The Corner

Health Care

Herd Immunity: Is 20 Percent the Number?

The question of herd immunity is one among the many issues running throughout the debate over the response to COVID-19 for months now.

The data in London, Stockholm, and New York City all have something profound in common: Prevalence of cases reaching or exceeding 20 percent seems to lead to significant burn-out in rapid order, in very similar patterns and timelines (within these three major world cities). A higher infection rate in New York versus other U.S. states remains the most plausible explanation I can find for why New York has seen no case growth increase after their widespread protests and gatherings of about five weeks ago compared to other states with, up to then, a much lower incidence of the disease.

I am more and more convinced (and possibly the markets are, too) that the threshold for herd immunity in a practical sense is much lower than we previously believed. In line with the preceding paragraph, it’s worth reading this article, authored by Paul W. Franks (Professor of Genetic Epidemiology at Lund University) and Joacim Rocklöv (Professor of Epidemiology at Umeå University), which notes the possibility that this lower (20 percent) threshold may exist, although it comes with an important caveat: “it applies to only some communities, depending on interactions between many genetic, immunological, behavioural and environmental factors, as well as the prevalence of pre-existing diseases”.

Most Popular

Elections

On Kamala Harris

Joe Biden has named his 2020 running mate: authoritarianism. American prosecutors wield awesome and terrible powers that lend themselves easily to abuse, and Senator Kamala Harris, formerly the attorney general of California, is an enthusiastic abuser of them. Harris was a leader in the junta of Democratic ... Read More
Elections

On Kamala Harris

Joe Biden has named his 2020 running mate: authoritarianism. American prosecutors wield awesome and terrible powers that lend themselves easily to abuse, and Senator Kamala Harris, formerly the attorney general of California, is an enthusiastic abuser of them. Harris was a leader in the junta of Democratic ... Read More
Elections

Kamala Harris’s Anti-Catholic Bigotry

Someone might want to remind Joe Biden, who’s just picked progressive California senator Kamala Harris as his running mate, that his vice-president-to-be believes Catholics are unfit to serve in our nation’s courts. (Biden, of course, as I considered at length on the homepage today, has spent his entire ... Read More
Elections

Kamala Harris’s Anti-Catholic Bigotry

Someone might want to remind Joe Biden, who’s just picked progressive California senator Kamala Harris as his running mate, that his vice-president-to-be believes Catholics are unfit to serve in our nation’s courts. (Biden, of course, as I considered at length on the homepage today, has spent his entire ... Read More

The Anarchist Storm over Portland

Stephen Peifer, a retired assistant U.S. attorney in Portland, Ore., sat down with National Review’s Luther Abel to discuss the state’s long and infamous struggle with left-wing extremist groups, why federal officers were deployed to Portland, and what makes the current situation in the city uniquely ... Read More

The Anarchist Storm over Portland

Stephen Peifer, a retired assistant U.S. attorney in Portland, Ore., sat down with National Review’s Luther Abel to discuss the state’s long and infamous struggle with left-wing extremist groups, why federal officers were deployed to Portland, and what makes the current situation in the city uniquely ... Read More
U.S.

New York City’s Downward Spiral

New York City must be one of the few places on earth where chaos nostalgia is widespread. Many were the laments, in the Giuliani-Bloomberg era, that the city was “too sanitized,” “too gentrified,” “too boring,” “anodyne,” “suburban.” Often you’d hear people saying, or declaiming, that their ... Read More
U.S.

New York City’s Downward Spiral

New York City must be one of the few places on earth where chaos nostalgia is widespread. Many were the laments, in the Giuliani-Bloomberg era, that the city was “too sanitized,” “too gentrified,” “too boring,” “anodyne,” “suburban.” Often you’d hear people saying, or declaiming, that their ... Read More