Three experts discuss coronavirus epidemic statistics

Ivor Cummins, Dublin, Ireland hosted this hour and a half long discussion with two epidemiologists. Nick Hudson and Peter Castleden, from South Africa.

Ep89 Viral Impacts Explained

The PANDA Pandemic Data & Analytics Group

These three been analyzing reports, statistics and analyses of the coronavirus epidemic, over the last several months, over the various nations, counties and states of the world. They’re coming to a much better idea of what impacts the spread of the virus, and the severity of any resulting disease.

It’s an hour and a half long discussion, touching on many points, between three smart and capable people who enjoy working such problems together.

There were dozens of interesting points and observations made; more than I care to catalog and list here. Besides, listening to these three good men would be more pleasant than reading my words.

As an example, I learned the following, which apparently is well enough known to epidemiologists:


The idea that “herd immunity” requires perhaps 60% fo the population to have antibodies is bogus. Healthy bodies deal with most germs and viruses easily enough that they never bother to develop specific antibodies for that particular variety. Only if a germ or virus presents a sturdy challenge to the body for several days does the body develop specific antibodies, the better to recognize and attack that particular variety again if it sees it. This University of Arizona page describes this with a bit more detail and proper terminology: Innate vs. Adaptive Immunity

Given that essentially all children, and most healthy adults, can handle this coronavirus fairly easily, we may never see more than 10% or 20% of the population develop specific antibodies for this coronavirus. That will provide some protection for the older, weaker or more vulnerable, while the rest never have a serious issue.

That’s important from a public health perspective. Just because only 10% or 20% of a population is testing positive for coronavirus antibodies, rather than the 60% or 70% mentioned in the popular press, does NOT mean we should necessarily expect a second big wave, next winter. Some, who grew weaker from one winter to the next, may have a more serious case the second winter, and the virus will typically mutate over time, getting people in the second winter that it couldn’t get the first time. But repeating (or continuing) the heavy handed lock downs would repeat (or continue) the public health failures we’ve done the first time around.


Overall, these three men clearly agreed, with plenty of evidence and competent analysis of the statistics, that the heavy handed lock-downs imposed in several nations were a serious cock-up. They spent a fair bit of time, towards the end of the interview, trying to figure out how the world had changed, that such a misguided response could occur, world-wide, and noticing that in prior flu epidemics, in prior decades, no such world-wide fear pandemic happened, and no such globally misguided response was imposed.


If you’ve got the time, it’s a good listen.

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