You walk into some high-school test. You’ve studied, but maybe not enough… you could’ve studied more. You should’ve. Maybe it’ll be one of those miracle days where the teacher is sick or someone pulls the fire alarm or it’s just postponed for some reason.
Oh well, no such luck… but… well, maybe it’s ok. You didn’t answer all of it, but you got to maybe 70% of the questions… should be ok. And of the questions you answered, you got most of them. Maybe. Yeah, it’ll be ok.
So, later in the week, you get the test back…. and indeed, you answered 70% of the questions. And of the questions you answered, you got about 70% correct…. so, all good… right?
Well, 70% of 70% is 49%. So, no… not so good. Indeed… Epic fail.
That’s the way math works, and that’s the way it’s going to work with three independent variables:
A: what percent of the population needs to be C-19 immune for there to be herd immunity?
B: what percent effective will a vaccine ultimately be?
C: what percent of the population will get vaccinated?
The unfortunate reality is that B x C will likely never exceed A, so this thing is going to stick around for a very long time. The lunacy of the sub-group that makes C anything less than 100% is particularly aggravating. It sincerely makes me wonder… if smallpox hadn’t been eradicated by 1980, would it be celebrating some sort of re-awakening these days, thanks to a bunch of “enlightened” individuals who’d never “poison” their kids with the vaccine…?
“Do you know what’s in a vaccine?”, they’ll ask you… and list off a bunch of poisons… “If it’s so healthy, try drinking it… you’ll probably die.”
Yeah, you know what else is healthy? Broccoli. Try injecting some into your bloodstream… you’ll probably die.
I no longer have any interest in arguing with anti-vaxxers. It makes my thoroughly-well-vaccinated blood boil. And I really wouldn’t care as much, were it not for the fact that their insanity has the potential to affect us all. There are those who wish they could take the vaccine, but for other health reasons, cannot. Those are the people who’d benefit most from herd immunity.
There’s no vaccine yet, but it’s coming. Many groups are making great strides. But if we think our problems are solved when it gets here, not quite.
Apart from the logistics involved in creating 7+ billion doses and distributing them… comes the issue of who gets them first. It’s an interesting discussion. The first thought is obvious – doctors, front-line medical practitioners, etc. They should certainly be near the top of the list, but those people have PPE and good habits and access to medical care. From a humanitarian point of view, it should be those at highest risk for numerous reasons, and if you think it through, you wind up with an interesting conclusion.
Here’s a list of risk factors… age, overall health, access to good medical care, and liberty to exercise social distancing. Ethnicity is not irrelevant, though socioeconomic factors play into it too… like in the U.S., twice as many Black people are dying from this than white people. That may or may not map to other places around the world, but either way, we can all agree it’d be better to ride this out in a first-world country as opposed to somewhere in the third-world.
Put it all together and what do you get? Somewhere in Mogadishu, there is an aging diabetic Somalian pirate, rotting away in a crowded cesspool of a prison. That guy needs the vaccine more than I do, but he’s unlikely to be offered it anytime soon. He’ll get his shot long after some enlightened local anti-vaxxer scoffs it away. Epic fail.