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A new study is investigating the possibility of California to have already developed herd-immunity to the Coronavirus. If the case is proven, the study would be a breakthrough in breaking the worldwide lockdown. With billions of dollars invested in this deadlock, here is how the Californian experience can defeat the vaccine lobby.
- 1 The Californian Experience
- 2 What is Herd-Immunity
- 3 Lockdown vs Herd-Immunity
- 4 Blow to the Vaccine Lobby
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California has lower than expected Coronavirus cases compared to other American states inspite of having a large influx of Chinese population. Researchers at Stanford Medicine are working to find out what proportion of Californians have already had COVID-19 which helped them develop herd-immunity towards it.
The team tested 3,200 people at three Bay Area locations using an antibody test for COVID-19 and expect to release results in the coming weeks. The data could help to prove COVID-19 arrived undetected in California much earlier than previously thought. The hypothesis that COVID-19 first started spreading in California in the fall of 2019 is one explanation for the state’s lower than expected case numbers.
As of Tuesday, the state had 374 reported COVID-19 fatalities in a state of 40 million people, compared to New York which has seen 14 times as many fatalities and has a population half that of California. Social distancing could be playing a role but New York’s stay-at-home order went into effect on March 22, three days after California implemented its order.
“Something is going on that we haven’t quite found out yet. I think it is possible COVID-19 has been spreading among Californians since the fall when doctors reported an early flu season in the state. During that same time, California was welcoming as many as 8,000 Chinese nationals daily into our airports. Some of those visitors even arriving on direct flights from Wuhan, the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak in China. When you add it all up it would be naïve to think that California did not have some exposure,” said Victor Davis Hanson a senior fellow with Stanford’s Hoover Institute.
Herd immunity (also called herd effect, community immunity, population immunity, or social immunity) is a form of indirect protection from infectious disease that occurs when a large percentage of a population has become immune to an infection, whether through previous infections or vaccination, thereby providing a measure of protection for individuals who are not immune.
The top box shows an outbreak in a community in which a few people are infected (shown in red) and the rest are healthy but unimmunized (shown in blue); the illness spreads freely through the population. The middle box shows a population where a small number have been immunized (shown in yellow); those not immunized become infected while those immunized do not. In the bottom box, a large proportion of the population have been immunized; this prevents the illness from spreading significantly, including to unimmunized people. In the first two examples, most healthy unimmunized people become infected, whereas in the bottom example only one fourth of the healthy unimmunized people become infected. Wikipedia.
In a population in which a large proportion of individuals possess immunity, such people being unlikely to contribute to disease transmission, chains of infection are more likely to be disrupted, which either stops or slows the spread of disease. The greater the proportion of immune individuals in a community, the smaller the probability that non-immune individuals will come into contact with an infectious individual, helping to shield non-immune individuals from infection.
The concept of grinding an entire nation into lockdown is based on the assumption that social-distancing and aggressive surveillance would break the virus chain from spreading further into the population. This does not imply that a complete lockdown would eradicate the virus nor dose it ensure that the virus won’t spread once the lockdown has been lifted – infact quite the contrary.
This is the lesson learnt during the Chinese experience of lockdown of Wuhan. Although, China’s aggressive controls over daily life have brought the first wave of Covid-19 to an end, researchers are now worried that the danger of a second wave is very real.
“While these control measures appear to have reduced the number of infections to very low levels, without herd immunity against Covid-19, cases could easily resurge as businesses, factory operations, and schools gradually resume and increase social mixing, particularly given the increasing risk of imported cases from overseas as Covid-19 continues to spread globally,” says Prof Joseph T Wu from the University of Hong Kong, who co-led the research.
This is the deadlock that we’re currently in, and the vaccine lobby wants to keep it that way until their vaccine has been developed. New studies are being published warning countries – wanting to end the lockdown and allow people to move about and work again – of the danger of a second-wave. There is huge pressure from the vaccine industry combined with the fear-mongering from media to extend the lockdown until they come up with their vaccines.
Infact, past experience show this is exactly what the World Health Organization (WHO) did a decade ago. In 2009, during the H1N1 outbreak the WHO not only faked a pandemic but also kept the identity of their advisers secret from people. Eventually, when committees were setup and it was found that WHO was following orders from the vaccine lobby, the WHO officials were force to apologies for this crime against humanity. And now, we are witnessing the same episode repeat again.
This is the reason researchers are watching closely the Californian experience. If the study is able to demonstrate a case in favor of “herd-immunity” it could not only effectively end global lockdown but also prove to be a big-blow to the vaccine lobby.