Corralling the Facts on Herd Immunity - Herd Immunity vs. Lockdowns

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Corralling the Facts on Herd Immunity - Herd Immunity vs. Lockdowns

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Corralling the Facts on Herd Immunity - Herd Immunity vs. Lockdowns

September 29, 2020


*** Unfortunately for those of us that want just the info , this topic of Herd Immunity
has now morphed into the political realm .
So keep this in mind when reading about Herd Immunity ***


Corralling the Facts on Herd Immunity

https://khn.org/news/corralling-the-fac ... -immunity/


For a term that’s at least 100 years old, “herd immunity” has gained new life in 2020.


It starred in many headlines last month, when reports surfaced that a member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force and adviser to the president, Dr. Scott Atlas, recommended it as a strategy to combat COVID-19. The Washington Post reported that Atlas, a health care policy expert from the Hoover Institution of Stanford University, suggested the virus should be allowed to spread through the population so people build up immunity, rather than trying to contain it through shutdown measures.


At a town hall event a few weeks later, President Donald Trump raised the idea himself, saying the coronavirus would simply “go away,” as people developed “herd mentality” — a slip-up that nonetheless was understood to reference the same concept.

And as recently as last week, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) sparked a heated debate at a committee hearing when he suggested that the decline in COVID cases in New York City was due to herd or community immunity in the population rather than public health measures, such as wearing masks and social distancing. Dr. Anthony Fauci, the top U.S. infectious disease official, rebuked Paul, pointing out that only 22% of the city’s residents have COVID antibodies.

“If you believe 22% is herd immunity, I believe you’re alone in that,” Fauci told the senator.

All this talk got us thinking: People seem pretty confused about herd immunity. What exactly does it mean and can it be used to combat COVID-19?

An Uncertain Strategy With Great Cost

Herd immunity, also called community or population immunity, refers to the point at which enough people are sufficiently resistant to a disease that an infectious agent is unlikely to spread from person to person. As a result, the whole community — including those who don’t have immunity — becomes protected.

People generally gain immunity in one of two ways: vaccination or infection. For most diseases in recent history — from smallpox and polio to diphtheria and rubella —vaccines have been the route to herd immunity. For the most highly contagious diseases, like measles, about 94% of the population needs to be immunized to achieve that level of protection. For COVID-19, scientists estimate the percentage falls between 50% to 70%.

Before the COVID pandemic, experts can’t recall examples in which governments intentionally turned to natural infection to achieve herd immunity. Generally, such a strategy could lead to widespread illness and death, said Dr. Carlos del Rio, an expert in infectious disease and vaccines at the Emory University School of Medicine.

“It’s a terrible idea,” del Rio said. “It’s basically giving up on public health.”

A new, large study found fewer than 1 in 10 Americans have antibodies to SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. Even in the hardest-hit areas, like New York City, estimates of immunity among residents are about 25%.

To reach 50% to 70% immunity would mean about four times as many people getting infected and an “incredible number of deaths,” said Josh Michaud, associate director of global health policy at KFF. Even those who survive could suffer severe consequences to their heart, brain and other organs, potentially leaving them with lifelong disabilities. (KHN is an editorially independent program of KFF.)

“It’s not a strategy to pursue unless your goal is to pursue suffering and death,” Michaud said.

What’s more, some scientists say natural immunity may not even be feasible for COVID-19. While most people presumably achieve some degree of protection after being infected once, cases of people who recovered from the disease and were reinfected have raised questions about how long natural immunity lasts and whether someone with immunity could still spread the virus.

Even the method scientists are using to measure immunity — blood tests that detect antibodies to the coronavirus — may not be an accurate indicator of who is protected against COVID-19, said Dr. Stuart Ray, an infectious disease expert at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

With so many unanswered questions, he concluded: “We can’t count on natural herd immunity as a way to control this epidemic.”

Vaccines, on the other hand, can be made to trigger stronger immunity than natural infection, Ray said. That’s why people who acquire a natural tetanus infection, for example, are still advised to get the tetanus vaccine. The hope is that vaccines being developed for COVID-19 will provide the same higher level of immunity.

But What About Sweden?

In the political debate around COVID-19, proponents of a natural herd immunity strategy often point to Sweden as a model. Although the Scandinavian country imposed fewer economic shutdown measures, its death rate is less than that in the U.S., Paul said at Wednesday’s Senate hearing.

But health experts — including Fauci during the same hearing — argue that’s a flawed comparison. The U.S. has a much more diverse population, with vulnerable groups like Black and Hispanic Americans being disproportionately affected by the coronavirus, said Dr. Jon Andrus, an epidemiology expert at the George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health. The U.S. also has greater population density, especially on the coasts, he said.

When compared with other Scandinavian countries, Sweden’s death toll is much higher. It has had 5,880 deaths linked to COVID-19 so far, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. That’s nearly 58 deaths per 100,000 residents — several times higher than the death rates of 5 or 6 per 100,000 in Norway and Finland. In fact, as a result of COVID-19, Sweden has recorded its highest death toll since a famine swept the country 150 years ago. And cases are on the rise.

