Tuesday, April 7, 2020

The Cost Of Herd Immunity

Thanks to Steve Sailer's research, we have an account of the death toll in the province of Bergamo in Italy, epicenter of the Covid19 pandemic. The account makes for grim reading, and you can get it in an decent English version here.

In March, 2019, 900 people died in the province of Bergamo. The Italian researchers also checked out the previous three years to be sure they were getting a representative year.

In March, 2020, this year, 5400 people died there. Six times the normal deaths. To give an idea of what conditions were like in Bergamo in March:

For only 2,060 of them, the «official» certified deaths as caused by Covid-19 in the local hospitals (data as at yesterday), do we know everything: age, gender, pre-existing conditions. We do not know anything about the other 2,500. Many of them are old people, who died at home or in assisted residential homes. In spite of the unmistakable symptoms, as recorded by physicians and relatives, they were never tested for the disease. On their death certificate you can just read: interstitial pneumonia.

The very reasonable conclusion of the researchers is that the real death toll for pandemic related causes in Bergamo, in just one month, was 4,500. As Sailer sums up, that means that in just one month 0.4% of the population were carried away by the pandemic. That should suggest to you just how overburdened their healthcare system became--virtually overnight.

And it's not over in Italy, not by a long shot. Presumably with strict social distancing they will turn a corner of sorts, but people are still dying and nobody knows what will happen when they try to go back to "normal." As we saw in Herd Immunity In Northern Italy? Not So Much, the idea that all this death achieved herd immunity is not at all certain.


  1. And it's an unknown, if you can get it twice.

    The "guess" per experts is it's unlikely from what I saw yesterday, but there is just not enough data right now from what I read.

    And China seems to be having a second outbreak of the virus. Unfortunately China has clamped down on information, stopped testing, expelled Western reporters, it's hard to know what is really going on.

  2. Are the test kits China sent overseas representative of what was used in China? If so, what does that tell you about China's numbers?

    Prague is reporting 80% don't work, 150,000 kits

    UK - Millions

    Spain - 640,000 faulty kits

    1. The jokes on us: We sent our medical manufacturing to China, and now we have to buy the stuff from them to fight the virus they sent us.

  3. Mr. Wauck,

    When I first heard the phrase 'herd immunity', I took it to mean that if enough people were exposed to the Wuhan virus, people would naturally develop immunity to it when they survived. In other words, all of mankind would not be wiped out.

    My supervisor explained that 'herd immunity' means that if enough people are eventually vaccinated against it (assuming a vaccine is developed), the unvaccinated people are basically protected because there are a large amount of vaccinated people who aren't spreading the disease to the unvaccinated. Hence, the 'herd' is protected.

    Can you please shed light on this? Thank you.

    1. It can work either way. The point is that a certain percent of the population must develop an immunity--whether by vaccination or by natural means (i.e., getting sick and developing immunity as a result). However, neither is foolproof. Vaccines are not necessarily forever, nor is naturally developed immunity necesarily forever.

  4. In order to be informed, I must first understand.

    Thank you.

    1. Joe, here's a good explanation, at some length, which points out the two routes to 'herd immunity.'