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There Will Be NO Population Immunity for CV-19

By June 14, 2022Commentary

Herd immunity, or what I refer to as population immunity because I would like to believe we aren’t animals, is the notion that at some point enough of a population will have immunity  to a pathogen so that transmission stops or occurs at a very low level.  This immunity, which is referred to as adaptive immunity, might arise from the response of the immune system to an infection, or in modern times it might occur through vaccination which prompts an immune response to some or all of the pathogen”s components.  In the early part of the CV-19 epidemic our woefully inept public health experts were claiming that population immunity might occur at a level of 70% to 80% of the population having been infected.

A new study of blood donors in the Journal of the American Medical Association estimates that by December of 2021 the prevalence of CV-19 antibodies in the population was 95%.   Despite this, we have since then had a massive Omicron wave, which continues through today.   (JAMA Article)    It should now be apparent to everyone, including those incompetent public health officials, that there is no such thing as population immunity to CV-19 infection.   Everyone is going to be repeatedly exposed and likely infected, just as we are with seasonal coronaviruses and multiple other pathogens.  Why does this happen?  It is actually pretty obvious.

We are dealing with a respiratory virus.  We all breathe all the time.  We have a very poor understanding of, and seriously underestimate, the ability of these viruses to persist in the environment and travel over extended distances.  They also have multiple animal reservoirs.   They mutate frequently due to the number of replication events.  Constant exposure is likely.  In my epidemic presentation, I always talk about the micro-level and the macro-level.  At the micro-level, exposure in a person with adaptive immunity does not mean that there will be no infection.  Adaptive immunity, whether derived from infection or vaccination, primes the immune system to recognize a particular pathogen and to react rapidly to exposure.  It does not prevent exposure.  If you breathe, you can be exposed.  And a person can become “infected”, meaning the virus manages to get inside a cell and begin replicating, any time they are exposed.  And because most CV-19 infections are incredibly mild, our immune system’s are smart enough to not go overboard in creating a defense.  They aren’t going to waste limited resources defending against a pathogen that isn’t life-threatening.

A person with adaptive immunity, however, should have a good response to each exposure resulting in an infection.  Antibodies, T cells and other immune components should quickly clear the infection and limit serious disease.  And we see that at this point in the epidemic most infections are at worst a cold.  The level of hospitalizations and deaths is grossly exaggerated by calling anyone with a positive test any time prior to their hospitalization or death a CV-19 event.  The current circulating CV-19 variants are very mild, akin to the other seasonal coronavirus.  I believe there is every reason to think this is the fifth common circulating coronavirus.  And the other four probably went through the same process of being a substantial epidemic until humans developed enough adaptive immunity to limit serious disease.

So we are not going to ever have population immunity in the classic sense–CV-19 will be with us, and we already have adapted to it.  We should be pleased with that.  Enough of us have some form of immunity that we are unlikely to see significant amounts of serious disease.  And all those re-exposures will keep our immune system well-primed.  So let’s stop with the crazy testing and reporting and promoting endless doses of vaccine.

Join the discussion 3 Comments

  • Variant says:

    Early on, I had hope that COVID would mutate slowly enough that a more traditional ‘herd immunity’ would play a significant role in stopping its spread. Early on we thought prevalence numbers far lower than 80% would be enough.

    While that was obviously off, we’ve gotten a certain level of community resistance through both natural infection and vaccination that one hopes we won’t see death numbers as we did in 2020/2021. Should also give other viruses a chance to stage a comeback, for better or worse.

  • Alex says:

    Sound advice. Too bad the bozos in charge won’t listen. They’re too busy pretending they can still ‘slow the spread’ and protect against hospitalizations.

  • alan says:

    I think the concept of herd immunity needs more reflection. In the setting of an epidemic, the observation of a herd’s “immunity” refers to the roughly bell-shaped curve of the prevalence of symptomatic disease in a population following exposure to the antigen or induction of an antibody. It is a valid observation, but a crude one. It does not mean the exposed population is subsequently hermetically sealed off from further exposure, sickness or even death from the pathogen. Immunity is not total or even permanent from a mutating pathogen. The fact that there was subsequent infection from Omicron does not nullify the concept of herd immunity. It suggests that the bug was sufficiently different to represent a novel pathogenic challenge. Herd immunity is an old concept and predates our ability to identify and characterize unique epitopes. Trees do not grow to the sky and most respiratory pathogens do not wipe out an entire population. Susceptible individuals are culled and the “strong”(the young and immunologically resilient) remain as the bug moves through a population. This is what the concept of herd immunity describes. Thank you for your thoughtful reports throughout the “crisis”, a boutique-crafted calamity compounded by our veneration of technocrats and our love/hate relationship with the all-powerful nanny state.

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