Despite that level of loss, it’s still unclear if Sweden has reached the threshold for herd immunity. A study by the country’s public health agency found that by late April only 7% of residents in Stockholm had antibodies for COVID-19. In other Swedish cities, the percentage was even lower.

Those findings mirror other studies around the globe. Researchers reported that in several cities across Spain, Switzerland and the U.S. — with the exception of New York City — less than 10% of the population had COVID-19 antibodies by June, despite months of exposure and high infection rates. The results led commentators in the medical research journal The Lancet to write, “In light of these findings, any proposed approach to achieve herd immunity through natural infection is not only highly unethical, but also unachievable.”

Herd Immunity Is Still Far Off

The bottom line, medical experts say, is that natural herd immunity is an uncertain strategy, and attempts to pursue it could result in a slew of unnecessary deaths. A vaccine, whenever one becomes available, would offer a safer route to community-wide protection.

Until then, they emphasize there is still plenty to do to counter the pandemic. Wearing masks, practicing social distancing, hand-washing and ramping up testing and contact tracing have all proven to help curb the virus’s spread.

“As we wait for new tools to be added to the toolbox,” Andrus said, “we have to keep reminding ourselves that there are measures in this very moment that we could be using to save lives.”
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Re: Corralling the Facts on Herd Immunity

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Top health official says coronavirus herd immunity ‘not the strategy of the U.S. government’

10/2/20


https://www.cnbc.com/2020/10/02/top-hea ... ategy.html


Key Points


Allowing the coronavirus to circulate through the U.S. population unchecked in an effort to achieve herd immunity “is not the strategy” of the nation’s federal government, HHS Secretary Alex Azar said.

The nation’s top health officials have warned that letting the coronavirus spread uncontrollably in an effort to achieve herd immunity would result in an “enormous” death toll.
White House’s coronavirus advisor Dr. Scott Atlas, however, has previously pushed the idea of herd immunity.


Allowing the coronavirus to circulate through the U.S. population unchecked in an effort to achieve herd immunity “is not the strategy” of the nation’s government despite reports that White House coronavirus advisor Dr. Scott Atlas has pushed the idea, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said.

“Herd immunity is not the strategy of the U.S. government with regard to coronavirus,” Azar in response to a question from Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., on Friday during a U.S. House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis hearing.

“We may get herd slowing of transmission as we perhaps have seen in the New York area and other concentrated areas. Our mission is to reduce fatalities, protect the vulnerable, keep coronavirus cases down to the lowest level possible,” Azar added.

Herd immunity happens when a large portion of the population becomes immune to the coronavirus, making it harder to spread, the Mayo Clinic says. It can be achieved through natural infection — when enough people are exposed to the disease and develop antibodies against it — and through vaccinations.

Most scientists think 60% to 80% of the population needs to be vaccinated or have natural antibodies to achieve herd immunity, global health experts say. However, Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, told lawmakers during a hearing in late September that a majority of the nation’s population — more than 90% — remain susceptible to infection, citing recent studies.

White House coronavirus advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci has also said that letting the coronavirus spread uncontrollably in an effort to infect enough people to reach herd immunity would result in an “enormous” death toll.

Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, pushed back on Republican Sen. Rand Paul’s recent claim that New York has achieved enough herd immunity from the coronavirus and is “no longer having the pandemic.”

Fauci said that around 22% of New York’s residents have likely been exposed to the coronavirus, under the amount needed for herd immunity.

“They got hit very badly, they made some mistakes. Right now if you look at what’s going on right now, the things that are going on in New York to get their test positivity 1% or less is because they are looking at the guidelines that we have put together from the task force of the four or five things of masks, social distancing, outdoors more than indoors, avoiding crowds and washing hands,” Fauci said.

“If everyone contracted it, even with the relatively high percentage of people without symptoms ... a lot of people are going to die,” Fauci said on Aug. 13.

An HHS spokesperson was not immediately available for CNBC’s inquiry clarifying Azar’s comments on New York perhaps seeing a “herd slowing of transmission.”

Atlas, a neuroradiologist who was recently added to the White House’s coronavirus pandemic response team, has publicly contradicted Redfield’s remarks on how many people remain susceptible to the virus, a move that Fauci has called “extraordinarily inappropriate.”

“You cannot assume that we are even anywhere near herd immunity right now in the United States,” Fauci has said. “We have a long way to go to get to herd immunity.”
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Re: Corralling the Facts on Herd Immunity

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Study estimates lower herd immunity to SARS-CoV-2 in the U.S.

10/8/20


https://www.news-medical.net/news/20201 ... he-US.aspx


A new study published on the preprint server medRxiv* in October 2020 shows that recognizing the differences in the population composition, connectedness and distribution, as well as inter-individual differences in immunity, susceptibility and infectivity, are crucial to estimating the herd immunity attained as a result of natural severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) more accurately. This knowledge is crucial in shaping sensible containment policies for the future.

Classical Epidemiological Models

In the traditional model of infectious disease, contact between people is assumed to occur homogeneously between age groups and different parts of the country. It also does not account for individual variations in terms of infectivity and susceptibility to the virus.

