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My understanding is that the term "herd immunity" normally and routinely is used to refer to situations where, by vaccination, enough of the population has (at least partial) immunity, so that the effective reproduction number is reduced to less than 1.

The key is in the words "by vaccination," because the term is generally used to promote immunity by vaccination. Reducing the reproduction number by that mechanism is desirable, and it is important to encourage people to get vaccinated in order to achieve herd immunity. So in the context of immunization programs, herd immunity is a good thing.

It is also the case that you can achieve herd immunity by letting people get sick and die, some of them. You also reduce the reproduction number by that method, but at a high social cost. So in the context of ruthless political manipulation, herd immunity is a bad thing.

In the case of the coronavirus, where there is no vaccine, the only way to manipulate the reproduction number is by social actions like social distancing and quarantines. One would hope that those actions are not along the lines of "let them get sick and die." I agree with that hope!

However, it seems to me that in using the words "herd immunity" to describe a cruel political strategy, one is using the words correctly in the technical sense but abusing them in the (potentially more important in the long term) overall sense.

It is not, I argue, a good idea to associate the idea of "bad" with "herd immunity," because doing so plays into the anti-vaxx strategy.

by asdf on Fri Mar 20th, 2020 at 04:10:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
... plays into the anti-vaxx strategy.

That's a long shot.

I have been clear from the start about the difference and considered to talk about "herd immunity" as option was callous and murderous. Do the math, it's quite simple.

On the other hand, to speak of "herd immunity" implies an immunization program up to the minimum percentile it takes effect.

For anti-vaxxers to mention "herd immunity" is ... ehh, heresy.

Global Warming - distance between America and Europe is steadily increasing.

by Oui on Fri Mar 20th, 2020 at 05:12:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Correct. Their approach is to spread lots of incorrect and misleading info about the whole topic. I'm suggesting not feeding their strategy.
by asdf on Fri Mar 20th, 2020 at 05:34:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
How will that help 41 WHO.int vaccine candidates validate "field trials" claiming clinical or statistical "controls"? Take the case of DRC running at least 4 concurrently, for example. What did you learn?
DRAFT landscape of COVID-19candidate vaccines - 13 March 2020
by Cat on Fri Mar 20th, 2020 at 08:08:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If I understand the anti-vaxers correctly, they're quite happy to benefit from the herd immunity achieved through the efforts (or illnesses) of others, they're just not prepared to contribute to it. The classic individualistic Libertarian position where they take the benefits of society for granted, but don't want to be bound by any societal norms or contribute to the work of others which make "their freedoms" possible.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Mar 20th, 2020 at 08:14:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Most Grand Princess passengers in quarantine refused coronavirus tests --often at federal officials' urging

Good thing CDC isn't counting mil base "guests" or cruise passengers in its "estimates as a range" with limitations census of HERD IMMUNITY anyway.

by Cat on Fri Mar 20th, 2020 at 08:47:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]


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