EDITOR’S NOTE. This Wall Street Journal article by a full professor of medicine and public health at Johns Hopkins University has been ruled “misleading” and “partly false” by Facebooks fact-check organ “healthfeedback.org.” Their fact-check can be viewed here, in which three other medical professionals disagree with Professor Makary’s opinion. It is up to the reader to examine both sides of a scientific argument and make a judgment for themselves where the truth most likely lies. What no one disputes is the demonstrable fact that there has been a 77% decline in the number of active cases and that decline has been caused by something.
The great unanswered question about the China virus pandemic (an alert commenter noted that a pandemic is just a Dem surrounded by panic–PANDEMIC) is how it all ends. Oddly, the Democrat/public-health-fascist approach to the pandemic sort of mirrors the Bush administration’s plan for Iraq. Once the country was occupied, or every business in America locked down, the economy destroyed, and a free people reduced to waiting for handouts from the federal government, there was no idea about what comes next. In both cases, one gets the sneaking suspicion that the absence of an exit strategy might be part of the plan.
Now, via the Wall Street Journal, there is encouraging news that this self-inflicted nightmare might be coming to an end. In We’ll Have Herd Immunity by April, Dr. (of the real, not the Jill Biden variety) Marty Makary, a professor at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and Bloomberg School of Public Health, not a random crank, says the signs are encouraging.
Amid the dire Covid warnings, one crucial fact has been largely ignored: Cases are down 77% over the past six weeks. If a medication slashed cases by 77%, we’d call it a miracle pill. Why is the number of cases plummeting much faster than experts predicted?
In large part because natural immunity from prior infection is far more common than can be measured by testing. Testing has been capturing only from 10% to 25% of infections, depending on when during the pandemic someone got the virus. Applying a time-weighted case capture average of 1 in 6.5 to the cumulative 28 million confirmed cases would mean about 55% of Americans have natural immunity.
Now add people getting vaccinated. As of this week, 15% of Americans have received the vaccine, and the figure is rising fast. Former Food and Drug Commissioner Scott Gottlieb estimates 250 million doses will have been delivered to some 150 million people by the end of March.
There is reason to think the country is racing toward an extremely low level of infection. As more people have been infected, most of whom have mild or no symptoms, there are fewer Americans left to be infected. At the current trajectory, I expect Covid will be mostly gone by April, allowing Americans to resume normal life.
Funny how this is not headlining the news, isn’t it?
Makary goes on to make some more interesting observations.
Natural immunity is almost certainly underestimated.
Antibody studies almost certainly underestimate natural immunity. Antibody testing doesn’t capture antigen-specific T-cells, which develop “memory” once they are activated by the virus. Survivors of the 1918 Spanish flu were found in 2008—90 years later—to have memory cells still able to produce neutralizing antibodies.
Researchers at Sweden’s Karolinska Institute found that the percentage of people mounting a T-cell response after mild or asymptomatic Covid-19 infection consistently exceeded the percentage with detectable antibodies. T-cell immunity was even present in people who were exposed to infected family members but never developed symptoms. A group of U.K. scientists in September pointed out that the medical community may be under-appreciating the prevalence of immunity from activated T-cells.
Covid-19 deaths in the U.S. would also suggest much broader immunity than recognized. About 1 in 600 Americans has died of Covid-19, which translates to a population fatality rate of about 0.15%. The Covid-19 infection fatality rate is about 0.23%. These numbers indicate that roughly two-thirds of the U.S. population has had the infection.
That the same trend is seen in Florida, which is so beset with the “new” strains of China virus emanating from Great Britain that Joe Biden has threatened to put the state under economic sanctions, see Joe Biden’s Threat to Restrict Travel to Florida Is Stupid, Illegal and Counterproductive but That Doesn’t Mean He Won’t Do It.
What would account for this unforeseen and massive drop in Wuhan virus cases?
But the consistent and rapid decline in daily cases since Jan. 8 can be explained only by natural immunity. Behavior didn’t suddenly improve over the holidays; Americans traveled more over Christmas than they had since March. Vaccines also don’t explain the steep decline in January. Vaccination rates were low and they take weeks to kick in.
My prediction that Covid-19 will be mostly gone by April is based on laboratory data, mathematical data, published literature and conversations with experts. But it’s also based on direct observation of how hard testing has been to get, especially for the poor. If you live in a wealthy community where worried people are vigilant about getting tested, you might think that most infections are captured by testing. But if you have seen the many barriers to testing for low-income Americans, you might think that very few infections have been captured at testing centers. Keep in mind that most infections are asymptomatic, which still triggers natural immunity.
Many experts, along with politicians and journalists, are afraid to talk about herd immunity. The term has political overtones because some suggested the U.S. simply let Covid rip to achieve herd immunity. That was a reckless idea. But herd immunity is the inevitable result of viral spread and vaccination. When the chain of virus transmission has been broken in multiple places, it’s harder for it to spread—and that includes the new strains.
So all those people who’ve survived the virus, with and without symptoms, now have long-term immunity. That, it would seem to a layperson, is a critical piece of information someone in authority should be making a big deal about. I don’t know what it means to “simply let Covid rip” means, exactly, but the same “observational” data that convinced Dr. Maraky to say that the virus is about to burn itself out would have to credit this comparison of Florida’s outcomes, where there are minimal state restrictions on civil liberties, to the ten most fascist states:
Some medical experts privately agreed with my prediction that there may be very little Covid-19 by April but suggested that I not to talk publicly about herd immunity because people might become complacent and fail to take precautions or might decline the vaccine. But scientists shouldn’t try to manipulate the public by hiding the truth. As we encourage everyone to get a vaccine, we also need to reopen schools and society to limit the damage of closures and prolonged isolation. Contingency planning for an open economy by April can deliver hope to those in despair and to those who have made large personal sacrifices.
Right on all counts. Following Dr. Maraky’s recommendation would save lives as vaccines would be pushed to the most vulnerable populations. Previously infected persons would be seen as a net-plus in risk evaluation. Businesses and schools would reopen ASAP. The burgeoning mental health problem, particularly among adolescents, would be brought to an end. And that is what would happen if the desired outcome of this contrived panic was a return to the status quo. But that isn’t the establishment agenda. The pandemic is being used as a stalking horse for all manner of changes to society, all of which erode the autonomy of the individual and increase the power of the state. Because of that, this nonsense will persist until the American people have finally decided that they have had enough and refuse to play along.