Thus, newer models attempt to incorporate heterogeneous mixing, recognizing that for most people, social interactions occur within a relatively small circle confined by similarities in age and location. The number of people who move across the boundaries of these groups is low.

Artificially High Herd Immunity Threshold?

The conventional calculation for detects the threshold above which the infected percentage of the population (the proportion that has been removed from the susceptible fraction) is large enough to prevent enough new infections from occurring such that the epidemic can propagate. Thus, the herd immunity threshold (HIT) indicates a value for the level of population immunity that will keep further outbreaks from occurring. The classical threshold for herd immunity is expressed as 1 - 1/R0 (R0 being the reproduction number).

The flu pandemic of 1918 is thought to have had an R0 ~2.9, corresponding to a herd immunity threshold (HIT) of about 66%. Again, most scientists consider that herd immunity for COVID-19 requires that 60% or more of the population being infected for an R0 of 2.5. However, in reality, the HIT in 1918 was probably closer to 33%, since only a third of the population of the world is actually thought to have been infected.

The H1N1 influenza pandemic of 2009 was estimated to have an R0 between 1.2 and 1.6, corresponding to a HIT of 28.5% based on the classical model. This is in contrast to the CDC’s estimates that show that only a fifth of the U.S. population was infected before the pandemic died out.

These overestimates are based on the assumption implicit in traditional models that the susceptible population and mixing patterns are homogeneous.

Understanding Pre-existing Immunity

The current model looks at how differences in the spatial distribution and immune status of susceptible individuals impact herd immunity. This has been brought to the forefront of the debate over the actual HIT by earlier researchers.

Many uninfected individuals have T cells that cross-react with SARS-CoV-2 because of earlier annual coronavirus exposures. In fact, 9 out of 10 people have antibodies to coronaviruses at some point in their lives, though they may last anywhere between months to as long as 34 years.

At present, some investigators estimate a 35% prevalence of helper T cells due to prior exposure to these common coronaviruses, and it is, therefore, necessary that the role played by these cells in the context of clinical severity and outcome be studied.

The existence of innate immunity to the disease is another factor to be evaluated. Such individual variation contributes to the final estimate of the HIT.

An earlier two-compartment model with one group being immune to the virus as a result of innate or cross-reactive immunity indicates that the size of this group in relation to the other, along with the R0 value, and the degree to which both groups mix, will cause marked variations in the HIT. The authors suggest that some locations may well have achieved herd immunity already. A modified form of this model is also used in the current study to represent the role of partial immunity.

Spatial models to Incorporate heterogeneity

In one of the earlier models, the researchers presented six age-stratified groups in a community, with heterogeneous contact between the groups. This showed that the HIT could be significantly lowered to, for instance, 43%, with heterogeneous contact.

The current study first visualizes the use of uniform non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) such as sheltering at home and other measures, during the whole course of the epidemic. They seek to find a value for the level of NPIs required at minimum to ensure that the first wave achieves herd immunity at its conclusion, preventing a second wave.

The infected proportion of the population is then calculated as the disease-induced HIT. According to this model, the HIT will be ~47.5% vs 77% with the classical model. This is reflected in the results of serological testing on a large scale in New York City, which was hard-hit by the pandemic. The antibody tests showed a prevalence of 27%, ranging from ~13% to ~52% in various locations.

A second estimate considers the possibility of cross-reactive T cells in about 35% of the population, speeding up recovery by one day and reducing mortality by 10% vs. the non-immune population. This reduces the disease-induced HIT estimate to ~34%.

The researchers point out the importance of such calculations: “Even modest heterogeneity in infectiousness and duration of the disease course impacts the levels of disease-induced herd immunity.”

Targeted Vaccination of Super-spreaders

The simplistic homogeneous mixing model, which also infers equal infectivity for all individuals in a population, has given rise to many public health strategies that target all individuals in a population similarly. On the contrary, say the authors, better models are needed that take account of differences in a number of areas, including susceptibility, mixing, and infectivity.

Targeting very connected or susceptible or infectious individuals in each location by immunization, since they are central to further disease transmission, is key to preventing a second wave, suggest the authors.

Implications

Today, many seroprevalence studies continue to prophesy that the achievement of herd immunity is not yet within sight
, based on the low prevalence and widely varying range by locality. The current model suggests that this is, in fact, what is expected of a population. Of course, antibody testing itself is limited by a lack of sensitivity in the early convalescent phase, variable test quality, rapid decline in antibody titer, and increased antibody titer with disease severity.

In Manaus, Brazil, where the pandemic took a heavy toll, both hospitalizations and deaths from COVID-19 have dropped steeply, though the seroprevalence has never risen above 20%. This could mean that a low level of antibodies is compatible with herd immunity in some places.

Other investigators support the view that heterogeneity in contact networks and in the degree of transmission allows a much lower HIT than previously assumed. Shielding of highly connected nodes may lead to a rebound increase in infections following the relaxation of such restrictions, with the second wave being more significant than the first.


The investigators sum up: “We demonstrate that the proportion of the population infected to achieve herd immunity may be lower than usually assumed, which would have significant implications for public health.”

