Sounds like a heavy price to pay.

Courtesy of WaPo:

As the covid-19 pandemic continues in the United States and many parts of the world, millions of Americans are increasingly impatient for the economy and society to regain a more normal footing. Some “maverick scientists” with “an audience inside the White House,” as The Post reported last week, argue for “allowing the coronavirus to spread freely at ‘natural’ rates among healthy young people while keeping most aspects of the economy up and running.”

Their aim is to achieve “herd immunity,” the concept that if enough people are immune, those without immunity can be protected. Usually this refers to immunity gained from vaccination; the goal of herd immunity has typically not been applied to a disease for which there is no vaccine.

There is a saying that for every complicated problem, a solution exists that is quick, simple — and wrong. That applies here: Pursuing herd immunity is the wrong, dead wrong, solution for the pandemic. Discussing such a reckless approach shouldn’t be necessary, except that it echoes the misguided ideas of neuroradiologist Scott Atlas, who in recent months has become an influential medical adviser to President Trump.

Atlas, The Post reported, has relied on similar-minded scientists “to bolster his in-house arguments.”

Less than 15 percent of Americans have been infected by the virus that causes covid-19. If immunity among those who have been infected and survived is strong and long-lasting (and it may well be neither), and if herd immunity kicks in at 60 percent infection of the population (and it might be higher), with a fatality rate of 0.5 percent among those infected, then at least another half-million Americans — in addition to the 220,000 who have already died — would have to die for the country to achieve herd immunity. And that’s the best-case scenario. The number of deaths to get there could be twice as high.

And, by the way, that is assuming that we will become immune to the virus once we recover from our initial infection. 

There are a growing number of stories about people who have been infected more than once, and even  case where the second infection resulted in death.

Courtesy of CBS News:

An elderly woman from the Netherlands caught COVID-19 twice and died after reinfection, researchers said in a study accepted for publication in the journal Clinical Infectious Disease. While there have been other reported cases of coronavirus reinfection, Dutch media said this is the first death known worldwide after reinfection, Reuters reported.

The woman had Waldenström’s macroglobulinemia, a rare cancer, and was being treated with B-cell-depleting therapy when she contracted COVID-19. She had a fever and severe cough and went to the emergency room, where she tested positive for the virus, according to the study. She went home five days later and recovered from her symptoms, aside from some lingering fatigue.

However, 59 days after the start of that COVID-19 infection, she developed symptoms again. She had received chemotherapy two days prior to developing symptoms. She suffered fever, cough and dyspnea and her oxygen saturation was 90% when she went to the hospital. She tested positive for COVID-19 again and died weeks later.

According to the study, the patient was infected with two different strains and it is unclear if she ever became immune following each infection. Researchers say, “it is likely that the second episode was a reinfection rather than prolonged shedding.”

Similarly, researchers in the U.S. found a 25-year-old patient in Nevada was infected with COVID-19 twice – by two different strands. It is also unclear if the man was ever immune to the virus or how long immunity would have lasted, according to the study, published in The Lancet Infectious Diseases, a medical journal.

In that case, the second infection “was symptomatically more severe than the first,” and lasted about six weeks, the researchers said.

It is also important to note that this is not the way that herd immunity works in the first place. 

As the director of WHO pointed out the term “herd immunity” is used to describe the effect a vaccine has on a community by protecting the small number of unvaccinated by surrounding them with those whose vaccinations have rendered them immune to a specific disease. 

Allowing people to get sick and die until there is no one left to get sick is how the introduction of smallpox by white people obliterated entire villages of Native Alaskans. 

Genocide, is that really what we want, just because we cannot be bothered to wear a mask?