As figures such as Dr. Anthony Fauci recommend months of lockdowns that threaten to exterminate much of our economy, yet another expert has weighed in essentially saying that this course offers all risk and no reward. In fact, epidemiologist Knut Wittkowski stated that lifting the lockdowns would cause the Wuhan virus to be “exterminated” in weeks.
Dr. Wittkowski, the former longtime head of the Department of Biostatistics, Epidemiology, and Research Design at the Rockefeller University in New York City, made his comments in an interview with The Press & The Public Project (PPP) at the start of the month.
Wittkowski maintained “that the coronavirus could be ‘exterminated’ if we permitted most people to lead normal lives and sheltered the most vulnerable parts of society until the danger had passed,” reports the College Fix.
“With all respiratory diseases, the only thing that stops the disease is herd immunity,” Wittkowski told the PPP. “About 80% of the people need to have had contact with the virus, and the majority of them won’t even have recognized that they were infected, or they had very, very mild symptoms, especially if they are children.”
This is not conjecture. For example, consider that among 60 blood donors in one northern Italian town, 40 tested positive for Wuhan virus antibodies — meaning, they’d contracted the disease but had no symptoms and are now immune. Moreover, one study holds that half of Britain was already infected with the virus in late March already.
“So, it’s very important to keep the schools open and kids mingling to spread the virus to get herd immunity as fast as possible,” Wittkowski continued, “and then the elderly people, who should be separated, and the nursing homes should be closed during that time, can come back and meet their children and grandchildren after about 4 weeks when the virus has been exterminated.”
Wittkowski said earlier in the interview that children should “keep going to school and infecting each other.” This may sound odd. But it’s precisely what’s done, purposely, at “infection parties” — events where parents purposely expose their children to, let’s say, a chicken pox-infected kid — to develop group immunity and avoid more serious disease-related issues later in life.
(I don’t support this, mind you. There’s a difference between proactively infecting your child with a disease and what Wittkowski is proposing: letting life continue and nature take its usual course.)
American Thinker explained Wittkowski’s position very well today, writing that when “the percentage of people who’d been infected, recovered, and gained immunity got high enough, there would no longer be enough carriers for it to spread. So even those who hadn't acquired biological immunity nonetheless would become protected through herd immunity.” (Wittkowski’s PPP interview below.)
Wittkowski also claimed that, insofar as combating the disease at the society-wide level goes, “social distancing” won’t be effective because you can’t completely stop the spread of a respiratory disease. “It will go slowly, and so it will not build up herd immunity, but it will happen,” he warned. “And it will go on forever unless we let it go” (i.e., take its course).
Asked about our common policy of “containment” or “sheltering in place,” Wittkowski said that people are trying to “flatten the curve.” “I don’t really know why,” he continued. “But, what happens is if you flatten the curve, you also prolong, to widen it, and it takes more time. And I don’t see a good reason for a respiratory disease to stay in the population longer than necessary.”
But “why” may be simple: Some health experts admitted early on that the lockdowns wouldn’t stop the disease. The idea was to slow the spread — and thus prolong the outbreak by design — so that our hospitals wouldn’t be “overwhelmed.” The issue?
Our hospitals have been “underwhelmed.”
This is good news, of course. But also news is that the models predicting an overwhelmed healthcare system have been underwhelming, to say the least. As Fox News host Tucker Carlson discussed yesterday evening (video below), they have, in fact, fallen flat.
It must be emphasized that our whole policy of “locking down” the nation — which threatens to collapse our economy and, ultimately perhaps, our civilization — was based on these flawed models.
Despite this, Dr. Fauci, head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, insists that there won’t be a turning point until we develop a vaccine. This is the man who not long ago was dismissing the idea that the Wuhan virus even was a threat (video below).
Even more alarmingly, Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel has actually said that we must stay locked down for 12 to 18 months until “Vaccine Day” (yeah, say “Goodbye, USA”).
This is interesting since some experts maintain, and logic dictates, that a vaccine won’t help. “‘If we’re putting all our hopes in a vaccine as being the answer, we’re in trouble,’ Jason Schwartz, an assistant professor at Yale School of Public Health who studies vaccine policy, told me,” wrote the Atlantic’s James Hamblin in February.
“The best-case scenario, as Schwartz sees it, is the one in which this vaccine development happens far too late to make a difference for the current outbreak,” Hamblin continued.
The reason? Viruses mutate, and Hamblin states that the Wuhan flu, being in the single-strand-RNA virus class, is likely to do so. (Another question: Does prolonging the outbreak increase this risk by providing more time for mutation?) This means that the Wuhan virus strain a vaccine would be derived from might not be the strain prevalent during a “second round” with the virus.
Hamblin also quotes Harvard epidemiology professor Marc Lipsitch, who, agreeing with Wittkowski, says of the virus, “I think the likely outcome is that it will ultimately not be containable.” So where does this leave us?
It perhaps should leave us with the herd immunity strategy. Instead we’re with left with Sky Is Falling Fauci, who “still openly brags about his risibly false prediction that ‘AIDS would not stay confined to the populations where it first appeared’ and [would] become ‘a disaster for society,’” as American Thinker related today.
Of course, something is becoming a disaster for society, alright, but it may not be the Wuhan flu. Hamblin writes that because of viral mutation, “‘cold and flu season’ could become ‘cold and flu and COVID-19 season.” Perhaps. Yet given our economic lockdowns, we perhaps should then ponder a question: Do we want to weather such seasonal woes as a wealthy First World nation? Or do we want to do so as Venezuela?
Image: Boonyachoat / iStock / Getty Images Plus
Selwyn Duke (@SelwynDuke) has written for The New American for more than a decade. He has also written for The Hill, Observer, The American Conservative, WorldNetDaily, American Thinker, and many other print and online publications. In addition, he has contributed to college textbooks published by Gale-Cengage Learning, has appeared on television, and is a frequent guest on radio.