Opinion

CNN Finally Discusses T Cell Immunity. Will New York And New Jersey Listen?

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Posted: Aug 10, 2020 12:01 AM
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CNN Finally Discusses T Cell Immunity. Will New York And New Jersey Listen?

Source: AP Photo/Hans Pennink

There hasn’t been much over at CNN of late that deviates from the usual, tiresome, “Bad Orange Man is a deranged, homicidal Nazi” mantra that’s par for the course at most any non-Fox News media outlet these days. But last week I was surprised to run across this surprising “Cuomo Prime Time” segment between CNN host Chris Cuomo and Dr. Sanjay Gupta. In the remarkable, albeit short, break from the “Cases! Cases! Cases!” panic porn we’re used to seeing, Gupta explained the concept of T cells when it comes to population immunity.

“T cells are sort of the core component, adaptive or memory immune system,” Gupta said. “They sort of trigger everything. They have components that can actually go after the virus itself, but typically they’ll sort of start antibody production. They’ll start the immune system sort of revved up. If you have T cell reactivity, what that means is the T cells are already sort of primed. They’re ready to go. As soon as it sees the virus, it can start to rev up that immune system and stop the infection.”

Gupta explained that T cells are gained from “exposure to other coronaviruses” (i.e. colds), and that upwards of 40 percent of the populations “may have some component of T cell reactivity.” He called this “very good news” that “could mean there is more immunity out there than we all realize.”

Sure, we COVID-realists have been talking about T cell immunity literally for months, but better late than never for CNN, right? I’ll certainly take it and run, but I’d also like to add a bit of logic that Cuomo’s segment predictably left off. Most immunologists have put the level needed for so-called “herd immunity” at somewhere around 60 percent. In the past, anyone who dared broach the topic was dismissed as insane or someone who wants to basically stab your grandmother in the heart. However, when you acknowledge - as experts like Stanford’s Dr. Scott Atlas has for months - that upwards of 40 percent of the population may already be somewhat immune, it presents a much lower threshold. In other words, some degree of population immunity could be obtained if only 20 percent are infected with the virus. 

This, of course, explains what’s happening in New York City right now, where up to 25 percent of residents have already been infected. 25 percent plus 40 percent equals 65 percent. This, my friends, is called herd immunity, or at least some degree of it. That doesn’t mean that nobody would get COVID-19, of course, but it would provide a significant buffer to prevent out-of-control outbreaks and massive hospitalizations. Consider: Since early June, New York as a state has consistently logged at or less than 1,000 cases per day, every day. While it does mean coronavirus is active in the state, it’s also significantly down from the 10,000 plus cases per day they were logging during the height of the pandemic. Typically, if we were to see 1,000 cases per day in a state that hasn’t endured a spike yet, there would eventually be a significant spike as those cases infect others. Yet, cases in New York remain steady and daily deaths haven’t been above 100 since May. 

Sure, lockdowns may work while they’re being implemented, but they also only prolong the inevitable. While states that locked down early are seeing spikes now that they’ve peeked their noses out, New York is gradually, painfully easing theirs and seeing no significant spike. Is it the masks? Please. If masks worked, why are places like California, Brazil, and India the hot spots when they’ve had mask ordinances in place for months? Why are cases now in Japan, the Philippines, and Hong Kong? Why are Sweden and the other Nordic countries doing fine? 

No, it’s not the lockdowns, and it’s not the masks either. It’s not even Governor Cuomo, although he might show you an 1890’s-style “COVID Mountain” chart and beg to differ. Common sense, and Farr’s Law, says New York is “managing” coronavirus now because coronavirus has already burned through its major population areas, leaving a degree of population immunity in its wake. In other words, they are currently on the far edge of the epidemic curve. It’s science, but obviously the left has never cared about following the science that goes against their pre-ordained narrative.

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All of this begs a crucial question for governors like Cuomo and New Jersey’s Phil Murphy, whose states have already been through the height of this: Why are gyms still closed? Why are restaurants still closed to indoor dining? Why are there still mandatory masking rules for people even while outside in the fresh air and hot sun? What are they waiting for? The election? For the virus to go away completely? 

Because, just like any other cold, COVID-19 seems unlikely to ever disappear for good. Someone somewhere will always have COVID-19, forever. A safe, effective vaccine people don’t have to take every 6 months keeps being promised, but read a bit deeper and you’ll see why that’s probably a pipe dream. But just like with population immunity, the news isn’t all grim. Treatment and therapies will improve and the death rate will continue to decline. As people get exposed, future exposures will be less painful. Herd immunity will be achieved at some point, regardless of what we do. The long-term prognosis would suggest we have to get used to living WITH the virus, not hiding FROM it and destroying ourselves and our society in the process.