In response to Rob Williams’ opinion piece: There is no phobia about herd immunity. It’s just that herd immunity is a cruel joke on humanity. I accept your first truth as an acceptance of past inability to do anything about pandemics. Now we can do something to stop unnecessary deaths. As to your second truth, just to put your mind at ease, this too shall pass. The rest of the essay is full of half-truths. The USA did not go into lockdown. Instead, as other countries were locking down, we stayed open. The United States, Great Britain and Russia all stayed open against the advice of specialists. Boris Johnson, prime minister of England, actually believed in herd immunity. As of the May 27, these three countries have the highest death rate in the world. As late as February 27, when others had already started distancing and “lockdowns,” Donald Trump told us not to worry that, “In a couple of days we’ll be down to zero.” Even when he finally admitted that there were going to be a lot more deaths he still had no plans for doing anything about the virus. So, basically, we were still open.
The USA has about 5% of the world population, but as of May 27 it had 29.5% of the world COVID-19 cases. We also have 101,621 deaths, by far the most, with England coming in a distant second with 37,919. All the statistics are from Johns Hopkins University. Sweden, whose government advocated for the herd immunity ideal, now has stepped back from it as their death rate soars above their neighbors who went into lockdown early on. Furthermore, demographic studies have shown that communities that can’t lock down due to poverty have much higher rates of infection. According to a study by Columbia University, “The number of deaths would have been considerably lower had America been told earlier to stay at home and maintain social distancing.” Some now say that up to 40,000 deaths could have been prevented.
As for your other points: Of course, there have been mistakes and attempts at corporate manipulation, but that is normal for something this new. And, of course, don’t wear a mask if you have respiratory problems (that’s been stated often in Governor Scott’s press briefings). HCQ has now been shown to have no efficacy after infection and may even be dangerous.
I guess what bothers me most, though, is that there is no moral logic in your argument. To say that we are supposed to stand by and watch as our neighbors die for some arcane theory seems immoral to me. It has a touch of eugenics: Only those immune from the virus should survive. As one who is an essential worker (a grocery clerk) and one who shops for others, I am at risk and have absolutely no fear of the virus. I hate wearing masks as much as anybody else, but I wear it when I’m around people I don’t know. Even if you don’t believe in the protocols you can still be polite. It’s not that big of a deal. So, yes, I’ll see you outside, but keep your distance.
Robin Lehman lives in Warren, Vermont.