US COVID death toll hits 150,000 as Trump declares “…exciting progress” (in killing people?)

Laurie Garrett and John Moore discuss herd immunity which is the default position of leaders like Trump who don’t care how many people die. Trump continues to make excuses and even regress to debunked remedies. He will sacrifice a quarter-million people to achieve re-election, making the actual death toll attributable to his initial inaction likely over 100,000, ironically the level at which he claimed that his administration would have done “a good job”. If he wins he could be impeached again almost immediately after inauguration, damn the “blowback”.

From Wall Street to Main Street, much hope in the COVID-19 crisis has been placed on “herd immunity,” the idea that a sufficient number of people will eventually develop antibodies to stop virus spread and curtail the pandemic. That thinking is behind President Donald Trump’s insisting, “The virus will disappear. It will disappear.”

The Swedish government chose to pursue herd immunity during the spring when COVID-19 overwhelmed many European nations, favoring voluntary control measures over strict lockdown procedures. This week, 21 Swedish infectious diseases experts denounced the policy, writing, “In Sweden, the strategy has led to death, grief, and suffering, and on top of that there are no indications that the Swedish economy has fared better than in many other countries. At the moment, we have set an example for the rest of the world on how not to deal with a deadly infectious disease.”

The United Kingdom also flirted with a herd immunity strategy in March, but it soon backtracked as the death toll rose and Prime Minister Boris Johnson was hospitalized with COVID-19.

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Modeling of SARS-CoV-2 indicates that an infection rate of 65% to 70% is needed to protect the rest of our freewheeling human herd. Thus, two-thirds of the U.S. population must become resistant to the virus before our epidemic shifts from collective catastrophe to isolated incidents. But allowing infection of about 200 million Americans translates to more than 1 million deaths, a morally reprehensible toll. The 10% antibody-positive rate among Swedes, the 5% seen in survivors of Spain’s epidemic, and even the 45% found among London health care workers involved in COVID-19 patient care come nowhere near herd immunity levels.

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To boost public confidence, it is essential that vaccines are approved only after both efficacy and safety are rigorously proved. Any rushed political interventions and election year politics that compromise safety assessments could render mass immunization impossible by further fostering public distrust.

As prominent economists have put it, “Absolute economic recovery rests on the eradication of COVID-19. The reality is that the timeline, efficacy, cost, and distribution of a vaccine all introduce factors that we do not believe are appropriately reflected in the markets and public sentiment.”

This killer coronavirus will not simply “disappear” as long as human behavior allows it to spread within the herd. A Wall Street miracle, where powerful, lasting immunity emerges en masse and allows the world economy to return to its 2019 ways, is delusional. Until a vaccine or multiple vaccines are developed and used on a global scale to confer herd immunity, human beings must exercise free will to protect themselves and the rest of the human herd by using masks, social distancing, and good old-fashioned common sense.

fortune.com/…

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— FORTUNE (@FortuneMagazine) July 29, 2020

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— The Lincoln Project (@ProjectLincoln) July 28, 2020

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— Bryce Oates (@OatesBryce) July 23, 2020

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— The Washington Post (@washingtonpost) July 29, 2020

There is one factor that explains Trump’s decline: independents. Five polls in both sets breaks down support for Trump and Biden among Democrats, Republicans and independents. Democrats and Republicans have barely changed over this period, although Trump does get between two and eight fewer points of support among Republicans today than he did before the pandemic. The real change is among independents. Before the pandemic, they either backed Trump or backed Biden by a narrow margin. Today, Biden leads Trump among independents by between nine and 17 points. This massive shift explains why Trump has gone from trailing Biden by five points on March 4, the day after Biden’s Super Tuesday romp, to nine points today.

Republicans inclined to dismiss the polls entirely because of 2016 are also off-base. The polls weren’t wrong in 2016; they were just misinterpreted by virtually every analyst. One could have adjusted for well-known patterns in voter behavior and arrived at the right result. That’s what I did in my pre-election predictions, which said Clinton would beat Trump in the popular vote by a 48-to-47 margin (she actually won 48 percent to 46 percent). The truth was hiding in plain view the entire time; it was the pundit class, not the polls, that failed.
The key to interpreting the polls in 2016 involved knowing how voters who say they are undecided or voting for a third party tend to behave on Election Day. Undecided voters tend to break heavily against the incumbent, and in 2016, Clinton was the de facto incumbent seeking to succeed President Barack Obama. Between one-third and half of people who say they will back a third-party candidate normally end up not doing so, and they break heavily back toward the party they normally support. In 2016, the bulk of third-party voters were Republicans unhappy with Trump. In the end, both factors helped give Trump a last-minute surge, a surge that confounded the experts and gave him the victory.

www.washingtonpost.com/…

Trump believes that a “last-minute surge” will save him. 
Trump will try anything to avoid defeat, and one assumes that “steps are being taken”.

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— Jennifer Cohn ✍🏻 (@jennycohn1) July 29, 2020

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— Ellen L 😷 Weintraub (@EllenLWeintraub) July 28, 2020

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— NDRC (@DemRedistrict) July 28, 2020

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— Adam Schiff (@RepAdamSchiff) July 28, 2020

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— Slate (@Slate) July 29, 2020

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— Adam Rifkin 🐼 (@ifindkarma) April 27, 2020

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— Brian Klaas (@brianklaas) July 28, 2020

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— Adam Rifkin 🐼 (@ifindkarma) July 9, 2020

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