Natural Herd Immunity — What Is it Really?

by | Feb 22, 2021 | Money and Politics

Natural Herd Immunity — What Is it Really?

by | Feb 22, 2021 | Money and Politics

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The basis of herd immunity is that a person cannot be infected twice by the same virus, so once someone has had the disease it will never happen again. But this assumption has not been proven.

Misinformation: The answer to COVID-19 is natural herd immunity.

Information: The basis of herd immunity is that a person cannot be infected twice by the same virus, so once someone has had the disease it will never happen again.

But this assumption, as with so many assumptions about the novel coronavirus and COVD-19, has not been proven. This linked article tells us there’s reason to believe it may not be true—just as it’s not true about other types of coronavirus.

It’s not surprising that assumptions like this one, and many others that have been spread as “absolute truth” via YouTube and other social media, are popular. In a dangerous situation, people seek certainty. And whatever else you might say about the YouTube crowd, they seem very sure of themselves.

However, the only reliable certainty we can have about complex biological processes is the certainty that results from disciplined scientific investigation. Unfortunately, the process of science is inherently slow and seldom operates in a straight line. In any study related to human health there are many variables, and some are quite difficult to control. So it takes time and multiple studies to provide trustworthy answers.

The problem is compounded by the fact that when the result of a study might generate—or eliminate—billions of dollars of profits for the pharmaceutical industry, those involved must have a high degree of integrity and their own special kind of immunity from financial temptations. That is to say, they must be true scientists.

Does that mean there aren’t any easy answers? Actually, no, there is an easy answer. There’s been more than enough data gathered in varying circumstances all over the globe that COVID can be conquered simply by effectively limiting its transmission. Essentially, it’s been demonstrated that we can starve this virus to death, if we just stop feeding it new victims.

A herd of zebras doesn’t limit the local lion population by willingly offering its members up to the predators. It fights back to deny the lions an easy meal. That why zebras live in herds—so that they don’t become victims. Zebras are fighters.

As more science gets done, we’ll know more. In the meantime, perhaps we should aspire to the zebra version of herd immunity.

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