For COVID, we could have taken the Sweden approach. After the initial “15 days to slow the spread” back in March, allowing the healthcare system a breather to assess what lay ahead, we could have resumed normal life, protecting the elderly and vulnerable, quarantining only the sick, allowing the inevitable viral spread through the rest of the population, a few getting sick, some dying, just as we do every year with seasonal influenza.
With that approach we might have achieved herd immunity already, without the socio-economic destruction due to recurring lockdowns and business closures. Now we have several vaccines, the other side of the two-pronged approach to herd immunity.
Let’s look at the vaccine data, specifically the FDA report on the Pfizer vaccine. The studies were solid, meeting the Fauci standards of a “randomized, double-blinded and placebo-controlled trial”. This also happens to be the FDA’s requirement for approving a new medication or treatment.
44,000 individuals participated in the trial, with the primary endpoint being the “incidence of COVID-19” as defined as a positive COVID PCR test and at least one of the typical symptoms such as cough, fever, sore throat, and so on. These represent true cases, not simply positive tests. This distinction is lost on the media braying endlessly about “surging cases” which represent simply positive tests, a notoriously unreliable metric as even the New York Times noted.
But the more important goal, in my mind, of a vaccine is to keep people from getting really sick, as opposed to just a cold or flu, which while inconvenient is part of normal life.
Looking at the data from this perspective, the placebo group of 17,511 had only three cases of severe COVID, two of whom were hospitalized, one of the two for a cardiac issue, not COVID per se.
Meaning the odds of the average person (unvaccinated) in this study cohort being hospitalized is 1/17,511 or 0.006 percent. The odds of such a person developing mild COVID, simply cold or flu symptoms, is 162/17,511 or 0.9 percent.
These are the odds of the average person coming down with COVID and are quite low. Is this worth shutting down large swaths of the economy for? Have we ever done that for season flu?
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