Two days ago I blogged about why I believe that the US has herd immunity in NY, NJ, FL, AZ, and LA. While this is not completely confirmed and I am still getting some pushback from people who think I am promoting recklessness or the Republican agenda (I promise I am about the furthest thing from doing either), the idea that the US is on it’s way to herd immunity is now becoming accepted. MIT’s news publication, The Tech, now seems confident that immunity is happening and NYT is gingerly broaching the subject. Although, the NYT seems to once again be blaming scientists for not knowing this. This scientist knew it- and so did many others- so stop throwing scientists under the bus NYT. It is the media that is getting it all wrong, not us, despite you “quoting” us for your agenda de jour. More on that in a future blog post.
Anyway, Let’s say herd immunity is happening. What does that mean for people in a practical sense?
1. See how close your region is to immunity:
You can use the interactive map below to see how close your area is to immunity and to slowing down of cases. If your region of the US is at all populated but not yet at immunity levels, you can probably expect things to get worse before they get better. Below is an interactive map created by John’s Hopkin’s University by county. The very darkest purple regions are likely immune. Feel free to check out your area. Some notably immune cities include Boston, NYC, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, Houston, Miami, New Orleans, Atlanta, and San Diego and others. Some other cities are not there yet- like San Francisco, Seattle, Pittsburgh, and Ann Arbor (I’m looking at you friends). But I think everywhere will have an eventual increase in cases until they get to immunity level, with the possible exception of really spread out places in, say, parts of Montana.
2. My region looks to be at immunity levels. What do I do with that information?
First of all this IS NOT a free pass to party. Or if you want to party, do it with a mask on, outside, six feet away from other humans.
Herd immunity DOES NOT = safe. At least not for a while. New cases need to drop to zero for it to be completely safe and that hasn’t happened anywhere yet. But you know, if you want to have a little socially distanced champagne, I think that seems pretty in order.
What else? I actually think this is a good reason NOT to reopen schools this semester. We only have a few months to go. We can wait one semester in order to not kill grandma by laying a COVID smooch on her over Thanksgiving and not put our teachers and professors at risk. The first week of school experiment has so far gone horribly. The most pediatric hospital admissions of all times in AZ, high schools getting completely infected and shutting down in the first few days of classes in GA, whole sororities under quarantine. It’s not working out folks despite what the Pediatricians said we should do (WTF btw- their statement was exaggerated but still). Shaking my head at that one.
Other than that, be happy, see an end in sight—–and SIT ON YOUR HANDS UNTIL THE CASES COMPLETELY DROP!
3. My region looks to be not yet at immunity levels. What do I do with that information?
Your cases will go up. I don’t care how careful you think people are being with masks etc. There is no stopping this thing unless you totally fucking shut down again and that is not going to happen. This is the most dangerous month of the whole pandemic for you. Take it the fuck seriously.
This is an even better reason to NOT open schools. I’m looking at you Universities of Pittsburgh and Michigan and CMU (my alma maters). You are all pink and poised and ready to explode with COVID cases right as school starts. Can we just once, one time, in this pandemic do something appropriately preventative? Please.
4. What does this mean for the future? How long will immunity last?
Well the fake science news has insisted that antibodies won’t last long, probably to trick people into distancing and mask wearing just like they lied about masks to manipulate people in the beginning of the pandemic. But according to this review in the number one science journal in the world, Nature, (see it’s so famous that it is just called Nature- that’s like having the twitter handle “@John” or something- it’s super OG), scientists are pretty optimistic about immunity lasting for a while.
“Several major media outlets reported this as a loss of immunity, saying that it would complicate vaccine efforts. Many immunologists found that declaration a bit premature, however. The data showed a perfectly normal response to a viral infection, says Luis Barreiro at the University of Chicago in Illinois, who studies the evolution of immune responses to pathogens. When a virus attacks, it spurs the proliferation of B cells that produce antibodies capable of recognizing pieces of the virus. But once the infection is gone, antibody levels typically wane. “There is a lot of fear out there,” says Miles Carroll, an infectious-disease specialist with Public Health England in Porton Down, UK. “But I think, on the whole, that it’s a fairly robust immune response.”
See the NYT and Fox News are NOT peer reviewed science journals. They can quote whatever scientist they want- that doesn’t mean that the scientist actually said that or that they actually said that without a bunch of caveats. Please STOP using scientists as pawns for your political games @lay media- it’s fucked up and dangerous. Also, don’t believe anything you read in the lay press about science @public without fact checking it in a peer reviewed science journal yourself. Anyway, I digress. Nature is a more reliable source of information and those scientists seem to think it’s likely immunity is going to last long enough to protect us for some time, hopefully until we get a vaccine. But we still need to wait and see.
5. What does that mean about our past strategy for COVID?
It sucked. It was an absolute horrific disaster. Sooo many more people died than should have. Ok so let’s talk about NYC. NYC should have shut down ten days earlier, when SF did. This would have saved 25,000 lives- don’t get it twisted- Cuomo and De Blasio killed 25,000 people with their hubris and inability to listen to experts. Here is another fun NYC fact- at the time they did shut down- it was for nothing. It was too late at that point. Everyone was already infected. NYC spent five long, painful, economically crippling months of misery for no reason. The max people would have died regardless. They were herd immune by May 1st.
On that super uplifting note- go get your masked, distanced, champagne on. Cheers America!