The study needs to be followed up with a quantitative exploration of the level of herd immunity and turn these insights into good use in public health strategies that target the most central transmission foci in each locale.
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Re: Corralling the Facts on Herd Immunity

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Over 6000 Scientists, Doctors Sign Anti-lockdown Petition

Calls for only ‘focused protection’ of vulnerable people from COVID so everyone else can build herd immunity


10/7/20

(There are many different opinions on some of these topics . I try to post the latest info on these topics for info reasons only)

https://summit.news/2020/10/07/over-600 ... -petition/

Over six thousand scientists and doctors have signed a petition against coronavirus lockdown measures, urging that those not in the at risk category should be able to get on with their lives as normal, and that lockdown rules in both the US and UK are causing ‘irreparable damage’.

Those who have signed include professors from the world’s leading universities. Oxford University professor Dr Sunetra Gupta was one of the authors of the open letter that was sent with the petition, along with Harvard University’s Dr Martin Kulldorff and Stanford’s Dr Jay Bhattacharya.

It declares that social distancing and mask mandates are causing ‘damaging physical and mental health impacts.’

The petition, dubbed the Great Barrington Declaration after the town in Massachusetts where it was written, has been signed by close to 54,000 members of the public at time of writing, as well as over 2600 medical and public health scientists and around 3500 medical practitioners.

“Those who are not vulnerable should immediately be allowed to resume life as normal,” it notes, adding “Keeping these [lockdown] measures in place until a vaccine is available will cause irreparable damage, with the underprivileged disproportionately harmed.”

“Current lockdown policies are producing devastating effects on short and long-term public health,” the declaration also declares.

It continues, “The results (to name a few) include lower childhood vaccination rates, worsening cardiovascular [heart] disease outcomes, fewer cancer screenings and deteriorating mental health – leading to greater excess mortality in years to come, with the working class and younger members of society carrying the heaviest burden.”

“Keeping students out of school is a grave injustice,” the declaration adds.

“Those who are not vulnerable should immediately be allowed to resume life as normal, it concludes, explaining that “Simple hygiene measures, such as hand washing and staying home when sick should be practiced by everyone to reduce the herd immunity threshold.”

“Schools and universities should be open for in-person teaching. Extracurricular activities, such as sports, should be resumed. Young low-risk adults should work normally, rather than from home,” it emphasises.

Finally, the declaration demands that normal life should resume, stating that “Restaurants and other businesses should open. Arts, music, sport and other cultural activities should resume. People who are more at risk may participate if they wish, while society as a whole enjoys the protection conferred upon the vulnerable by those who have built up herd immunity.”

The declaration echoes President Trump’s words earlier this week when he returned to the White House and asked Americans not to live in fear or let let the virus dominate their everyday lives:

The declaration dovetails with other research that has concluded lockdowns will conservatively “destroy at least seven times more years of human life” than they save.

Germany’s Minister of Economic Cooperation and Development, Gerd Muller, has warned that lockdown measures throughout the globe will end up killing more people than the Coronavirus itself.

In an interview with German newspaper Handelsblatt, Muller warned that the response to the global pandemic has resulted in “one of the biggest” hunger and poverty crises in history.

Muller’s comments come five months after a leaked study from inside the German Ministry of the Interior revealed that the impact of the country’s lockdown could end up killing more people than the coronavirus due to victims of other serious illnesses not receiving treatment.

As we have previously highlighted, in the UK there have already been up to 10,000 excess deaths as a result of seriously ill people avoiding hospitals due to COVID-19 or not having their hospital treatments cancelled.

Professor Richard Sullivan also warned that there will be more excess cancer deaths in the UK than total coronavirus deaths due to people’s access to screenings and treatment being restricted as a result of the lockdown.

His comments were echoed by Peter Nilsson, a Swedish professor of internal medicine and epidemiology at Lund University, who said, “It’s so important to understand that the deaths of COVID-19 will be far less than the deaths caused by societal lockdown when the economy is ruined.”

According to Professor Karol Sikora, an NHS consultant oncologist, there could be 50,000 excess deaths from cancer as a result of routine screenings being suspended during the lockdown in the UK.

In addition, a study published in The Lancet that notes “physical distancing, school closures, trade restrictions, and country lockdowns” are worsening global child malnutrition.

Experts have also warned that there will be 1.4 million deaths globally from untreated TB infections due to the lockdown.

As we further previously highlighted, a data analyst consortium in South Africa found that the economic consequences of the country’s lockdown will lead to 29 times more people dying than the coronavirus itself.

Hundreds of doctors are also on record as opposing lockdown measures, warning that they will cause more death than the coronavirus itself.

Despite citizens across the world being told to observe the lockdown to “save lives,” numerous experts who are now warning that the lockdown could end up costing more lives are being ignored or smeared by the media.
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Re: Corralling the Facts on Herd Immunity

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Would herd immunity stop the spread of coronavirus?

Even if achievable, the strategy would kill too many people, say scientists

10/11/20


https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/ ... oronavirus

Like the Covid-19 virus itself, the idea of herd immunity has surged back into public life having been suppressed for months. It was initially touted as a way to hold back the pandemic – by allowing sufficient numbers of infections to occur and so reduce numbers of non-immune potential hosts for the virus. The disease would then stop spreading, it was argued.

