This week in the Wall Street Journal, a Johns Hopkins School of Medicine Professor, Dr. Mark Makary, made a bold prediction about COVID-19. By April, according to Dr. Makary, we should reach sufficient herd immunity for America to get back to normal life. A combination of natural immunity and vaccination will protect enough of the population to break the chain of infection, to the point where not many Americans are left who can be infected.
In the recent town hall, President Biden told Anderson Cooper that we might be back to normal by next Christmas, or maybe in a year. The idea that the vast majority of Americans will not be able to get back to business as usual for nearly a year because of a virus that has approximately a 99.7% survival rate is absurd. Especially with vaccine rollouts happening now and the reduction in severe cases seen in Israel’s vaccinated population. Tracking reports a 94% reduction in symptomatic cases in the over 600,000 people who have received two doses of the vaccine.
Dr. Makary asserts that we may not need to vaccinate three-quarters of the population, given the current trend we are seeing. He notes that nationwide, we have seen a 77% reduction in cases over the last six weeks and provides an entirely reasonable explanation for the “experts” being wrong. He estimates that 55% of the population has natural immunity due to exposure to COVID-19.
He explained that having the infection may not be necessary for some because antibody studies are underestimating natural immunity.
Researchers at Sweden’s Karolinska Institute found that the percentage of people mounting a T-cell response after mild or asymptomatic Covid-19 infection consistently exceeded the percentage with detectable antibodies. T-cell immunity was even present in people who were exposed to infected family members but never developed symptoms. A group of U.K. scientists in September pointed out that the medical community may be under-appreciating the prevalence of immunity from activated T-cells.
Dr. Scott Atlas talked about pre-existing T-cell immunity in September when he corrected CDC Director Robert Redfield’s statement that 90% of Americans were still susceptible. The media and Dr. Fauci savaged Atlas for making that statement, even though it was objectively true, according to the research. Dr. Makary agrees with Atlas’s assessment of the studies and estimates that about 66% have some natural immunity either from being exposed to COVID-19 directly or from other similar infections. If you add the 15% of the population that has been vaccinated, we should be getting close to 80%.
Makary cites the experience in the Brazilian city of Manaus, where researchers estimate the prevalence of infection to be about 76%, which has slowed new cases considerably. This finding is common sense if COVID-19 acts like every other respiratory virus and triggers a similar immune response. After a year, no research has indicated it does not. As Marakay notes:
Many experts, along with politicians and journalists, are afraid to talk about herd immunity. The term has political overtones because some suggested the U.S. simply let Covid rip to achieve herd immunity. That was a reckless idea. But herd immunity is the inevitable result of viral spread and vaccination. When the chain of virus transmission has been broken in multiple places, it’s harder for it to spread—and that includes the new strains.
The U.K and South Africa are seeing declining daily cases even with the mutated strains as is Brazil, which is fantastic news. Still, his peers encouraged him not to share his prediction:
Some medical experts privately agreed with my prediction that there may be very little Covid-19 by April but suggested that I not to talk publicly about herd immunity because people might become complacent and fail to take precautions or might decline the vaccine. But scientists shouldn’t try to manipulate the public by hiding the truth.
We all need to see the light at the end of the tunnel, and we need more experts like Dr. Makary to level with us.