CDC Director Rochelle Walensky appeared on PBS Newshour and argued that America is still in the midst of a Covid pandemic. She also implied that only being ‘fully vaccinated’ (now including two boosters) can make someone safe from dying from Covid.
“The other thing that has been really challenging through this pandemic is that the science has changed, that which was true for the original variant for the alpha variant was not true for the Delta variant and the Omicron variant,” Walensky argued. “And so we have had to shift, we’ve had to update our guidances in the context, not just of evolving science, that’s new, but also in an evolving variant that has changed.”
“When you look ahead to the fall and winter, we’re still in the middle of this pandemic,” she went on. “There’s concerns about surges and cases. As people spend more time indoors, we know there’s going to be a fall booster campaign. How should people decide if they should even get that shot? Especially when so many people have now been infected and have some level of immunity.”
“You know, I certainly don’t want to get ahead of any FDA action,” she went on. “What I will say is right now, we have people who are not yet fully up to date on their vaccines, they haven’t received a booster. And we do know that we continue to see 300, 350 to 400 new deaths every single day. And that for the most part, as we look into those, those folks are people who are unvaccinated or undervaccinated. So the most important thing you can do is to stay up to date on your COVID vaccines, to get your children up to date on their COVID vaccines. Because so much of what we know right now with this infection is that so many of these severe outcomes are preventable.”
This is a different tune than the one she sang in March. At a virtual hearing for the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis, Walensky admitted that natural immunity is real and it confers some protection to Covid-19.
“We also know that in this country because of vaccines because of boosters and because of protection from prior disease, infection-induced immunity (natural immunity) that about 95% of people in this country have some level of protection,” she said.
America long ago blew past ‘herd immunity,’ and it is now at 99%+ seroprevalence of Covid antibodies in the population. The United States is now in endemic stage.
According to Covid-19 Serohub, a joint project of the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control, approximately 100% at the upper bound range taken in late October had “spike and nucleocapsid” antibody response to Covid-19.
“The COVID-19 Seroprevalence Studies Hub, known as COVID-19 SeroHub, is an online dashboard intended to help researchers and policymakers monitor studies of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) seroprevalence in the United States,” Serohub states. “These types of studies use blood tests to identify the proportion of people in the population who possess antibodies to SARS-CoV-2. Estimates of seroprevalence do not necessarily indicate the percentage of people with sufficient antibody to protect against infection.”
This “not necessarily” is doing a lot of work. This is because multiple studies indicate that natural immunity from prior infection is superior to ‘vaccinated immunity.’ It is long-lasting, durable, and transferrable between variants. The CDC’s own research has effectively admitted as much.
The CDC released a study in January called “COVID-19 Cases and Hospitalizations by COVID-19 Vaccination Status and Previous COVID-19 Diagnosis — California and New York, May–November 2021.” The findings that natural immunity provided protection superior to vaccinated immunity were reported by Agence France-Presse.
“During America’s last surge of the coronavirus driven by the Delta variant, people who were unvaccinated but survived Covid were better protected than those who were vaccinated and not previously infected,” AFP reported.
“The finding is the latest to weigh in on a debate on the relative strengths of natural versus vaccine-acquired immunity against SARS-CoV-2, but comes this time with the imprimatur of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC),” AFP added.
The CDC claimed there were 146.6 million prior infections in the United States as of September 2020. Based on its calculation of four infections for every reported case, and the currently reported 80 million “cases,” this would put prior infections and natural immunity potentially as high as 320 million people.
Johns Hopkins University found in a landmark study published in January that 99% of unvaccinated people who had Covid infections gained robust “natural immunity” that did not diminish for at least 650 days.
The chart shows that prior infections gave rise to three different types of important antibodies; about 95% of people with prior infections retained all three.
The CDC also continues to grossly overgeneralize Covid risk factors by conflating age group risks as if they are equivalent. They are not.
The total number of Americans under age 40 who have died with Covid-19 since the very beginning is 26,502. The population for this age is 166,000,000 people — slightly over half of people in the United States. The survival rate for this age group is 99.9%. If you break down this 0.1% of deaths in this age group, 95% of them had serious underlying risk factors.
The death rate for Covid-19 has significantly slowed. The U.S. passed one million Covid-related deaths in May. It now stands at 1,038,799.
Thus, CDC Director Walensky can claim we are still in the middle of a “pandemic,” but the scientific data point in the opposite direction: The United States is well on its way out of it and has reached “endemic” stage due to the overwhelming prevalence of antibodies from prior Covid infection.
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OPINION: This article contains commentary which reflects the author's opinion.