Measuring the medical impact of COVID-19

The Great Chinese Famine (1959-1962) was probably the greatest man-made disaster in history resulting in tens of millions of deaths.

The responses to the famine and that to COVID-19 are all too similar, characterized by false claims, misinformation, and, most of all, political posturing at the expense of public health.

The importation of Russian sparrows helped lead to ending the great famine. We await the arrival of the sparrows in the form of a vaccine.

There is no guarantee that a safe and effective vaccine is forthcoming, but even if one or more are developed it will be 12 or more months before it can be given to enough people to end the pandemic. In the absence of a vaccine, infectious disease will only burn itself out as a result of Herd Immunity.

We need to understand that Herd Immunity is not an intervention we choose, it is a natural phenomenon that is evolving case by case.

A discussion of how we inappropriately continue to define a "case" is also given and an argument made to utilize daily COVID hospital admissions as a much more valid measure of the medical impact of COVID-19.

Source:
Journal reference:

James, J. (2020) COVID-19: Yin and Yang and Herd Immunity. Disaster Medicine and Public Health Preparedness. doi.org/10.1017/dmp.2020.229.

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