Nate Silver may have discovered how herd immunity works

Seriously, the most frustrating thing about the coronavirus panic is this notion that we should try to stop the spread of an illness that has no meaningful impact on the overwhelming majority of the population.

Until 2020, the backbone of epidemiology was the concept of herd immunity. When most of the people in a population have had some encounter with an illness and developed an immune response to it, the population as a whole will be safer. It’s the equivalent of having most of the population already vaccinated. It makes it difficult, if not impossible, for the illness to spread, and vulnerable people are protected.

This year, thanks to a handful of crank academics and Fauci, “science” inexplicably went the opposite direction. Everyone needed to hide in their houses. Don’t shake hands, or even be near other people. Etc. Etc. And as the data shows, the virus did what the virus was going to do anyway, but this time the vulnerable were not protected at all. The countries that have had the most aggressive lockdowns and social distancing mandates have had the worst experience. It would be shocking, if not for the fact that millennia of experience with diseases would predict exactly this. (Just like hundreds of years of experience living in a capitalist society would suggest that prohibiting substantially all financial transactions is a solid way to destroy an economy. Hoocoodanode?) These same people are now bullying governors into banning medications for the treatment of the illness, because they care so much about other human beings.

But the funny thing about herd immunity is you can only deny it for so long.

Most of the statistics these people are trying to push are old, too. In Florida, for example, the “new” deaths they published today go back to the 4th of July. They are trying to bully people into responding to an outbreak that wasn’t significant relative to the massive size of the population (you are talking about a little over 1% of the population that is in long-term care in this state, which honestly, is probably a normal figure for any year, just this year people are paying attention to it) and has been over for months now. And most of these people had major pre-existing conditions, something that goes along with being old, unfortunately. Folks have a hard time managing simple data points, however, so asking for good data on excess deaths is probably asking too much.

I have been arguing since March that most people in the US have probably already had Covid at this point. This is what is ironic about the media hype machine. The more people who have experienced the illness, the safer the vulnerable population is – especially considering this illness does not mutate on the level of, say, the flu. This was the mistake the crank academics were making in their models, too. They were assuming that the illness was very, very contagious, while simultaneously assuming most of the population still had not been exposed. It’s nonsensical. But pointing out that most people have already had the illness is also pointing out that the illness is so minor for most people they can’t even tell they are ill. Hard to hype that.

In addition to being ineffective, the measures our country is currently taking are likely pointless, as we are addressing an outbreak that is in our past. And that’s before we get to the issue that if you believe (1) that an Armageddon virus is rounding the globe, but (2) you also need to go shopping and go on vacation, then you are more than a little intellectually dishonest.

2 thoughts on “Nate Silver may have discovered how herd immunity works

  1. The median mortality age is 78, I heard recently, vagrantly.

    This entire thing is proof positive of the wisdom of LIMITED GOVERNMENT. Because those guys are stupid and clueless and so their duties need to be strictly confined to what they actually are hired to do and know how to do. The latter is constricting greatly and in theory that’s where the “deep state” is supposed to step in and make stuff better but if they’re not, then they should go, too.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. To me, it illustrates that the deep state, such as it is, is hardly limited to law enforcement. Everything we have seen with the FBI and DOJ is also happening in every other branch of government, but the conflicts are not as sexy because they do not have the Trump gotcha aspect. But they are ruining people’s lives nonetheless.


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