Face masks, lock downs forever: Won’t reach herd immunity until well into 2022, says expert

Ali H. Mokdad, a professor of Health Metrics Sciences at the institute, estimates 85% of the population would need immunity to the virus to achieve herd immunity because it is so contagious. But only about 65% are likely to have immunity by the winter, he said, because children younger than 16 aren’t currently eligible for the vaccine and many Americans don’t want to take it. More contagious variants of the virus that may evade some of the vaccines’ protection add to the concerns.

“We will reach herd immunity, but not before this winter,” Mokdad said. He expects the virus to subside over the summer and fall but to return in winter again with the onset of cold, drier weather more favorable to its spread. It’s unlikely to drive a surge as bad as last winter’s, he said, but it’s likely that health officials will need to reimpose travel and mask requirements and restrictions on gathering.

Source: Gov. Newsom: COVID herd immunity ‘illusory.’ Is he right?

List of numerous studies finding lock downs mostly ineffective

As noted here previously, lock downs may have some usefulness if applied very early – but cannot be implemented for long periods of time, and generally not over huge geographic areas.

Simple point: In the U.S., 71% of the workforce is declared “essential”. We still need food, water, electricity, health care – plus all the support services necessary to keep those running – including agricultural, trucking/transportation, vehicle repair, specialized manufacturing and so on. To keep society functioning – and avoiding other problems that would develop – requires that many people continue to work.

To illustrate how difficult it is to truly “lock down”, I read long ago that most towns have at most three days worth of food on grocery story shelves, in local warehouse distribution centers, and on incoming trucks. After that, we run out of food (except for those that stockpile inventories at home).

For practical reasons, lock downs are not a sustainable solution.

This seems plausible

The national data does seem to be flattening out so the above seems possible; time will tell.

Update April 18, 2021:

Update Apr 19 from another data scientist:

I do not make predictions. I am a brain injured idiot with no relevant experience. I make observations and ask stupid questions.

Assessing the Age Specificity of Infection Fatality Rates for COVID-19

Discussion

These results indicate that COVID-19 is hazardous not only for the elderly but also for middle-aged adults, for whom the infection fatality rate is two orders of magnitude greater than the annualized risk of a fatal automobile accident and far more dangerous than seasonal influenza. Moreover, the overall IFR for COVID-19 should not be viewed as a fixed parameter but as intrinsically linked to the age-specific pattern of infections. Consequently, public health measures to mitigate infections in older adults could substantially decrease total deaths.

Source: Assessing the Age Specificity of Infection Fatality Rates for COVID-19: Systematic Review, Meta-Analysis, and Public Policy Implications | medRxiv

All infectious disease data is biased by how or if data is collected. Presently, we encourage testing of everyone with or without symptoms, even without potential contacts.

Similarly, when someone dies today, they are frequently tested for Covid-19. (If you go into the hospital for anything you will likely be tested for Covid-19).

We’ve never tested for any prior disease with the intensity we are testing for Covid-19.

A study of elderly patients who died in Spain in 2016-2017 found that only 7% had been diagnosed with any infectious disease prior to death – but when they were tested post death, 18% tested positive for influenza virus and 47% to some respiratory virus. This suggests many deaths from influenza or other viruses are not recorded as deaths due to flu or the other virus detected.

Which states did well until they did not do well?

This map shows which states have had a low case count/100K population so far. These states are in the PNW, New England (blue colored states), and also VA, GA, CO, PA and MI. Map from US News.

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Next, look at where case counts are climbing – the PNW, MI (light green above) and New England, plus Colorado (light green, above). Chart from Reuters.

Really bad states – ND, SD for example – are now staying at low levels (at least so far).

The rough (but not definite) pattern is that states that did very poorly are now doing well, and states that did very well, are now doing poorly or are just beginning to do poorly.

Guess NPIs do not work then?

Given time, every place ends up at the same destination, regardless of what they chose to do with many mitigations or few mitigations.

My own state is next on the list – having kept it kind of under control, with perhaps 1/3d the cases/100k of many other states, we now find cases rising rapidly.

Oregon has had among the strictest mitigation measures of any state, for the longest period of time. Just like Vermont, which had low cases for 9 months – until they didn’t, Oregon is now going down the same path. All those measures, at best, delayed the inevitable. As the linked article notes, Oregon, unlike other states, is making some rules permanent – with not declaration of what goals must be reached to lift them.

We might get lucky and vaccines will keep this 4th wave as a ripple. 49% of adults in my county now have least one vaccine dose on board, and 32% have two doses on board.

Yet, my county is blowing out of control right now.

The “experts” blame “non-compliance” but they make that up. Cases go up – must be non-compliance. Cases go down, must be compliance. But that is based on the assumption that their mitigations have any effects at all, which has not be shown true, by data.

(Update – I am convinced mitigation measures have little to no impact over the long term. We all wish they had a positive impact so we persist in doing them, over and over again, in spite of mountains of data showing they generally do not work, or work very poorly. This is not good for the field of public health – as they no longer have any credibility. Their response will be to blame the public, rather than ask serious questions about their own flawed assumptions.)

My best guess, based on observing the data, is that herd effects begun to take hold around 30+/-% have antibodies, slowing the growth. This is not population immunity – but a slowing in growth rates. Thus, with 32% being fully vaccinated plus another overlapping % who have natural immunity, my county might by knocking this off just in the nick of time.

Remember, I am a brain injured idiot with no relevant experience. I make observations and ask stupid questions.

Public health “experts” have lost the narrative

Public health “experts” have been wrong about so much for a  year that they no longer have credibility. They also lack any self awareness to look back at past recommendations that failed, or even be aware of why few believe them anymore.

Some people say they’re losing faith in the orders, while experts say more should be following the rules.

Lansing resident Matthew Moorer said, “Trying to get a two-year-old? I mean, he’s almost one and he doesn’t even know how to walk yet. Let alone to keep a mask on his face at all times to keep everybody safe? That’s a little much.”

Source: Parents, healthcare workers react to Michigan’s new mask mandate

The “rules” are different from state to state, often significantly, yet there is often little difference in outcome. People see this every day. The public health restrictions are literally random – with random outcomes.

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