Shapiro: The ‘Controlled Avalanche’ Strategy

From the Jewish World Daily:

The question of assumptions is key to our policymaking. That’s because if we assume the worst — no therapeutics that seriously knock down the infection fatality rate, no vaccines for 18 months or more and an economy that simply cannot function at one-quarter or even half of normal capacity — then we are forced to a simple conclusion: In the absence of any significant change to the status quo, we must pursue a strategy of so-called controlled avalanche.

That strategy has been coined by Israeli scientists, who suggest that the best strategy for reducing deaths while achieving herd immunity would be to tranche populations and then expose the least-vulnerable populations to COVID-19 in order to let them develop antibodies — in essence, performing with public health the same function ski resorts perform when they create small avalanches in order to avoid a major avalanche.

The simple fact is that 40% to 50%, at low estimate, of all deaths in the European Union from COVID-19 have occurred at nursing homes; the same is true in California. Had the authorities properly protected nursing homes, the infection fatality rate across the industrialized world could be (SET ITAL half of the current rate.

It is also true that the infection fatality rate for COVID-19 ranges widely by age: As of late April, of the 37,308 deaths recorded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, just 1,036 were people under the age of 45, and just 51 were below the age of 25. Even among younger populations, the vast majority of deaths were people with underlying conditions.

Israeli scientists suggest that protecting the elderly and the vulnerable and then allowing herd immunity to develop among the least vulnerable would radically reduce overall mortality (by over 40%), reduce the maximum number of people in need for ICUs (by over 60%) and decrease the time required to allow freedom to low-risk populations by months.

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