The new corona virus, COVID-19 does not appear to be stoppable at this point. It has escaped control around the world. Estimates are that a vaccine cannot be expected for 14 months or longer. There is no guarantee that a vaccine will be available even in 14 months. Even if a vaccine is developed in 14 months, it will take much more time to mass produce it and vaccinate the population.
The proposal is for people at low-risk to voluntarily expose themselves intentionally to the virus and isolate themselves in order to develop a so-called “herd immunity”. Many healthy individuals have slight symptoms or no symptoms at all when they contract the COVID-19 virus. For others, it’s no worse than they average flu.
Some cities are already in a Chinese-police-state-like lockdown and the economy is probably headed for depression. They are talking about locking down the whole nation. In 14 months, if we do nothing, the panic will build, we will have a collapsed economy, massive unemployment and there will likely be bloody rioting in the streets, if not outright revolution.
About 3-12 million people can be expected to die in the United States, unless we spend 14 months in a Chinese-style lock-down and a vaccine is developed sometime next year. The higher number would be if the health system collapses, which is very possible.
NOTE: Probably these numbers above are very much inflated, because many — probably the great majority — of the cases of COVID-19 cold are not reported to doctors, because the case is too minor with little or no symptoms.
With this particular virus somewhere around 50% of the population has to have immunity to stop the exponential spread of the virus. Lock-down of cities and states may work as a circuit breaker, but it will not eliminate the virus. If the restrictions are removed, the virus will just come right back.
To develop herd immunity in this case, you need around 50% of the people to have been exposed or vaccinated, but even a lower percentage would still help in slowing the spread of the virus.
We still don’t know whether COVID-19 is seasonal or not. It should soon become pretty obvious, whether it is, or not. If transmission slows down greatly during the summer in northern latitudes, we would have about 6 months respite to deliberately infect and isolate as many people as possible, in order to build up herd immunity before the next season hits.
At this time the politicians are gambling that they will have a vaccine in 14 months. What happens if they roll the dice and we lose 14 months later?
Those that volunteer to self-infect could plan ahead to do it, get financial aid and help in obtaining food and drug deliveries. It would be better than sending a couple thousand dollars to every person in the country for no benefit at all in controlling the virus.
Infecting people to ameliorate the effects of a virus has been done for more than 200 years, since people were intentionally exposed to cow pox to make them immune to the related smallpox virus. More recently, until the early 1960’s, children were intentionally infected with diseases such as measles and chicken pox, because there was a belief that it would be a benefit to do it early.
Maybe they should be passing out do-it-yourself, self-infection and isolation kits at drive-throughs all over the country. If low-risk people could infect themselves at home and isolate themselves for two weeks, they should have immunity without causing anyone else to be infected. Low-risk persons infecting themselves, should not be a threat of overwhelming the health-care system, because they probably won’t need hospitalization.
If 50% of the population would do this, the disease would virtually disappear, millions of lives would be saved and we could get the economy back on track in a relatively short time.