BY TYLER DURDEN
Now that the CDC’s leadership has publicly acknowledged its plans to roll back the federal mask mandate as soon as next week, the Biden Administration and its ‘scientific advisors’ are laying the foundation for convincing Americans that it’s time to ‘return to normal’.
And we saw one of the most egregious examples of this on Thursday morning via the AP: One influential model uses those factors and others to estimate that 73% of Americans are, for now, immune to omicron, the dominant variant – a figure that could rise to 80% by mid-March.
As hospitalizations and new cases fall, many hospitals and their staff are finally getting a break from the relentless churn of the omicron wave – even as the average number of deaths per day remains stubbornly high.
One professor of “health metrics” quoted by the AP said the model has helped reassure them that humanity – or at least the US – has turned a corner.
“We have changed,” said Ali Mokdad, a professor of health metrics sciences at the University of Washington in Seattle. “We have been exposed to this virus and we know how to deal with it.”
The thing is, as the AP pointed out, SARS-CoV-2 is no longer “novel”: “Two years ago it arrived in a nation where nobody’s immune system had seen it before. The entire population – 330 million people – were immunologically naive, that is, susceptible to infection.”
If the US experiences another ‘summer wave’, it should be far less deadly than the prior.
But the coronavirus is no longer new. Two years ago it arrived in a nation where nobody’s immune system had seen it before. The entire population — 330 million people — were immunologically naive, that is, susceptible to infection.
“I am optimistic even if we have a surge in summer, cases will go up, but hospitalizations and deaths will not,” said Mokdad, who works on the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation model, which calculated the 73% figure for The Associated Press.
What’s not clear is how much of this 73% number accounts for natural immunity caused by infections. By the end of the omicron surge, researchers at Johns Hopkins expect that 3/4ths of all Americans will have been infected by the variant, regardless of their vaccination status. Of course, insinuating that these “natural” infections had a major impact on population immunity would be a major violation of “the science”.
Scientists at Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health estimates that about three out of four people in the United States will have been infected by omicron by the end of the surge.
“We know it’s a huge proportion of the population,” said Shaun Truelove, an epidemiologist and disease modeler at Johns Hopkins. “This varies a lot by location, and in some areas we expect the number infected to be closer to one in two.”
That means different regions or groups of people have different level of protection — and risk. In Virginia, disease modelers are thinking about their population in terms of groups with different levels of immunity.
Going forward, a lot will depend on how the virus mutates and evolved, and what future variants will look like. But one thing is for sure: humanity is much better protected now than it was two years ago.