Is Dr. Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, promoting a a valid strategy for fighting COVID-19 in asking us to “Flatten the Curve”?
Or, are we interfering with the natural process of building herd immunity?
Herd immunity refers to protection from an infectious disease in a population, and can be induced by vaccination or exposure to a pathogen.
Once sufficient numbers of people have built up antibodies to a specific germ, we’ve attained herd immunity, and the pathogen cannot spread like wildfire any longer.
If we were all to stay at home, we’d never build herd immunity. A virus would just keep circulating if even a few individuals remain infected and contagious, once the stay-at-home order is lifted.
While we can’t go to work, bring our kids to the playground, or worship publicly, we continue to shop at the supermarket.
Fox News’s Tucker Carlson rightly pointed out that everyone in a zip code goes to the same supermarket, and so all these efforts at social distancing are nullified in this act.
To further negate the effects of social distancing, in most instances, Mr. Carlson explained it’s a family member living under the same roof that returns home with the groceries.
While not a scientist, Tucker Carlson has been the nonpartisan voice of reasoned thought throughout this pandemic, questioning the popular narrative with logic and clarity of thought.
Of course, this is the opposite of the stated goal. But maybe it’s actually a good thing. Maybe home quarantines are useless, anyway.
Perhaps social distancing and handwashing alone are sufficiently effective strategies for fighting the virus.
Is there any valid scientific proof that a society-wide shutdown is what’s called for, or any precedent to this practice? The World Heath Organization doesn’t even agree that it’s effective.
After all, flattening the curve is not only lessening the peak of COVID-19, but it’s also extending its reign over our society, in terms of length of time the virus will be spreading.
The logic behind this idea is to keep vital medical resources from becoming overwhelmed. Of course,that’s a good strategy.
But what if an unconsidered side-effect of keeping COVID-19 circulating longer are mass unemployment, food shortages, bankruptcies, suicides from depression, and overall societal breakdown?
Since around 85% of people who contract COVID-19 are asymptomatic anyway, we may be unknowingly spreading the virus all around, and none of us ever even knowing this is the case.
In the future, perhaps even wearing a face mask in public might become a practice that no longer turns heads. After all, in areas of NYC where there are a high percentage of Asian people, like Flushing, Queens, many already do this in public, as they, or their family members, have dealt with similar outbreaks in Asia before.
But what if COVID-19 is transmissible through the eyes, as many airborne viruses are? Then, forcing citizens to wear face masks in public at risk of fines or worse, cannot be justified.
In the AJMC medical journal, in an article by Gianna Milillo, we find this statement, “…the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) observed that some reports suggest “the virus can cause conjunctivitis and possibly be transmitted by aerosol contact with conjunctiva.”
And, the eyes are wet, a perfect medium for wayward viral particles floating on the air to easily adhere to. So, goggle up. A mask may be insufficient protection.
And, what about washing hands? That’s actually always a good idea. It’s never going to stop being so. What we were taught in kindergarten was sound advice.
Good old soap and water, a thorough scrubbing, and hand sanitizer is not even needed. Do this 365 days a year, whether there’s a “bug going around” or not.
Why not return to the model that worked for ages, that is, keeping those vulnerable members of the population, such as the elderly, or individuals with serious pre-existing health conditions, away from crowds, while permitting the rest of us to carry on as usual?
Knut Wittkowski, Ph.D., the former head of the Department of Biostatistics, Epidemiology and Research Design at the Rockefeller University in New York City believes we should enact that strategy in a video interview with The Public Project.
“People are social, and even in times of social distancing, they have contacts; and any of those contacts could spread the disease,” Wittkowski rightly stated.
But is that really so bad?
According to the data, probably not. Wittkowski continues, “…”About 80% of the people need to have had contact with the virus, and the majority of them won’t even have recognized that they were infected, or they had very, very mild symptoms, especially if they are children.”
In following China’s lead, Dr. Wittkowski thinks we are following a failed strategy:
“We had two other SARS viruses before. Or, Coronavirus. It’s not the first coronavirus that comes out, and it won’t be the last. And for all respiratory diseases, we have the same type of an epidemic. If you leave it alone, it comes for two weeks, it peaks, and it goes for two weeks and it’s gone.”
The President should immediately, and with prejudice, end all stay-at-home quarantine orders for the general population.
Any governor or mayor resisting should be brought into line by the National Guard, much like the National Guard was used to enforce school integration.
This will be a reintegration of sorts, but not based along racial lines. Such an effort will be the enforced reintegration of all Americans into work and society.
If local or state leaders wish to keep us all from interacting publicly, and don’t feel like complying, there may not be a choice.
There is no scientific consensus among the experts that this the current approach is a valid means to ending this pandemic.
So what do we do? Which scientists and medical researchers are right?
Social scientists and economists know their disciplines. And, it’s clear to most of them that this is have unforeseen disastrous effects in those domains.
While Dr. Fauci’s intentions are good, this experiment in quarantining entire populations may be a failed one.
Waiting for a vaccine to be developed and deployed is ludicrous. By the time this happens, there may not be much of an economy left.
There are many research teams working furiously toward vaccines for COVID-19. There are even solutions in their final phases of testing.
But can we wait? This is not a game; if our political leaders take their cues from well-intentioned, but erroneous medical pundits relying on flawed models, the suffering that may ensue could dwarf the COVID-19 effects quite quickly.
As there isn’t complete scientific consensus among the experts, is this compelling reason to abrogate our inalienable civil rights guaranteed to us by the Constitution and Bill of Rights?
This is a good question.
Former Food and Drug Administration commissioner Scott Gottlieb believes that the Coronavirus is no joke:
“I think [that] given the profile of this virus, it’s likely it would have been far more deadly than the Spanish flu.”
This assessment is based on the notion that if COVID-19 had occurred in 1918, it would have been more devastating, as available medical technology at the time was insufficient to deal with patients requiring critical care services.
However, the Spanish flu did not pass over 85% of those infected, barely causing symptoms. Those infected were usually not spared, and there were fewer cases of “light” symptoms.
While sanitation has improved, as well as general knowledge about nutrition, it’s debatable whether these factors weigh so heavily, or if lack of available medical technology, like ventilators, would really have made such an impact on the death toll.
Most patients requiring mechanical ventilation did not make it, according to London’s Intensive Care National Audit and Research Centre. Only about 30% make it. The Lancet Respiratory Medicine Journal, the most respected medical journal on the topic, reported that up to 80% of U.S. patients die, even after intervention using a ventilator. And so, the Former FDA commissioner’s assessment is unsound.
The truth is, there are many perspectives and opinions on COVID-19, even among the experts. That is true for both the projected total number of casualties, as well as what measures must be taken to stem the spread and how society must change after the pandemic ends.
Whom should we believe? Only time will tell. But be cautious, think critically, and of course, be hesitant to yield our hard-won American freedoms at the mere suggestion of doom by a talking head, no matter how credentialed.
The logical fallacy of the the appeal to authority is a poor argument; ask question, and know there is no solid scientific consensus at this time.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo had this to say on former Mayor Giuliani’s radio program on 77WABC AM:
“All of the projections, by the way, all those statisticians have been 100 percent wrong at this point. And we’ve been following the models because that was the only blueprint, but they haven’t turned out to be correct…[it’s] Sort of like the old days when we tried to predict a storm by listening to the weather forecasts”