The notion quickly fell out of favour when researchers highlighted the high death toll that would have to occur in the UK before herd immunity was achieved. Nevertheless, the idea has now bubbled back and is again making headlines.

According to signatories of the Great Barrington Declaration which was published last week, it is now time to remove lockdown restrictions for most of society and to allow the population to get on with their lives while still protecting the vulnerable and old. Herd immunity would build up and soon the scourge of Covid-19 would disappear.

It is an enticing argument. But is herd immunity really a panacea whose time has come? Can it lift the curse of Covid from the world? Many UK scientists counsel caution.

As they point out, only 8% or so of the British population has been infected with the Covid-19 virus. “To get to herd immunity we would need that to reach around 70%,” said Sir Robert Lechler, president of the Academy of Medical Sciences. “Not only are we a huge way off this but we now know that immunity to Covid-19 decreases over time, and that people can be re-infected with the virus.”

For this reason, scientists argue that it is very unlikely that herd immunity could be sustained without a vaccine or regular reinfection. More to the point, if attempts were made to achieve herd immunity by lifting lockdown restrictions, there would be a vast increase in excess deaths, mainly among the old and the vulnerable. NHS services would be overwhelmed while high numbers of “long Covid” cases would have long-term consequences even for those who suffer only mild initial symptoms.

Scientists also point to the example of Manaus in Brazil. The city suffered a devastating wave of Covid-19 cases that killed more than 3,000 people earlier this year. Then virus levels subsided and claims were made that the city had achieved herd immunity. However, cases have now started to surge again in Manaus, suggesting the city failed to achieve herd immunity despite its high death toll.

In fact, the concept of herd immunity is simply not palatable, added Michael Head, senior research fellow in global health, Southampton University. He describes the Great Barrington Declaration as little more than an online petition and points to groups of experts – from Independent Sage to the Academy of Medical Sciences – who have spoken out against the idea.

“In the UK, there was a complete national lockdown for around three months,” he added. “During this time, despite very little UK life running as ‘normal’, thousands of vulnerable people – who overall make up one in four of the population – died of the pandemic coronavirus and yet we still only have 8% of the population with some level of immunity.”

To raise that level to 60 to 70% in a bid to achieve herd immunity would therefore have devastating consequences, Head concluded.
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Re: Corralling the Facts on Herd Immunity

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Coronavirus: WHO head calls herd immunity approach 'immoral'

10/12/20


(There are many different opinions on some of these topics . I try to post the latest info on these topics for info reasons only)

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-54518286

The head of the World Health Organization has ruled out a herd immunity response to the pandemic.

Herd immunity occurs when a large portion of a community becomes immune to a disease through vaccinations or through the mass spread of a disease.

Some have argued that coronavirus should be allowed to spread naturally in the absence of a vaccine.

But WHO chief Tedros Ghebreyesus said such an approach was "scientifically and ethically problematic".

There have been more than 37 million confirmed cases of coronavirus across the globe since the pandemic began. More than one million people are known to have died.

While hundreds of vaccines are currently under development, with a number in advanced trials, none has yet received international approval.

How close are we to a coronavirus vaccine?
'Long Covid': Why are some people not recovering?
Did 'herd immunity' change the course of the UK's outbreak?

Speaking at a news conference on Monday, Dr Ghebreyesus argued that the long-term impacts of coronavirus - as well as the strength and duration any immune response - remained unknown.

"Herd immunity is achieved by protecting people from a virus, not by exposing them to it," he said.

"Never in the history of public health has herd immunity been used as a strategy for responding to an outbreak, let alone a pandemic."

The WHO head added that seroprevalence tests - where the blood is tested for antibodies - suggested that just 10% of people had been exposed to coronavirus in most countries.

"Letting Covid-19 circulate unchecked therefore means allowing unnecessary infections, suffering and death," he said.
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Trump’s COVID advisor: Lockdown architects ‘should be held accountable’

‘History will record the faces of the public health expertise as some of the most sinful, egregious, epic failures in the history of public policy,’ said Dr. Scott Atlas.

Thu Oct 15, 2020 - 1:34 pm EST



https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/trump ... ccountable


WASHINGTON, D.C., October 15, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) — Dr. Scott Atlas, a recently appointed advisor to President Trump’s Coronavirus Task Force, said the architects of the COVID-19 lockdowns “should be held accountable for what they did.”

In a Fox News interview yesterday, Atlas outlined the enormous detriments to public health that result from lockdowns. He criticized those who were advocating for more lockdowns to help prevent the spread of the virus, saying they were “simply out of touch with average Americans.”

“Prolonged lockdowns are a complete disaster,” said Atlas.
“People have been killed by people who want prolonged lockdowns.”

Atlas pointed to data regarding the hidden effect of lockdowns upon people’s health.

“Forty-six percent of the most common types of cancers were not diagnosed during the lockdown,” he observed. This means that as a result, “people will present with much later, more widespread disease.”

