Herd Immunity – Is it the solution?

Viruses have been around us since the beginning of time. They were here before us. They use living organisms like humans, bats, pigs and others to move around. They are so arrogant that they see no difference between humans and pigs, all living organisms are same to them: carriers. There are smart viruses like Rhinovirus that causes common cold, it does not destroy the host, mostly just annoys them. It has been in existence since centuries and has not been cured and what’s more, not many people fusses about it.

Then there are shitty viruses, they cause conditions like rabies, polio, measles, chicken pox and COVID-19. They rattle, ruin and destroy an individual, a society, a country and sometimes, whole world.

There are many ways to fight these parasites. We have been innovative throughout millennials with soups, remedies, making sacrifices to deities and sometimes, burying people alive. Thankfully, vaccines came along. Problem with that is, there’s a specific vaccine for every virus. Only if there could be one vaccine for everything, it seems to be the next logical step for vaccines.

There is one underlying technique that has helped humans to fight off the viruses through ages. A naturally occurring phenomenon in which if larger population of a region is immune to a virus, chances of infection to non-immune people are reduced. It was first observed by A. W. Hedrich in 1930s in Baltimore when number of new infections decreased after many children had become immune to the disease. This is called ‘Herd Immunity’.

It’s a pretty simple phenomenon: majority has superiority over minority. Whether it’s a natural protection from virus infection or nationalist poison over liberal idea of society. It’s like loudmouths drowning out an intellectual argument on ‘Nation Wants to Know’ show. Seriously, Mr. Goswami, which nation are you talking about? India is in lockdown and busy sleeping on railways to die at the same time, no one gives a dime about your senseless shit. Pull it together and get back to journalism, oh wait, you were always an obnoxious loudmouth and never a journalist, good luck.

Anyways, herd immunity is a blanket of majority that provides protection or isolation to minority. People with weak immunity will feel comfortable in roaming around knowing that chances of getting infected are reduced with increased immunity.

How do we achieve herd immunity?

There are two ways.

First one is as following:

Get as many people infected as possible. Present death-toll of COVID-19 has already broken a lot of records and pushing it to new heights would be insensitive, like Indian parents pushing kids to attend school, additional tuition classes and different cultural activities in same calendar year. The journey itself is going to suck like hell, never mind the results.

Pursuing option one would be risky and require a lot of calculation and preparation, unless the population is smart, supportive and low in numbers. Anders Tegnell, state-epidemiologist of Sweden devised a ‘No Lockdown’ plan and predicted almost 40% of population in Stockholm will be immune by the second wave hits, he saw this approach as the best option given we’re going to live with this situation for a very long time. (I know, there’s a lot to unpack in this paragraph. There’s another wave? We’re going to live with this shit for a long time? Yes, we’ll talk about that later.)

Coming back to herd immunity, Sweden could pull it off. A society that was first to permit sex change and an economy that imports garbage for recycling might be the first one to beat COVID-19.

India could do it as well, if it was 1955, when were 3rd of what we are today as a population. God, unprotected sex sucks on so many levels.

Second option is:

Another way to achieve herd immunity is getting major population immune without being infected. This can be done by vaccines, plasma transplantation, soups, herbs or whatever. This will add yet another vaccine to ensure the kid has more chances of survival and less chances of screwing up (wait, screwing up is entirely different virus, no vaccine has been found for that so far).

This option has worked in the past for many viruses like measles, chickenpox etc. This is why a lot of hopes are pinned on vaccine or any medical discovery to fight off the infection.

Is the second option viable?

It’s not, waiting for vaccine is like trusting schools to educate children. They pretend to do the job. They also charge a shitload of money support the senseless charades like paying for environment consciousness drive (bitch, they come to school in a van running on kerosene and cramming in kids worse than sheeps. Give them bicycles, not tours through botanical parks) The outcome is shitty, and yet, societies are doing it for more than a century. (Education before industrial revolution was apprenticeship, a model that allowed learning and doing at the same time. Unlike present where kids are allowed and sometimes encouraged to become dumbfucks who knows no difference between biological growth of body and emotional maturity).

What do we do then?

We adopt. So far the solution seems to be getting away and staying away from each other. This says a lot about how and why we came closer in the first place. Destabilizing urban metro centres and developing rural areas to grow culture and economy in distant corners is much needed and might just do the trick. Even if it doesn’t, it’ll make us stronger to face this thing.

In order to beat this thing, we must retreat from the battlegrounds/epicenters to our basecamps/farms and villages. In order to win this battle, we must stay there while contributing actively to economies. After all, globalization was driven and is maintained by internet, not small shady slums of metro cities. This will need a huge upgrade in infrastructure, mindset and philosophies. Villages will have run to keep up with spoilt brats and their modern ideas. Millennials will have to compromise on their comfort, open-mindedness and sometimes liberties to survive in villages. But if we make this work, a strong support system of village and never resting minds of millennials can be a much needed combination for next wave of innovation in ‘Essential Services’ like agriculture, transportation, animal husbandry and electricity generation as well as consumption.

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