Herd Immunity V. Herd Mentality

During his ABC Nwes Town Hall with undecided voters, Donald Trump discussed his Cov-19 policy mistakenly (or maybe not) saying he wanted to create “herd mentality.” Perhaps he did mean to say “herd immunity” or perhaps he just doesn’t know the difference. There is, however, a distinct difference:

Herd Mentality describes how people can be influenced by their peers to adopt certain behaviors on a largely emotional, rather than rational, basis. When individuals are affected by mob mentality, they may make different decisions than they would have individually.

That definition sounds like most of Trump’s followers.

This is the definition of ‘herd immunity”:

Herd Immunity is a form of indirect protection from infectious disease that occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population has become immune to an infection, whether through vaccination or previous infections, thereby reducing the likelihood of infection for individuals who lack immunity.

Trump would like you to believe that this is a good idea. It is but only if you have an effective vaccine which we do not at this point. Trump is ignoring his the advise of his own experts to wear a mask, socially distance and stay out of crowds. He has even brought in his own “expert” a doctor who has no background in immunology or epidemiology, Dr. Scott Atlas, a neuro-radiolologist who used to be at Stanford University in California. Yes, he takes MRI’s of the brain. Most recently, Dr. Atlas had turned to be a purveyor of false information on Fox News about CoVid-19, its prevention and spread, pushing herd immunity without a vaccine.

So why is that so bad? It’s bad because of the mortality rate of CoVid-19 which, with the current number of infections and deaths in the US, is nearly 3%. That’s high. To achieve herd immunity 60% to 70% of the population must somehow develop antibodies to the disease either through a vaccine or the disease itself.

The population of the US is 328.2 million. Between 229.7 million and 196.9 million would need to be infected with CoVid-19. With a 3% mortality rate that would result in between 6.8 million and 5.1 million Americans dying. This is what Trump, Atlas and their ignorant acolytes are proposing. That is frightening.

The other huge problem is the experts aren’t sure herd immunity can be achieved with CoVid-19. Form the Mayo Clinic:

there are some major problems with relying on community infection to create herd immunity to the virus that causes COVID-19. First, it isn’t yet clear if infection with the COVID-19 virus makes a person immune to future infection.

Research suggests that after infection with some coronaviruses, reinfection with the same virus — though usually mild and only happening in a fraction of people — is possible after a period of months or years. Further research is needed to determine the protective effect of antibodies to the virus in those who have been infected.

On her MSNBC show, Rachel Maddow walked through the qualifications of Dr. Atlas who gave Trump that idea and why he has no idea what he’s talking about. In the first video, Rachel showed side-by-side examples of the recommendations sent to states with growing COVID-19 infections and how they have changed since Dr. Anthony Fauci is no longer Trump’s chief adviser on the virus.

In the second part, she goes through the numbers:

Even if there were effective medication and treatment, millions would still die. That doesn’t even take into consideration the millions who will struggle with heart inflammation, will need lung transplants, may lose all sense of taste or smell or suffer from other coronavirus after-affects. I didn’t even discuss the overwhelming impact on our hospitals. This is what Trump is telling the American people and the world. Sadly, there are enough people suffering from herd mentality to believe this deadly propaganda.