There are many who are promoting ending the “safer-at-home” sequestration and are touting herd immunity. It is based on the idea that when a large enough percentage of a population gets infected, then the virus will go away because it has nowhere else to go. But the real problem with this is that we will have to be willing to let a portion of the population to die. Here is the real problem.
Scientists say that in order to achieve herd immunity, at least 70%, or 5.6 billion people worldwide will have to become infected. According to worldometers.info, the current reported fatality rate is 3-4%. If that number stands, between 240 million to 320 million people will die before we will have herd immunity. This is 2 to 3 times the total deaths from WWI and WWII combined (120 million).
In the US, to achieve herd immunity, we have to be willing to let 10.5 to 14 million people die. The total US casualties in all wars combined from its founding in 1775 to today are 2.85 million. Herd immunity requires about five times the number of people the US lost in 250 years of wars. (Irony is that this casualty number is similar to the low-end-estimates of deaths of the First Nation people due to European colonization of North America and the number of kidnapped free African lives lost in the Middle Passage.) The other problem is that currently, we have about 1.5 million infected persons in the US, and at the current rate of infection, it will take 27 years before we will have herd immunity. So, you can see it makes no sense.
Even if the scientists are being alarmists and there are only fractions of lives of what is predicted are lost, we must keep in mind that one life lost is unnecessary and too many. Until a vaccine is developed, we must “stay-at-home” and wear a mask when out in public, no matter how uncomfortable it may be.
The question is, what good is an open economy if people are dying? Until a vaccine is developed, this is the only option we have. The Justinian plague killed about 50% of the world’s population, and eventually, it ended when there were no more people to die. The Black plague, which hit Europe in 1347, claimed an astonishing 200 million lives in just four years. There were others, but all of these had a common theme. They did not have a vaccine, and they just went on with their normal lives until the pandemic ended.
You can now see why herd immunity is a foolish idea that leads to death. We are all in this together, and we must act for what is best for others, not for ourselves. We must spend time learning how to live in this “new normal” and come up with new ways to reflect the love of Jesus. We must be the agents of hope not hysteria. Churches must be the ones who promote life, not death. We must be agents of new life, not the end of life. Churches must be the creative force for adaptations, not complainers of change.
We are all in this together, and as a church, let us be the agents of hope, love, and charity as we move into the new world.