In an editorial for the WSJ (24 March), Dr. Marty Makary, professor at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Bloomberg School of Public Health and Cary School of Business, offers some terrific news: Herd immunity, despite denials by Anthony Fauci, is likely close at hand.
After advising that 70-80% of the population needs to be jabbed to reach herd immunity, Dr. Anthony Fauci is “inexplicably” ignoring natural immunity. Using data from the California Department of Public Health as an example, Dr. Makary estimates that as many as half of Californians have natural immunity today.
Undercounting or removing the many Americans with natural immunity from any tally of herd immunity is a scientific error of omission. When people wonder why President Biden talks about limiting Fourth of July gatherings, it’s because his most prominent medical adviser has dismissed the contribution of natural immunity, artificially extending the timeline.
Many physicians believe that vaccinated immunity will prove more durable than natural immunity. I agree, and I think everyone should get vaccinated. But after a year of millions of Covid-19 cases in the U.S., it’s clear that reinfections are rare. Natural immunity is real and shouldn’t be ignored.
Dr. Fauci’s vaccination-only path to herd immunity has significantly influenced the national conversation. KNBC-TV in Los Angeles has a county-by-county vaccine tracker showing a bar graph of the percentage of Californians vaccinated, with the zone 70% to 85% labeled “herd immunity.” Currently, it’s at 26%.
The false construct does create a greater urgency for everyone to get vaccinated. But it also creates false justification for continued excessive restrictions on freedom. And it raises the possibility that authorities are misallocating the limited vaccine supply by failing to direct it toward people without natural antibodies.
Some experts claim that natural immunity cannot be trusted. But as Dr. Makary makes clear, in findings from a Public Health England study, less than 1% of 6,614 healthcare workers who had Covid-19 developed a reinfection within five months—even though many of them work with COVID patients.
Other experts, including Monica Gandhi, an infectious-disease physician and professor at the University of California, believe natural immunity after COVID infection is powerful and “likely lifelong.”
Why, as Dr. Fauci has claimed, don’t we have good data on natural immunity? Largely because the National Institutes of Health, for whom Dr. Fauci is a director, has done little to answer this and other important clinical questions, continues Dr. Makary.
The NIH and CDC, which together receive more than $40 billion a year from taxpayers, should have focused on answering the most basic Covid-19 clinical questions that affect Americans. If we say we’re going to follow the science, then we need to be willing to consider all the data.
Read more here.
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