Maybe you have some sense that something fishy is going on? Same. If it’s not one thing, it’s another.
Coronavirus lived on surfaces until it didn’t. Masks didn’t work until they did, then they did not. There is asymptomatic transmission, except there isn’t. Lockdowns work to control the virus except they do not. All these people are sick without symptoms until, whoops, PCR tests are wildly inaccurate because they were never intended to be diagnostic tools. Everyone is in danger of the virus except they aren’t. It spreads in schools except it doesn’t.
On it goes. Daily. It’s no wonder that so many people have stopped believing anything that “public health authorities” say. In combination with governors and other autocrats doing their bidding, they set out to take away freedom and human rights and expected us to thank them for saving our lives. At some point this year (for me it was March 12) life began feeling like a dystopian novel of your choice.
Well, now I have another piece of evidence to add to the mile-high pile of fishy mess. The World Health Organization, for reasons unknown, has suddenly changed its definition of a core conception of immunology: herd immunity. Its discovery was one of the major achievements of 20th century science, gradually emerging in the 1920s and then becoming ever more refined throughout the 20th century.
Herd immunity is a fascinating observation that you can trace to biological reality or statistical probability theory, whichever you prefer. (It is certainly not a “strategy” so ignore any media source that describes it that way.) Herd immunity speaks directly, and with explanatory power, to the empirical observation that respiratory viruses are either widespread and mostly mild (common cold) or very severe and short-lived (Ebola).
Why is this? The reason is that when a virus kills its host, it cannot migrate. The more aggressively it does this, the less it spreads. If the virus doesn’t kill its host, it can hop to others through all the usual means. When you get a virus and fight it off, your immune system encodes that information in a way that builds immunity to it. When it happens to enough people (and each case is different so we can’t put a clear number on it) the virus loses its pandemic quality and becomes endemic, which is to say predictable and manageable. Each new generation incorporates that information through more exposure.
This is what one would call Virology/Immunology 101. It’s what you read in every textbook. It’s been taught in 9th grade cell biology for probably 80 years. Observing the operations of this evolutionary phenomenon is pretty wonderful because it increases one’s respect for the way in which human biology has adapted to the presence of pathogens without absolutely freaking out.
And the discovery of this fascinating dynamic in cell biology is a major reason why public health became so smart in the 20th century. We kept calm. We managed viruses with medical professionals: doctor/patient relationships. We avoided the Medieval tendency to run around with hair on fire but rather used rationality and intelligence. Even the New York Times recognizes that natural immunity is powerful with Covid-19, which is not in the least bit surprising.
Until one day, this strange institution called the World Health Organization – once glorious because it was mainly responsible for the eradication of smallpox – has suddenly decided to delete everything I just wrote from cell biology basics. It has literally changed the science in a Soviet-like way. It has removed with the delete key any mention of natural immunities from its website. It has taken the additional step of actually mischaracterizing the structure and functioning of vaccines.
So that you will believe me, I will try to be as precise as possible. Here is the website from June 9, 2020. You can see it here on Archive.org. You have to move down the page and click on the question about herd immunity. You see the following. …