganda arm” hypothesis, but this latest statement is such utter and complete bollocks that I’m struggling to find another explanation. “WHO warns that waiting to achieve herd immunity to the coronavirus will kill a lot of people.” This is disastrously, insanely wrong.
Everything in their statement is false. Let’s start with “herd immunity.” Most scientists do NOT believe that you need 60-80% exposure to reach COV herd immunity. You would need to have no idea what herd immunity means or how it works to possibly believe something that stupid. This is simply bad extrapolation from the base equation: HIT = 1 -(1/R0) where R0 is the basic reproduction number for a disease. So if R0 = 2.5, then you need 60% for herd immunity. 80% would imply R0 = 5 and no one believes that that. So right there, this range is absurd.
But that’s nothing like the real issue. The real issue is that HIT does not mean what people think it does, and that this equation is idealized. It’s based on 2 massive assumptions neither of which are true in the real world so nothing about the output of the equation is relevant. First off, “herd immunity threshold,” used in this sense is not the point where a disease stops spreading well and recedes. It’s the point where a disease literally goes extinct and there will never be another case. It’s for wiping out measles, not ending flu season or SARS1.
To use “complete eradication of the virus” as a benchmark is ridiculous. You do not need that for a pandemic or epidemic to end. You just need to reach the disease breakpoint where it no longer spreads. And that is a fraction of HIT, which itself is a massively overstated number. HIT is overstated because it assumes 2 things:
- 1. that a disease is novel & that there is no pre-existing immunity in the affected population
- 2. that the social graph is homogeneous.
All people are connected to other people in identical ways neither is remotely true for COV pre-existing resistance is widespread and effective. 40-80% of individuals (and pretty much all children) have existing T-cell-mediated resistance. This completely cuts the legs out from under the herd immunity idea. This is like starting with 1/2 – 3/4 of the population immunized, and we’ve seen the effects. Look at the Pacific rim and China-adjacent countries. All have low v deaths. This is the same area with the most previous exposure to SARS and SARS-like viruses.
Note: Many have said things like, “We should have done what Japan did,” or, “Singapore epidemiologists got it right,” but I find this unpersuasive. The whole Pacific Rim had basically no COVID regardless of what they did, so I fear we’re dealing with a post hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy.
Right there, this idea that 60% is the needed level of infections to hit HIT is put to bed. But it gets worse. The social graph in the real world is nothing like homogeneous some people connect to many others or vulnerable others. Some are isolated. This further drops HIT.
Superspreaders get sick early but then become super-resistors, so you get a quick flash up that attenuates as the effective transmission vector is used then rendered ineffective. This has been known for DECADES, and it has been widely discussed. Here is an excellent study based on Swedish data. Herd immunity is reached LONG before the predicted 1-(1/R0) threshold. In Sweden, it looks to have been around 17%, not 60%. This is because the model that generates that immunity threshold has issues.
These people were talking about 17-20% effective HIT (to stop disease spread) in Stockholm back in early May, and they were RIGHT. And that is important. The way one tests a model is to make a forward prediction then see if the data aligns with it. It did and has all over.
What has happened in Sweden IS herd immunity. Contrary to the endless bloviations of the chattering classes and crisis-mongerers, it was done at VERY low cost. Sweden is a massive success story in that regard. It’s the folks like NY that over-reacted that are disasters. All-cause deaths in Sweden are low for this flu season, not high. COVID was not some “rampant plague” there. It acted like a late-season flu that did not even get deaths to baseline levels.
Note: Sweden eschewed lockdown. Some have claimed it is a disaster and the horror of Scandinavia; others that this was wise and that it’s mostly the more-aggressive Swedish counting for COV that has driven result divergence. All-cause deaths can give us insight into which is correct.
This desperately tired, “but hospitals will be overwhelmed” claim turned out to be the worst sort of claptrap, just as it did in the US and the RoW. Imperial and IHME over-guessed hospital need by 100X. None of “flatten the curve” was ever true.
It was bad exponential math fueling half smart models with no predictive ability. The effects were disastrous. Meanwhile, NONE of the non-pharma interventions (NPI) have done anything: not lockdown, not masks, not travel bans. Everyone got the same curve and states in the US with more lockdown had MORE deaths, not fewer.
And no, this was not mostly inverse causality where outbreak severity drove lockdown. Read this.
Absolutely none of this was supposed to work. It was recommended AGAINST including by the WHO. They have (and continue to) go against every piece of longstanding guidance including their own.
Note: One of the fascinating aspects of the response to COVID is the manner in which all past knowledge and standing guidance regarding lockdowns and quarantines got tossed out the window and replaced with new, contradictory doctrine with no scientific backing.
This is a longstanding pandemic canon: the consequence of large scale quarantines are so extreme that this mitigation measure should be eliminated from serious consideration. This is from 2006. Nothing has changed.
Even crisis-Kraken Redfield is waking up to how out-of-control this is. HIT will vary from place to place, but it’s going to be low and reachable. It is the ONLY real option and always was. And everyone knew this for a century; then we choked.
And this leads to the biggest lie in the WHO statement which I have saved for last. It’s the tricky one to spot. On top of the lie that HIT is 60-80% and that NPI’s work is the worst lie of all: that COV is so dangerous that we need to huddle in place or see mountains of dead. They just slip this in as totally baseless assumption. Yet it did not happen in Sweden. And it did not happen in the uncontrolled US northeast. They hit herd immunity. Look at Massachusetts. This is a simple, uniform disease curve like any other disease burn out.
Deaths in the northeast were not high because COVID is so deadly. They were high because the policy was so tragically bad. Forcing COV+ patients into nursing homes was a disaster everywhere it was tried. Italy, Spain, Quebec, etc. take this out and it looks like flu.
And the CFR/IFR numbers being tossed around are non-comparable garbage. Whoever set the “death-by-COV” definition as “death with COV, even if not as primary cause” has A LOT to answer for. No other disease/pathology is counted this way. It’s probably doubling COV numbers.
So the WHO is simply lying on every level here and they MUST know better. this is not medical advice.
- It’s deliberate propaganda.
- It’s WAY past anything that could be an accident.
- It’s proof that absolutely no one should be listening to them.
This is flat out mendacity.
Analysis taken from a very bad cat. You can find this and other statistical analyses here.