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Tyler Cohen – Not Even Herd Immunity Can Fully Protect Us

Summary:
If some areas get immunity against Covid-19 sooner than expected, the world still faces huge challenges. Opinion by Tyler Cohen, professor of economics at George Mason University,Herd immunity relies on the superspreaders becoming immune, but new superspreaders are likely to arise.But there are caveats. First, many herd immunity hypotheses invoke the idea of “superspreaders” — that a relatively small number of people account for a disproportionate amount of the contagion. Perhaps it is the bartenders, church choir singers and bus drivers who spread the virus to so many others early on in the pandemic. Now that those groups have been exposed to a high degree and have acquired immunity, it might be much harder to distribute the virus. That logic makes some sense except for one issue:

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If some areas get immunity against Covid-19 sooner than expected, the world still faces huge challenges.


Opinion by Tyler Cohen, professor of economics at George Mason University,

Herd immunity relies on the superspreaders becoming immune, but new superspreaders are likely to arise.

But there are caveats. First, many herd immunity hypotheses invoke the idea of “superspreaders” — that a relatively small number of people account for a disproportionate amount of the contagion. Perhaps it is the bartenders, church choir singers and bus drivers who spread the virus to so many others early on in the pandemic. Now that those groups have been exposed to a high degree and have acquired immunity, it might be much harder to distribute the virus.

That logic makes some sense except for one issue: namely, that the identities of potential superspreaders can change over time. For instance, perhaps choir singers were superspreaders earlier in the winter, but with most choral singing shut down, maybe TSA security guards are the new superspreaders. After all, air travel has been rising steadily. Or the onset of winter and colder weather might make waiters a new set of superspreaders, as more people dine inside.

In other words, herd immunity might be a temporary state of affairs. The very economic and social changes brought by the virus may induce a rotation of potential superspreaders, thereby undoing some of the acquired protection.

Bloomberg 

Tyler Cohen - Not Even Herd Immunity Can Fully Protect Us

Mike Norman
Mike Norman is an economist and veteran trader whose career has spanned over 30 years on Wall Street. He is a former member and trader on the CME, NYMEX, COMEX and NYFE and he managed money for one of the largest hedge funds and ran a prop trading desk for Credit Suisse.

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