The Elusive “Herd Immunity”

Living with Coronavirus
Sunday October 10th, 2021
4:48 AM

It is my contention at this juncture that we are fast approaching the much lauded “Herd Immunity”.  Trend lines are down globally, and have been trending down now for three weeks.  The only up in my numbers are local deaths here in Maine, which are the result of people losing long fights against the virus here.  People who spent considerable time on ventilators.  This is why deaths lag.  Covid is not a quick, “clean” death, it is a slow torturous one. 

Consider this fraction:
Total Global Vaccines administered                         6,446,679,796
Current World Population Counter                          7,898,818,957

This indicates that about 6.4 out of 7.8 billion humans have had at least one dose of a vaccine.  One dose gives you 50-65% resistance to serious disease. Two doses push those numbers well into the 90’s for most folks.  This shows that most humans now have some resistance to the worst aspects of the disease created by the virus.  That is good news indeed, but not the end of the war.

Vaccines do not protect against infection; they prevent and reduce the chance of death and serious illness from infection.  Serious disease is where all virus is thickest, they sicker you are the more virus you are shedding.  That is not saying you are not infectious if you have no symptoms, rather the opposite.  This particular virus is good at spreading without any symptoms (asymptomatic).

The numbers show the virus has a lot less room to spread easily.  That is herd immunity.  If everyone was vaccinated, the amount of virus the virus shed when people were infected would be less.  Making it less likely to be caught by others over time. Like a line of dominoes falling, there is less and less space for the virus to thrive in.  “Herd Immunity” is nothing of the sort, it is not an immunity of any sort.  It is the cascading effect of everyone being somewhat resistant to the virus.  With nowhere to bloom, the virus spreads much more slowly, and with slow spread and resistance society won’t see the effect, it will seem like it just went away. 

Our biggest concerns going forward are the same as they have been.  Vaccinate, mask and distance in public.  Not because of your health concerns, or even concern for others.  Do these things to deny the virus anywhere to set up camp.  To deny the virus breeding room.  Our biggest threat is complacency and distrust of science itself, oft through political and/or religious ideologies and conspiracy theories.  People, affected by these things, refuse to mask or distance and become belligerent or even violent and provide ample and fertile ground for the virus to breed and mutate further.

That is the very real threat which remains, a further mutation which is unaffected by the vaccines.  Then the world would have to start all over again.  This is where complacency comes in.  The last 1.5 billion of us are the hardest groups to vaccinate.  They are often remote, or themselves resistant to being vaccinated.  We may never get them all vaccinated as we did with Polio, because the modern world’s social media is more viral than the virus and convinces many not to trust vaccines, not to trust science, and not to trust their own governments.

Global Infected      234,753,029                   237,618,968                       
Increase             2,865,939
7-day average        409,419 infections diagnosed daily –DOWN
Global Dead          4,799,766                                          4,848,199
Increase             48,433
7-day average        6,919 deaths daily –DOWN

USA Infected         43,667,885                                       44,317,553
Increase             649,668
7-day average        92,809 infections diagnosed daily –DOWN

USA C-19 deaths      700,975                                         712,974
Increase             11,999
7-day average        1,714 deaths daily –DOWN

Maine Infected       91,468                                             94,948                                                  
Increase             3,480
7-day average         611 infections diagnosed daily –Down

Maine deaths         1,026                                                1,075
Increase             49
7-day average        7 deaths daily –UP

While I sat in my hilltop retreat another 48,433 of my fellow humans died from Covid, of those 11,999 were my fellow Americans, and of those 49 were my fellow Mainers.

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