Out of those scheduled for chemotherapy, only half appeared for their appointments, meaning that “650,000 Americans” missed crucial treatment. The reason for this, Atlas said, is purely “out of the fear instilled by our so-called public health experts.”

Atlas referred to the effect the lockdowns were having on children and young adults. Just as a result of closing the schools, the number of child abuse cases has increased dramatically, with “more than 200,000 cases of child abuse not reported during the two months of spring school closures.”

A CDC report showed that “one out of four young college-aged Americans have contemplated killing themselves during the month of June,” Atlas said. “This is completely off the rails.”

But he was even more scathing with regard to the proponents of lockdowns, whom he accused of having committed crimes against humanity.

“History will record the faces of the public health expertise as some of the most sinful, egregious, epic failures in the history of public policy,” Atlas stated.

“They have killed people with their lack of understanding and their lack of caring about not just the impact of cases of COVID-19, a virus that the overwhelming majority of people do well in.”

The White House advisor distinguished between COVID-19 policies and their actual outcomes. “They never cared to considered the impact of the policy itself,” he said, “and the policy itself has been a complete epic failure, and honestly some people say a crime against humanity — these people should be held accountable for what they did.”

President Donald Trump repeatedly warned about preventative COVID measures being more harmful than the disease itself. In March, the president famously tweeted, “We cannot let the cure be worse than the problem itself.”

After being discharged from Walter Reed Medical Center earlier this month, where he had received treatment for the virus, Trump urged people not to be afraid: “Feeling really good! Don’t be afraid of Covid. Don’t let it dominate your life.”

The Great Barrington Declaration, released on October 4 and already signed by over 500,000 doctors, medical professionals and citizens, warns that “current lockdown policies are producing devastating effects on short and long-term public health”, with the effects being both physically and mentally damaging to society at large.
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Re: Corralling the Facts on Herd Immunity - Herd Immunity vs. Lockdowns

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Coronavirus disease (COVID-19): Herd immunity, lockdowns and COVID-19

15 October 2020 | Q&A


https://www.who.int/news-room/q-a-detai ... d-covid-19


What is ‘herd immunity’?


‘Herd immunity’, also known as ‘population immunity’, is a concept used for vaccination, in which a population can be protected from a certain virus if a threshold of vaccination is reached.

Herd immunity is achieved by protecting people from a virus, not by exposing them to it.

Vaccines train our immune systems to create proteins that fight disease, known as ‘antibodies’, just as would happen when we are exposed to a disease but – crucially – vaccines work without making us sick. Vaccinated people are protected from getting the disease in question and passing it on, breaking any chains of transmission. Visit our webpage on COVID-19 and vaccines for more detail.

With herd immunity, the vast majority of a population are vaccinated, lowering the overall amount of virus able to spread in the whole population. As a result, not every single person needs to be vaccinated to be protected, which helps ensure vulnerable groups who cannot get vaccinated are kept safe.

The percentage of people who need to have antibodies in order to achieve herd immunity against a particular disease varies with each disease. For example, herd immunity against measles requires about 95% of a population to be vaccinated. The remaining 5% will be protected by the fact that measles will not spread among those who are vaccinated. For polio, the threshold is about 80%.

Achieving herd immunity with safe and effective vaccines makes diseases rarer and saves lives.

Find out more about the science behind herd immunity by watching or reading this interview with WHO’s Chief Scientist, Dr Soumya Swaminathan.


What is WHO’s position on ‘herd immunity’ as a way of fighting COVID-19?


Attempts to reach ‘herd immunity’ through exposing people to a virus are scientifically problematic and unethical. Letting COVID-19 spread through populations, of any age or health status will lead to unnecessary infections, suffering and death.

The vast majority of people in most countries remain susceptible to this virus. Seroprevalence surveys suggest that in most countries, less than 10% of the population have been infected with COVID-19.

We are still learning about immunity to COVID-19. Most people who are infected with COVID-19 develop an immune response within the first few weeks, but we don’t know how strong or lasting that immune response is, or how it differs for different people. There have also been reports of people infected with COVID-19 for a second time.

Until we better understand COVID-19 immunity, it will not be possible to know how much of a population is immune and how long that immunity last for, let alone make future predictions. These challenges should preclude any plans that try to increase immunity within a population by allowing people to get infected.

Although older people and those with underlying conditions are most at risk of severe disease and death, they are not the only ones at risk.

Finally, while most infected people get mild or moderate forms of COVID-19 and some experience no disease, many become seriously ill and must be admitted into hospital. We are only beginning to understand the long-term health impacts among people who have had COVID-19, including what is being described as ‘Long COVID.’ WHO is working with clinicians and patient groups to better understand the long term effects of COVID-19.


What do we know about immunity from COVID-19?

Most people who are infected with COVID-19 develop an immune response within the first few weeks after infection.

Research is still ongoing into how strong that protection is and how long it lasts. WHO is also looking into whether the strength and length of immune response depends on the type of infection a person has: without symptoms (‘asymptomatic’), mild or severe. Even people without symptoms seem to develop an immune response.

Globally, data from seroprevalence studies suggests that less 10% of those studied have been infected, meaning that the vast majority of the world’s population remains susceptible to this virus.

