“Natural” Herd Immunity in the US

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A number of people think that we should simply let COVID-19 take its course without intervention. Aside from the fact that it would completely destroy our healthcare system, just look at the numbers of what that would mean.

The US population is 328,200,000. Assuming that we would need about 70% of the population to become infected to get herd immunity, that would be about 229,740,000 Americans would have to become infected.

The most recent estimate I could find of the case fatality rate in the US was published on May 7. The authors placed it at 1.3% (95% central credible interval: 0.6% to 2.1%).

Let this sink in. It means we would need to sacrifice 2,986,620 Americans to reach herd immunity (95% central credible interval 1,378,440 to 4,824,540).

I really hope people don’t realize what they are saying when they say the disease should just take its natural course. I don’t even know what to think of them if they do, but to put it in perspective, about 6 million Jews were killed during the Holocaust. Are people really saying that they think that an event half that scale is acceptable? I simply cannot wrap my head around that.


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