Barry Farah

Barry Farah

I have argued that respect for our freedom rights should inform the fight against COVID-19. Yet, we continue to watch a command-style approach which has conditioned people to exchange their liberty for a false sense of security.

First, masks don’t help as much as previously thought. The CDC states that 70.6% of the people who have contracted COVID-19 were wearing masks all the time. 

Second, we focused too much on one health issue. There are mounting statistics revealing that there would be fewer excess deaths among those with dementia, diabetes and hypertension if we had a more balanced approach. 

Third, the concept of waiting until we get a vaccine to reach herd immunity is not well supported. The Mayo Clinic explains that herd immunity is when a “large portion of a community (the herd) becomes immune” to a disease. 

The CDC has argued that a “long-lasting immunity” requires a “threshold of 70%” of the population to “recover from COVID-19 to halt the epidemic.” Really? You need 228 million people in the U.S. to get it and recover?  The CDC is using a formula that is 100 years old to determine the 70% threshold number. 

Recently, scholars have discovered that the herd immunity threshold is likely much lower. For example, three distinguished professors from the Department of Mathematics at Stockholm University, and the School of Mathematical Sciences at the University of Nottingham, found “herd immunity can be achieved at a population-wide infection rate of approximately 40%.” Their research findings were published Aug. 14.  

Another research project, published Aug. 31 by six scholars from Oxford, Sao Paulo, Edinburgh, Porto and Glasgow revealed that presenting the variable of susceptibility “intensifies the deceleration in incidence” and will “result in herd immunity thresholds around 10-20%.” So, who is right?

Setting aside predictive models, we have a recent historic fact. In 2009-10 herd immunity was achieved at 19.68% with the H1N1 (swine flu). Though the media rarely mentioned it, there were 60.8 million U.S. cases in a population at the time of 308 million. 

Fourth, vaccinations are not a cure all. Vaccination acceptance is only 37% now. The flu vaccine, for example, is only effective 69% of the time.  Multiply those numbers together and you get a useful impact on only 25.53% of the population. This Alfred Sloan study concludes, “Influenza vaccines can provide moderate protection against virologically confirmed influenza, but such protection is greatly reduced or absent in some seasons.” 

Fifth, publicly acknowledge that almost everyone recovers from COVID-19 and the number of deaths directly due to COVID-19 among those with no pre-existing conditions is small. I requested information through Colorado’s Open Records Act from county health departments and coroner’s offices and from the state. As of Oct. 19, Colorado’s Vital Statistics Program reports that when COVID-19 is listed as the “only health condition recorded on the death certificate,” Colorado had 11 deaths among people under 65. For those over 65 all but 29 had pre-existing medical conditions, usually chronic. The CDC responded to my FOIA request and reports 6% of COVID-19 deaths nationwide are “the only cause.” The remaining 94% list an “average of 2.6 additional causes of death.” 

Sixth, acknowledge good news. Treatments are improving all the time, even for those at risk. Notice a well-known, overweight, 74-year-old’s quick recovery. People probably don’t need to be living in constant fear.

Seventh, we should listen to other points of view. Government experts are not the only credible voices. Witness the advocates of Focused Protection. Led by Dr. Gupta of Oxford University, Dr. Kulldorff of Harvard and Dr. Bhattacharrya of Stanford, they make a compelling case to allocate energy to protect the vulnerable and to remove all mandates among the healthy. Distinguished scholars and medical practitioners from all over the world have signed their declaration. It is a sensible approach to a healthier society reaching herd immunity more quickly.

Gov. Polis let’s be truthful. The WHO now states that your shutdown hurt the poor the most. The total number of deaths directly caused by COVID-19 among people with no pre-existing conditions under the age of 65 in Colorado is one eighth that of drug related deaths and one tenth that of suicides

Publish the truth and relax the mandates. There is no justification for continuing to use emergency powers. Treat people with respect; honor their right to move about without restriction, and allow them to manage risk for themselves.

Barry Farah ran for governor of Colorado in 2018. He is a deal adviser; served as a CEO in six economic sectors, and has authored three books on business.

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