For other coronaviruses – such as the common cold, SARS-CoV-1 and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) – immunity declines over time, as is the case with other diseases. While people infected with the SARS-CoV-2 virus develop antibodies and immunity, we do not yet know how long it lasts.

Watch this conversation with Dr Mike Ryan and Dr Maria Van Kerkhove for more information on immunity.


What is WHO’s position on ‘lockdowns’ as a way of fighting COVID-19?


Large scale physical distancing measures and movement restrictions, often referred to as ‘lockdowns’, can slow COVID‑19 transmission by limiting contact between people.

However, these measures can have a profound negative impact on individuals, communities, and societies by bringing social and economic life to a near stop. Such measures disproportionately affect disadvantaged groups, including people in poverty, migrants, internally displaced people and refugees, who most often live in overcrowded and under resourced settings, and depend on daily labour for subsistence.

WHO recognizes that at certain points, some countries have had no choice but to issue stay-at-home orders and other measures, to buy time.

Governments must make the most of the extra time granted by ‘lockdown’ measures by doing all they can to build their capacities to detect, isolate, test and care for all cases; trace and quarantine all contacts; engage, empower and enable populations to drive the societal response and more.

WHO is hopeful that countries will use targeted interventions where and when needed, based on the local situation.
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Re: Corralling the Facts on Herd Immunity - Herd Immunity vs. Lockdowns

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The Great Barrington Declaration

https://gbdeclaration.org/

The Great Barrington Declaration
– As infectious disease epidemiologists and public health scientists we have grave concerns about the damaging physical and mental health impacts of the prevailing COVID-19 policies, and recommend an approach we call Focused Protection.

Coming from both the left and right, and around the world, we have devoted our careers to protecting people. Current lockdown policies are producing devastating effects on short and long-term public health. The results (to name a few) include lower childhood vaccination rates, worsening cardiovascular disease outcomes, fewer cancer screenings and deteriorating mental health – leading to greater excess mortality in years to come, with the working class and younger members of society carrying the heaviest burden. Keeping students out of school is a grave injustice.

Keeping these measures in place until a vaccine is available will cause irreparable damage, with the underprivileged disproportionately harmed.

Fortunately, our understanding of the virus is growing. We know that vulnerability to death from COVID-19 is more than a thousand-fold higher in the old and infirm than the young. Indeed, for children, COVID-19 is less dangerous than many other harms, including influenza.

As immunity builds in the population, the risk of infection to all – including the vulnerable – falls. We know that all populations will eventually reach herd immunity – i.e. the point at which the rate of new infections is stable – and that this can be assisted by (but is not dependent upon) a vaccine. Our goal should therefore be to minimize mortality and social harm until we reach herd immunity.

The most compassionate approach that balances the risks and benefits of reaching herd immunity, is to allow those who are at minimal risk of death to live their lives normally to build up immunity to the virus through natural infection, while better protecting those who are at highest risk. We call this Focused Protection.

Adopting measures to protect the vulnerable should be the central aim of public health responses to COVID-19. By way of example, nursing homes should use staff with acquired immunity and perform frequent PCR testing of other staff and all visitors. Staff rotation should be minimized. Retired people living at home should have groceries and other essentials delivered to their home. When possible, they should meet family members outside rather than inside. A comprehensive and detailed list of measures, including approaches to multi-generational households, can be implemented, and is well within the scope and capability of public health professionals.

Those who are not vulnerable should immediately be allowed to resume life as normal. Simple hygiene measures, such as hand washing and staying home when sick should be practiced by everyone to reduce the herd immunity threshold. Schools and universities should be open for in-person teaching. Extracurricular activities, such as sports, should be resumed. Young low-risk adults should work normally, rather than from home. Restaurants and other businesses should open. Arts, music, sport and other cultural activities should resume. People who are more at risk may participate if they wish, while society as a whole enjoys the protection conferred upon the vulnerable by those who have built up herd immunity.

On October 4, 2020, this declaration was authored and signed in Great Barrington, United States
, by:

Dr. Martin Kulldorff, professor of medicine at Harvard University, a biostatistician, and epidemiologist with expertise in detecting and monitoring infectious disease outbreaks and vaccine safety evaluations.

Dr. Sunetra Gupta, professor at Oxford University, an epidemiologist with expertise in immunology, vaccine development, and mathematical modeling of infectious diseases.

Dr. Jay Bhattacharya, professor at Stanford University Medical School, a physician, epidemiologist, health economist, and public health policy expert focusing on infectious diseases and vulnerable populations.
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Re: Corralling the Facts on Herd Immunity - Herd Immunity vs. Lockdowns

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Germany Coronavirus rallies: Germany's growing anti-lockdown movement

Germany is seeing growing protests against the government for its handling of the pandemic. Who are these people and why are they taking to the streets?

https://www.dw.com/en/germany-protests- ... a-54456654


It was a curious sight to behold. On August 1, a motley crowd of protesters from across Germany — ranging from far-right extremists and conspiracy theorists to supporters of the anti-vaccination movement and followers of esotericism — flocked to Berlin to vent their anger at government-imposed restrictions to curb the spread of coronavirus. In front of the city's iconic Brandenburg Gate, people shouted "we're the second wave" and "resistance." According to the police, some 20,000 protesters converged on the capital that Saturday.

