2nd July 2020
My email to a person still panicking from the pandemic
Herd immunity is a theoretical construct. In practice herd immunity varies with viral load and a number of characteristics. There is no unique “number” for herd immunity. Also various definitions in the literature about what it means. The one I use is when the reproduction rate drops below 1 and the virus spread starts dropping off in a particular place. That’s the point I see as “herd immunity”. Herd immunity will be different in New York and in a remote rural setting.
My conclusion is that the pandemic is largely over in Sweden (has been over since mid-April) and any residual risk is comparable with that of common cold. Also USA is close to that stage – in a couple of weeks max.
It is true that if the Swedes (or Americans) who have not yet been infected rub shoulders in close proximity or talk loudly/ sing at each other for 1 hour, they will still get infected, but that’s not what most people do. Most of us remain at a good distance to each other and don’t loudly sing in each other’s face.
Except in prisons, choirs, meatworks and other high intensity environments, there is no evidence of this virus infecting more than 20% of the population simply because the viral load is insufficient or there is some innate/adaptive immunity – which is consistent with all previous pandemics. In none except Spanish flu actually infected more than 30% (which was around 35%). There are very few high intensity situations in real life.
After 8 months (this virus began in October 2019), all the necessary data are in. And all parts of the jigsaw puzzle fit. It is a very complex puzzle, though, and requires intensive study and an open mind – and a lot of questions. I studied a lot of advanced textbooks and published peer reviewed literature to form my view. Btw, Sunetra Gupta is no trivial scientist – being the Prof of theoretical epidemiology at Oxford – and she’s fully aboard this view (in fact she was one of the first to outline this view) – and I’m leaving out the super-brilliant Anders Tegnell here.
Basically, this is a far less dangerous virus than Asian flu, and has passed in many parts of the world. Its average death rate will end at around 500-600 per million across the world – which is peanuts in the big scheme of things. It will rank at the 5th or 6th position in the past century, starting with Spanish flu at the top. Never before did we lockdown, even during the Spanish flu.
This has been one of the most bizarre incidents in human history and a very bad portent for what governments will do when they get scared (irrationally) of “climate change”. The communists are in charge. Liberty and human dignity/choice is the last thing in their mind.
For detailed explanation of reasons see: https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/blogs/seeing-the-invisible/the-effect-of-innate-immunity-cross-reactivity-trained-immunity-and-vitamin-d-on-covid-19/ and particularly my 30 May article: https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/blogs/seeing-the-invisible/why-less-than-25-of-the-worlds-population-is-likely-to-get-covid-19/
The single best diagram on this bizarre situation is this (from Lockdown sceptics, with my annotation)