Who will become the victims of U.S. inevitable herd immunity?


Facing huge reelection pressure, Trump government is trying to shift public focus from COVID to economy. Ignoring scientific experts’ warnings, government’s “back to work” plan without comprehensive and tighter controlled settings will sweep off thousands of people. We will be forced to reach herd immunity because politicians want quick economic and political success, although most of the experts believe that is a horrible idea. Now a thorny question we have to face is: Who will become the victims?

Trump uses advanced political tactics and framing tricks to pass on the potential catastrophic consequences of rapid re-openness to ordinary people and other politicians.

On the one hand, Trump abuses the economic pressure the pandemic has brought to the people and lure them to make impulsive decisions. Areas like Chelsea and Revere in Boston, where low-income groups are concentrated, have large population densities and high infection rate. For these people, the severe survival crisis of not working may not be lower than the infection itself. The government has not introduced enough measures to protect their lives as much as they can. Instead, Trump is spreading disinformation to let them support the resumption of work. After all, even Trump’s joke about “injection disinfectant against COVID” has taken seriously by many people, it is not that hard to imagine that how many people will buy his idea that the country is ready to reopen immediately.

On the other hand, Trump let the state governments to “call you own shots” in terms of restart the economy as well as how to balance between economic recovery and life protection. For Trump, he could arbitrarily blame any state according to the public opinion and polling results. If more people are blaming the bad economy, he can easily criticize states who chose to continue lockdown; or he can accuse those states who reopen their economy too soon and cause more death than it should be if people are unhappy about the death numbers. But for ordinary people, the different choices among the states means that none of the state could fully restart their economies or practice pandemic prevention measures tightly.

Even worse, due to the insufficient early intervention, current sampling tests may have hinted that herd immunization is an inevitable denouement.

In the first round of antibody sampling tests conducted in New York State this week, 13.9% of the 3000 people have been infected and have antibodies, while in New York City, this proportion is as high as 21%. Expert said this means that, translated into actual morbidity, 2.7 million people in New York State are infected. Meanwhile, a sample of 200 people’s test in Chelsea, Massachusetts shows that almost one-third of people had antibodies. More test is on the way and it will gradually confirm our guess that the number of potential infections is beyond large.

Now science is giving way to moral judgment, who will be sacrificed?

Herd immunization is certainly one of the possible means to overcome the virus, but it uses live people to replace the vaccines. Who becomes the victims in this human sacrifice to the nature, old people, poor people, immigrants or people of color? Without the strong government leadership, we let a disease run its course to achieve herd immunity. People at the bottom who are eager to pay their bills, immigrants who lack of basic health insurances, older people who have many complications have higher possibilities to become the first wave of victims in this mass immunization experiments. Even young people who are less vulnerable to the virus may still translate to thousands of deaths.

Each and every death is a tragedy for a family. The problem right now is the virus is killing people. We sincerely hope by saying “not let the cure be worse than the problem”, our president doesn’t make simple comparison between deaths number and economy index.