The event had been organized by a controversial Stuttgart-based organization known to have staged the country's largest anti-coronavirus lockdown protests so far. That day's theme — "Tag der Freiheit," or "Day of Freedom" — was eerily reminiscent of the title of a 1935 Nazi propaganda film by Leni Riefenstahl.

Shared loathing of the government

Protester were seen waving Germany's Imperial War Flag, a favorite with far-right extremists and members of the Reichsbürger, or Reich Citizens' Movement, both of whom reject Germany's present-day political order. Yet among the crowd were also people waving peace and rainbow flags, as well those with placards reading "Jesus Lives!"

The demonstration also included families, many of whom voiced a vague displeasure with coronavirus-related safety measures adopted by the government, albeit without subscribing to any of the conspiracy theories espoused by others attending the march.

While the protesters evidently hailed from all walks of life and did not share a single worldview, they were united in their loathing of the government's approach to containing COVID-19. Many are also deeply suspicious of the media. A DW journalist covering the event was repeatedly insulted, bullied and urged to remove her face mask.

Railing against Angela Merkel and Bill Gates


It was clear from some of the protesters' placards that they do not believe the coronavirus exists. Instead, many are convinced the virus is a pretext fabricated by the government to turn Germany into a dictatorship.

Some of the protesters were seen wearing Nazi-era Stars of David on their chests that read "not vaccinated." They were drawing a parallel to Jews in Nazi Germany, casting themselves as a persecuted people living under a dictatorship that imposes "vaccination fascism." Some were seen and heard lambasting Chancellor Angela Merkel, high-profile German virologist Christian Drosten and German Health Minister Jens Spahn as "appeasement politicians."

Many marchers held signs reading "don't give Gates a chance," a riff on a slogan popularized years ago in the fight against AIDS but tweaked to target Microsoft founder Bill Gates. These protesters are convinced that the billionaire tech entrepreneur is out to vaccinate people against their will and plant microchips in their bodies.

Most of these conspiracy theories originated online. Some have been aggressively promoted by right-wing extremists and conspiracy theorists on social media since anti-coronavirus protests began some four months ago. This online campaign partially explains why so many protesters are now taking to the streets, often wearing T-shirts and carrying signs that reference these conspiracy theories.
Who is promoting these theories?

Anselm Lenz, a former journalist, organized Germany's first protest march against coronavirus lockdown measures. Lenz, who is associated with the country's political left, claimed the German state had allied itself with pharmaceutical and tech companies to abolish democracy.

A mere 40 people showed up to his protest at Berlin's Rosa Luxemburg square. Just four weeks later, a similar gathering drew a crowd of 1,000 people, with some railing against Bill Gates and what they called a "vaccination dictatorship."

Former radio journalist Ken Jebsen was one of the first high-profile figures to join the movement. Jebsen, who was fired from his job in 2011 for anti-Semitic remarks, has since built up a popular YouTube channel and personal website. Some 490,000 followers regularly consume his content. At one of the early protests, Jebsen interviewed Lenz and shared it on his channel. Jebsen has also claimed on YouTube that Bill Gates is manipulating the World Health Organization in order to make money selling a vaccine. That particular clip resonated with Jebsen's supporters and was widely shared online, garnering 3 million views in just one week.

Some 20,000 people turned out in Berlin as part of the "Day of Freedom"

German cookbook author and vegan chef Attila Hildmann similarly suspects Gates of evil machinations. He has become one of the most outspoken critics of coronavirus lockdown measures. After being banned from Instagram for violating its community rules, he began posting content on messenger service Telegram, where he currently has over 68,000 followers. Hildmann deems Gates a Satanist and Merkel a Chinese puppet. He has also urged his followers to violently resist the lockdown if necessary.

Heiko Schrang's worldview is similar to Hildmann's. The conspiracy theorists makes YouTube videos in which he variously decries an alleged manipulation of society through the mainstream media, brands the coronavirus a hoax, or calls on citizens to disregard everything their leaders "up there" tell them.

Resurgent movement


Many of these conspiracy theorists have a common enemy: the German state, Bill Gates and a "Zionist global conspiracy." They often refer to one another when promoting their ideas, building on each other's crude theories.

When coronavirus infection rates recently began tapering off, their theories suddenly lost some of their appeal. But now that Germany is seeing a rise in cases once more, and a second lockdown is being considered, the movement is once again growing.

Jebsen and Hildmann both livestreamed last Saturday's anti-lockdown protest, praising those in attendance as "freedom fighters." Like other supporters of the movement, they claimed that over 1 million people had gathered in Berlin when in fact, some 20,000 turned out.

A few of those who attended sported T-shirts alluding to a book written by Heiko Schrang, who was celebrated like a pop star at the march. He gave a speech onstage, spurring the thousands of protesters on and promising that liberation from the "coronavirus dictatorship" was near. A video of his speech was viewed over 13,000 times within the first hour of being uploaded.
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