We could ‘beat’ COVID-19 before a vaccine is ready
We could ‘beat’ COVID-19 before a vaccine is ready By Alex Berenson for NYPost
Is a vaccine the only way to return to normal after COVID-19? New research into the virus suggests not — that the infection rate may drop to tiny levels before then.
Since the spring, scientists have known the virus’s infection fatality rate — how many people it kills compared to the number it infects — is under 1 percent, perhaps as low as 0.2 percent. That lower figure translates into one death for every 500 people infected.
We have also known that deaths are seriously skewed by age. The media says older people are at “more” risk from the novel coronavirus than younger people. That’s true, but it understates the reality. Most people do not realize that the risks to people over 80 are hundreds or thousands of times higher than those younger people face.
The fatality rate for children, meanwhile, is very small. In July, Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said it’s about one in a million infected.
Of course, most of the media simply ignored Redfield’s comment — maybe because it would have made parents less afraid to send their kids to school.
But the fatality rate is only half the puzzle when scientists try to figure out what the final death toll from the coronavirus might be. And even with a small rate, the numbers are staggering. If the entire nation was infected, it would mean potentially 500,000 or more Americans dead.
But if the virus runs out of steam more quickly and the epidemic fades before everyone is infected, the number of deaths will be lower.
Epidemiologists call the level where the epidemic ends the “herd immunity” threshold. Herd immunity does not mean that the virus has completely disappeared, only that it can no longer infect a critical mass of people and become an epidemic again.