And during the COVID-19 pandemic, so-called “coronavirus truthers” and “hospital truthers” have continued to insist that the pandemic is one big hoax perpetrated by liberals, progressives, the mainstream media and “the Deep State.” Conservative Never Trump journalist Jonathan V. Last cites Knut Wittkowski as someone who coronavirus truthers have adopted as an authority — and he lays out, in an article published in The Bulwark this week, why Wittkowski’s assertions are problematic. Similar herd immunity strategies have been adopted in Sweden, under considerable criticism. You can subscribe to our print edition, ad-free app or electronic newspaper replica here. Last points to a quote from a College Fix article in which Wittkowski asserted, “(What) people are trying to do is flatten the curve. A USA TODAY analysis in March of data from the Census Bureau and the American Hospital Association found some states may need eight times as many beds to appropriately care for coronavirus patients if infection spreads at the rate of a mild flu. That’s true for most viruses. This estimate assumes all infections would occur at once and all hospital beds would be empty, both of which are not the case amid the pandemic. His reasoning is that, somewhere in the world, there exists PPE equipment that is not currently being used. Trust this one expert, who’s shooting from the hip.”. Demand honest news. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who was hospitalized with COVID-19, endorsed a similar idea, although his chief scientific adviser revoked the statement. Click here to donate by check. If I could summarize what’s going on here, it’s basically that the College Fix is saying: don’t trust all of those experts with their fancy models. “Everyone walking around hoping to engender herd immunity is probably not the best scenario. Ergo, any local ‘shortage’ is just a misallocation. We don’t yet have definitive proof whether there’s natural protective immunity.”. Support progressive journalism with a one-time contribution to AlterNet, or click here to become a subscriber. While it is true that  herd immunity may eventually be achieved as a result of vaccination or widespread infection, it is false to say that infection it is the best way to achieve herd immunity or that it definitively would achieve it, based on our research. Although it is possible to achieve herd immunity through infection, “you don’t rely on the very deadly infectious agent to create an immune population,” Akiko Iwasaki, a virologist at the Yale School of Medicine, told The Atlantic. (The exact infection rate of COVID-19 is still unknown.) For example, herd immunity for the measles is achieved when 19 out of 20 people receive the vaccination. In his second interview with Journeyman Films, Dr. Knut Wittkowski states how his initial claims have now been vindicated – the US and European policy lockdowns – came way too late as the virus had already made its way into the populations and therefore any panic measures to contain it would not be effective, and more likely could exact a massive cost on society and the economy. Far-right extremists have promoted one absurd conspiracy theory after another. Help support AlterNet and our mission to keep you informed during this crisis. Dan Barouch, director of the Center for Virology and Vaccine Research at Harvard University, said between the two options of achieving herd immunity through infection versus vaccination, “I would certainly advocate for the latter.”. “With most viral infections, when someone gets infected and then recovers, they develop immunity at least for a period of time and cannot be reinfected. Independent journalism is increasingly imperiled; ads alone can’t pay our bills. Although the coronavirus infection rates have slowed down in South Korea and Mainland China, Last notes, that doesn’t mean that infections have disappeared altogether in those countries. Knut M. Wittkowski: Two epidemics of COV ID-19 (2020-03-28) -8- Fig 4: COVID-19 cases in South Korea and Iran. (Image: X-Mode/Tectonix/screenshot). Coronavirus: How vaccines are developed and tested. AlterNet counts on readers like you to support our coverage. It could backfire, Vox, April 16 Try AlterNet 2020 for just $1. Then join the hundreds of readers who have supported AlterNet this year. Data from location accuracy company X-Mode tracking cell phones from spring breakers shows how the coronavirus could have spread from just one beach. Although most experts encourage the public to practice social distancing to “flatten the curve” – a phrase to describe the attempt to distribute the span of the outbreak more gradually over time so as not to overwhelm the health care system – some people disagree with that tactic. Knut Wittkowski, a former biostatistician at the Rockefeller University, claimed in the interview social distancing is not the right way to handle the pandemic. The Rockefeller University released a statement April 13 saying Wittkowski’s views “do not represent the views of the Rockefeller University, its leadership, or its faculty.”. The need for hospital beds varies from state to state. Thank you. “As he was saying this, China was reporting new cases. Herd immunity occurs when a large portion of the population becomes immune to a disease or virus, stopping its spread because there are so few people who can contract it. Opinion from Salon and Jim Hightower? And we’re proud to say that we’ve been bringing you the real, unfiltered news for 20 years—longer than any other progressive news site on the Internet. interview transcript posted to ratical.org, The letter signed by more than 500 scientists, Open letter to the U.K. government regarding COVID-19, University of Oxford’s Vaccine Knowledge Project, Public request to take stronger measures of social distancing across the U.K. with immediate effect, Sweden’s government has tried a risky coronavirus strategy. The letter signed by more than 500 scientists in the U.K. said, “Going for ‘herd immunity’ at this point does not seem a viable option, as this will put (Britain's National Health Service) at an even stronger level of stress, risking many more lives than necessary.”. Wittkowski, Last notes, has said “that there is no shortage of PPE equipment. Wittkowski, former head of the Department of Biostatistics, Epidemiology and Research Design at New York City’s Rockefeller University, is controversial when it comes to coronavirus. But what happens is if you flatten the curve, you also prolong (it)…. Wittkowski stands by his claim, citing the difficulty of contact tracing and the lack of a vaccine. “For COVID-19, we don’t know yet. Wittkowski supported herd immunity through infection. James Whitney, principal investigator at the Center for Virology and Vaccine Research,  said COVID-19’s unknown mutation rate poses uncertainty for reaching herd immunity. Little is known about natural protective immunity to the virus after it has been contracted. Thank you for supporting our journalism. “The short answer is we don’t know enough right now to say if infection will offer complete protection,” Whitney said. It’s through the generosity of our supporters that we’re able to share with you all the underreported news you need to know. ARTICLE: IIf the World Health Organization (WHO) deceived the world into fear and panic THEN, in 2003, why … From 03-19 to … The flip-side of Trump's 'very good people': Who should Biden fire first? Thank you. He is among the many, even many hundreds, of epidemiologists and other medical research professionals whose expertise was not consulted in the frenzied weeks in which the American political class at all levels chose panic and shutdown over rationality and rights. Support Truth. Other factors such as access to testing and medical equipment, social distancing and quarantining help stop respiratory diseases like COVID-19. He told The Atlantic that herd immunity to the coronavirus may come as a consequence, but it should not be an aim. I don’t really know why. Johnson initially justified the herd immunity tactic by explaining that strict behavioral restrictions might fatigue people so much that they would stop following the social distancing protocol. Graham Medley leads a group of scientists who model the spread of infectious diseases at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. To build their credibility, the makers of COVID-19 conspiracy videos are mixing falsities with the voices of credentialed scientists, who are sometimes unaware of how their statements are being used. Pressure to create a coronavirus vaccine is increasing by the day, but for a safe vaccine to enter the market, it takes time. Conservative writer debunks the absurd fallacies promoted by a coronavirus truther, False election claims: Here is a list of the latest election rumors you should be aware of - Alternet.org ›, Support progressive journalism with a one-time contribution to AlterNet. 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