March 26 (EIRNS)—Long-respected epidemiologist Dr. Michael T. Osterholm PhD MPH, of the University of Minnesota Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy (CIDRAP), co-authored a piece published in the Washington Post on March 21, cynically arguing against a national lockdown on the grounds that there are only two ways to halt the COVID-19 epidemic: to lock down the entire country for 18 months until a vaccine is developed; or to let the virus spread, on the basis of the so-called “herd immunity” theory that eventually the virus will burn itself out.
This unscientific “only two choices” proposition is gaining steam these days, spread by Fox News (amongst others) and many a politician of differing ideological persuasions, most of whom can’t count past 2.
Osterholm, however, identifies the source from which he contracted this growing contagion: Britain’s Imperial College of London, and its much-ballyhooed March 17 computer model of the likely course of COVID-19 under differing public health measures. That Imperial College study argued what Osterholm wrote. (We leave aside for the moment the fact that the Imperial College team under Prof. Neil Ferguson has just today “corrected”—actually completely changed—its model’s conclusions, for the third time.)
Osterholm gives the nature of the virus away in one key paragraph:
“We are in uncharted territory,” he wrote. “But the best alternative will probably entail letting those at low risk for serious disease continue to work, keep business and manufacturing operating, and run society, while at the same time advising higher-risk individuals to protect themselves through physical distancing and ramping up our health-care capacity as aggressively as possible. With this battle plan, we could gradually build up immunity without destroying the financial structure on which our lives are based.”
The fact that Osterholm insists that the financial structure actually behind the threat to all of civilization must be saved, at great risk to humanity—accepting that it is “the structure on which are lives are based”—identifies the British origin of what he is arguing for.