Herd immunity is not the best way to beat COVID-19

Dr. Jay Bhattacharya’s “let the infection spread and get to herd immunity” notion (“A better COVID-19 prevention strategy,” Nov. 26) would be great if we knew how to identify individuals at low risk for COVID-19 morbidity or mortality — or if we knew how long naturally acquired active immunity lasts, and if it is even possible to achieve herd immunity this way when people could possibly be re-infected every few months.

The 0.2% fatality rate mentioned seems small until you multiply it by 320 million. And any mortality rate is subject to change based on whether or not those who become seriously ill actually have access to hospital care. Too many patients without enough hospital beds, staff and supplies should probably be our greatest concern right now.

When the pandemic hit the U.S. early this year, no one really knew how to react. Many governors took steps to try to protect their populations.

Since those early days, much has been learned about the virus, how it spreads, how it can best be prevented and how those infected can best be treated (unfortunately, there is still a lot that’s unknown).

Like many, I worry about government overreach. I recognize, however, that there are times when rules and regulations are necessary to protect the public.

We don’t have to make a choice between saving the economy and stopping the virus. We can do both. And vaccination will be the best way to get to herd immunity.

Doug Miller, Plymouth

Don’t deny COVID impact on hospitals

Dr. Bhattacharya bases his argument on a lie: “Hospitals were never at risk of being overwhelmed.” This was not true last spring, and it’s not true now. Sparrow Hospital in Lansing is right now full of COVID patients and is reportedly transferring all others to other hospitals.

COVID cases are reported to be rapidly increasing locally. Whole states are already overwhelmed, and case numbers are still increasing. 

Daniel Friderici, Bath 

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