Herd Immunity, Modeling and Economic death

Muhammad Fakharuddin
6 min readApr 9, 2020
Photo by Alec Favale on Unsplash

By now most of us has already done PhD's on this virus; anything you tune into is only talking about only one thing that is the virus; well I have been contemplating this weird phenomenon as well which has locked humans around the globe (one third of world population are already under lock down).

In some places animal are taking over open spaces and is allowing earth to breath and repair as human rate of consumption has slowed down, maybe we don’t need to consume that much anyways.

My extrapolation is media has blown this virus to extra ordinary proportions; and have zoom into it that was not required; creating a trail of fear and anxiety; where one human is looking at other as a potential carrier; and to a point where Asian people are being hurled with hatred (as supposedly it originate in China)

No doubt it’s a pretty deadly virus and people are dying and suffering because of it, and every life is precious, that should be saved. But unfortunately, death is something which cannot be avoided and it’s an ultimate reality we will end up facing.

Compared to virus here are some other factors that accounts to higher number of deaths each year; and its necessary to put them into perspective as well; so, this year (by April 6th) there have been 657, 089 death because of alcohol; 281729 are suicides; 354649 death are traffic accidents.

Question is can we do anything to reduce those numbers; improve roads safety; do more vetting before handing out licenses; put a limit on alcohol consumption or figure out why some one is bound to take his life. We can do lots of things to protect those lives but instead we turn a blind eye to them as norms and moved on. Why? are those lives not important or media not banging it on our head about it.

Moving on to the vaccine part, there is a very low probability chemist would come up with something to solve this new virus crises in a small window is far-fetched; as the virus goes under mutation and it need a lots of research, studies and testing to develop a solution so they can hit out the virus rather than causing harm to the person; also effectiveness of the vaccine is another question because this is year alone (as of April 6th) we have 127752 flu death which we already have immunity against over the years and has vaccine to treat; but still so many loose their lives; Another concern we should have big pharma being rushed they should not put out a vaccine which is not properly test and would cause side affects later.

So, at the end of day your immune system is best bet against these impostors, which means keeping one self-healthy and avoid eating junk and processed food.

Back to question why Media and Governments are blowing this out of proportions; so assume if media start putting those number of deaths (we discussed above) on screen and counting each day people would go crazy as they are now; and would not want to leave their houses; with fear they would get into an accident or catch cold. Short answer is I don’t know.

Also of concern is how the mortality rate is recorded against the virus; which is not standard and followed differently in different countries, so you could die because of a pre-existing conditions but since everyone is busy treating patients and would not be able to ascertain the death; it’s possible your death certificate might say virus caused the death; though it did not

Here are the two articles that talk about it here and this one talk about high mortality rate in Italy.

Any ways some countries are not following this herd mentality of putting everyone in lock down; like Germany and Sweden and faring well compared to countries who did a lock down.

Problem with lock down is there is a huge economic snowball effect; which might claim more victims than the virus itself and would have affects with years to come. To put some numbers, in last 2 weeks staggering 10 million files for unemployment benefits in US. This is in a country where everything runs on credit and people would hardly have any savings. This also means destroying all small and medium businesses and causing more inequality. Do not know how many would be left without a job when this whole virus business settles down. But it looks seriously bad.Economist are comparing it with great depression.

These condition of fear and anxiety would also allow governments allow to pass laws which they would not be able to do in normal circumstances; curtailing more freedom and implementing a policy of police state.

Countries which were able to get hold of the virus and bring the curve down for number of cases, is mainly because of the fact the amount of test they are able to perform for not only those who is having symptoms but to those who could have potentially be carriers; and then isolating them. Obviously, government needs to make sure those quarantine people are adhering to the rules and not become responsible for spreading. This seems best strategy depending on one countries ability to test. And making sure that proper screening is in place for people arriving into the country. Most of European countries and US are guilty of the fact that they did not took this virus seriously in early stages but rather reacted late; in fact, Asian countries handled it relatively better.

Lastly, most of the developed countries in Europe were divided against the lock down strategy; as they were planning to develop herd immunity to stop the spread of virus. But than comes numbers from models run by Imperial College London and it changed the course for for UK and US which means other smaller countries followed in line. Studies by Imperial College revealed there will be millions of deaths across Europe and US if nothing is done to prevent the spread.

This cause governments to change their strategies and take extreme measure of locking everyone down instead of finding a middle ground, this report is also picked by media to create an uncertain environment of fear.

Though there are different perspective suggested by study in oxford university which state that almost 60% percent of UK population has already contacted the virus and would have some form of immunity; which means a different strategy is required other than lock-down. Number of immune person is a difficult task; organizations are working to produce a test which can be done at home; once we are able to find that number of population who have anti-bodies than we might need not the vaccine to bring back things to normal.

Virus has shown that we live in a divided world and no political leadership has emerged to help the humanity at large; US and China are still blaming each other that data related to virus was not shared correctly; Iran is still battering with sanctions; Media is still trying to poke holes in trump handling of virus; but the conditions demand we would have gathered around to face this calamity together but yet we still dwell where we were before the virus.

In contrast experts and scientist are coordinating at great length to solve the crises and not to mention thousands of health care workers, doctors and medics working day in and out to save as many lives as they can.Virus has shown human vulnerability against nature we should accept that humans were never in control.

Now we have been pushed into new world of isolation, Let’s not forget to help those around us in this hour of need and try to participate and be part of solution to this problem instead of getting fear stricken; because fear cause one to take extreme measures. Instead be kind, grateful and generous.

Also once this situation is over; let us learn from it, rather then to let it pass; by building a healthy lifestyle and pushing governments around to ensure basic health care, improve health care, build hospitals and be prepared to take measures and act quickly if a new pandemic strike again.