Monday, October 19, 2020

Response to herd immunity post.

I made these comments in response to the notion that the way to fight COVID is for enough people to get the disease to develop herd immunity. It was claimed that the death rate in New York has gone to almost zero... We can look at stats here: As of today, New York state has 892 new cases compared to 1584 cases for Indiana, despite New York having roughly 3 times the population. The total death rate in New York compared to cases is 6.4%. The total death rate in Indiana is 2.65%, which matches the US rate. However, in both states, if you compare deaths to recovered+deaths, which reflects the total number of resolved cases, then you get a higher percentage because this factors out unresolved cases. In New York, I get 7.5%, and in Indiana, we get 3.5%, and for the whole country, we get 4.1% If you compare new deaths to new cases, then you get 1.55% for New York and 1.45% in Indiana. Since these are only one-day figures, the numbers could be way off, but this is a long way from zero. You could attribute lower death rates due to better health treatments. Early death rates were spiked by mismanagement, especially in New York. It is not proven that the number of new cases in New York is is lower due to herd immunity, especially since only about 2.5% of the population has been infected. New York has been in lockdown for months, and they have been stricter than most states. It has been claimed that there are a larger number of asymptomatic cases, and there likely is, but I don't think that we have good evidence of what that is. The World Health Organization thinks that 1/10 people have been infected, but that still leaves 90% of the population who can spread the disease. The most optimistic projection that I have seen for the death rate of COVID is around 0.7%. This comes from the CDC. Infect 300 million people and you still have 2 million deaths.

We are so close to a vaccine that we should be trying to prevent more people from getting sick and dying.


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