“We started with no infections, and we’re headed for herd immunity, or some semblance of it,” – District 2 Supervisor Robert Weygandt in a Placer County news release.
No. We. Are. Not.
Herd immunity works when the VAST MAJORITY of people have been VACCINATED against a disease (think measles). Most people are vaccinated and their resistance to measles provides protection for those few people who can’t (for whatever reason) take the measles vaccination themselves.
Many of the “open up now” people (like many on the Placer BOS) are making the claim that the tiny percentage of people with antibodies in them will somehow provide herd immunity in the case of COVID-19 as we have for measles.
THIS. IS. FALSE.
We have no vaccine against COVID-19.Our scientists are working on it, but reliable sources (NOT the White House) tell us that it will likely take 18 months or longer to develop that vaccine. So herd immunity through vaccination will not happen by June 1st (the Placer BOS target date for re-opening).
We are also hearing that we must re-open because some business people are in danger of losing something that they’ve worked all their lives for. This is true, unfortunately. These statements come from people who tout economics every chance they get (you know, the supply-side people).
Basic economic theory also tells us that every truly “essential job” will be restored. The basic laws of supply and demand require this to happen (if enough people need a hair salon in their community, one will be opened).This is the demand-side of the model.
Unfortunately, it is absolutely true that some of those businesses will be new businesses as some existing businesses will have to shutter their doors as a result of this shut-down.
However, in opening up the county too soon (as other California counties have done) will mean that more people will become infected and that some could possibly die. As we’re seeing in counties like Lassen and Sonoma, opening up too soon, simply means that you will need to shut down a second time and extend the economic suffering longer than required under the original plan.
Our leaders need to balance the economic well being of a business with the literal well-being of our residents. I choose to value health and life over money. But that’s just me.
You can recover lost income. You can’t recover a lost life.