Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Tyler Cohen - Not Even Herd Immunity Can Fully Protect Us

If some areas get immunity against Covid-19 sooner than expected, the world still faces huge challenges.

Opinion by Tyler Cohen, professor of economics at George Mason University,

Herd immunity relies on the superspreaders becoming immune, but new superspreaders are likely to arise.

But there are caveats. First, many herd immunity hypotheses invoke the idea of “superspreaders” — that a relatively small number of people account for a disproportionate amount of the contagion. Perhaps it is the bartenders, church choir singers and bus drivers who spread the virus to so many others early on in the pandemic. Now that those groups have been exposed to a high degree and have acquired immunity, it might be much harder to distribute the virus.

That logic makes some sense except for one issue: namely, that the identities of potential superspreaders can change over time. For instance, perhaps choir singers were superspreaders earlier in the winter, but with most choral singing shut down, maybe TSA security guards are the new superspreaders. After all, air travel has been rising steadily. Or the onset of winter and colder weather might make waiters a new set of superspreaders, as more people dine inside.

In other words, herd immunity might be a temporary state of affairs. The very economic and social changes brought by the virus may induce a rotation of potential superspreaders, thereby undoing some of the acquired protection.


Tyler Cohen - Not Even Herd Immunity Can Fully Protect Us


Ralph Musgrave said...

Herd immunity relies on superspreaders becoming immune??? News to me. It relies on an increased proportion of the population becoming immune via mother nature's usual way of achieveing this. That is peoples' immune system learns to deal with the problem.

Thus even if the number of superspreaders does not decline, the increased immunity enjoyed by the population in general will cut the severity of the problem.

I heard something on the news recently to the effect that a surprisingly high proportion of the population (about 25% I think) have had the disease, but their immune systems were sufficiently on the ball that they only suffered a minor inconvenience. Those people will now be permanently immune.

NeilW said...

The Covid-19 epidemic has been over in the UK for two months. The number of deaths has returned to normal for the time of year. PHE has admitted they have overestimated number by some 5000 deaths.

The media mind virus, on the other hand, has a way to go before some people become immune to it.

We're back to Galbraith.

"Faced with the choice between changing one's mind and proving that there is no need to do so, almost everyone gets busy on the proof"

NeilW said...
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NeilW said...

Florence Nightinglae Diagramss of UK deaths

lastgreek said...

No Economy for Dead People (ok, ok, i borrowed that from the Coen brothers :) )

Also, as Dr Daniel Griffin, a clinician in a New York hospital who has been treating covid patients since the start of the pandemic, mentioned last week in his weekly interview on TWiV: Let us not focus only on the cases and deaths but also on the covid-related illnesses that linger on.

Matt Franko said...

“ "Faced with the choice between changing one's mind and proving that there is no need to do so, almost everyone gets busy on the proof"

It continues to amaze me how many of these rigorously liberal educated people do not exhibit any understanding of their own methodology....

lastgreek said...

"It’s a bad cold being overhyped by Trump deranged hypochondriacs...."


5,000,000 + cases

165,000 + deaths

"It's a bad cold..."

How many of us here think that Matt works in a hospital? Anyone?


Matt Franko said...

Matt Franko said...

There is a rule of thumb in communication it goes:

3 Steps:

1. Tell them what you’re going to tell them
2. Tell them
3 . Tell them what you told them

It’s like in most liberal education they skip steps 1 and 3 ...only do step 2 on the students... no context ever provided...

Andrew Anderson said...

Karl Denninger says it's almost over:

Andrew Anderson said...
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Andrew Anderson said...

corrected link:

Peter Pan said...

It ain't over until our corrupt rulers say its over.

S400 said...

“There is a rule of thumb in communication”

What you tell them has to be understandable and not just gibberish. Repeating gibberish under that thumb rule is useless.