Matt Ridley–5 reasons why the coronavirus nightmare may soon be over

The second reason for hope is that, as Oxford University’s epidemiologist Sunetra Gupta has argued, herd immunity may be achieved more easily than we first thought. Indeed, from the way that infections have continued to dwindle despite lessening social distancing it seems probable that herd immunity has already been achieved in London at least. Half the population could be immune already because of recent exposure to coronavirus colds, while children seem to resist catching Covid-19, let alone passing it on. As the chief medical officer Chris Whitty has conceded, the epidemic was already in retreat before lockdown began. That is because the virus depends heavily on a few superspreaders, and pre-lockdown measures we were taking in March are remarkably effective: no handshakes, frequent hand washing, no large gatherings and so on.

So the third reason for optimism is that as long as we continue with these measures then this virus will struggle to keep spreading in the community. The one place where the virus did spread with horrible ease was in care homes and hospitals. Why was this? T-cell senescence is an issue, so old people’s immune systems are just not as good at coping with this kind of infection, and there were dreadful policy mistakes made, like stopping testing people, clearing patients out of hospitals to care homes without tests, and assuming no asymptomatic transmission. Healthcare and care home staff were not properly protected and were allowed to go from site to site. Many were infected and became carriers.

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2 comments on “Matt Ridley–5 reasons why the coronavirus nightmare may soon be over

  1. Pageantmaster ن‎ says:

    Well, the virus is on the uptick again across the UK and Europe. Caution needs to be the order of the day rather than wishful and dangerous thinking and the false sense of security it engenders. The virus remains extremely contagious, adaptable and able to hide given its two week delay in revealing itself.

    Herd immunity for Covid19 is discredited and the proponents have been directly responsible for the 75,000 unnecessary UK deaths over the expected seasonal figures. The ‘herd’ far from immune, are often left with a lifetime of new comorbidities. IF infection rates are down, it is because a substantial proportion of the lions remain risk averse and have stopped listening to the blustering pontifications of the donkeys.

    Keep safe and avoid people.

  2. Pageantmaster ن‎ says:

    As for any effective virus giving safe long term immunity, it is early days yet. We travel hopefully, but cautiously. There’s many a slip twixt cup and lip.