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It’s approaching the status of a reliable rule of thumb: The longer the CCP Virus pandemic lasts, the weirder, and more unnecessarily harmful on balance, the actual and potential official responses get. The most important example nowadays has to do with the ever lengthening lists (a) of vaccine mandates and passports that have already been created by governments and businesses and universities around the country; and (b) increasingly irate calls for more – including demands that the unvaccinated be denied medical care or (seemingly more reasonably) affordable health insurance.

Given the large numbers of Americans remaining unvaccinated, and apparently likely to stay unvaccinated, the risks of mandates and passports per se should be obvious. Despite the U.S. economy’s strong recovery so far from the initial virus- and lockdowns-induce recession, new laws denying, say, employment to this population and barring them from patronizing businesses could deeply depress demand and output, and put the economy uncomfortably close to Spring, 2020 square one.

More troubling, even though these restrictions are still far from common, virus uncertainties generated by the highly contagious Delta variant seem to have already undercut hiring dramatically, and are widely forecast to weaken growth going forward. (See, e.g., here.)

But even if the virus was remotely as lethal or otherwise dangerous healthwise as Ebola or the Black Death (which it’s not), today’s insistence on universal vaccination and penalties for holdouts badly flunks the common sense test. The main reason: It completely ignores the existence of both natural and acquired immunity.

In fact, not only has the phenomenon of immunity not exactly been a secret to “The Science” – at least ever since disease began to be systematically studied. It’s likely reached gargantuan scale in the United States today. For example, a study just published in the respected science journal Nature and funded in part by the U.S. National Academy of Sciences contended that as of the end of last year, 103 million Americans had been infected with the virus. That’s about a third of the total population, and about five times the numbers of recorded cases at that point. Also during 2020, according to the reliable Worldometers.info website, just shy of 366,000 had succumbed to the disease.

Therefore, as of the end of 2020, more than 102 million Americans acquired immunity by recovering from infections that were either asymptomatic or too mild to report. And an unknown (but surely large) number of Americans were never infected to begin with because they were naturally immune.

All of these figures, of course, cover the period months before Delta arrived. Since it’s so infectious, the numbers of those with natural or acquired immunity nowadays must still be at least as big and possibly much bigger. The full vaccination of nearly 177 million Americans as of this latest CDC update of course complicates the estimation process, because so many with natural immunity undoubtedly have gotten such protection.

Another big complication: Vaccines have only been available since the very end of last year, and the numbers of fully vaccinated Americans took a while to become significant both because of roll-out delays and vaccine hesitancy. As a result, there’s not much data yet on whether either form of immunity is more protective than that offered by the jabs – which of course bears vitally on the core assumption behind the calls for vaccine mandates and the like.

After all, if either natural or acquired immunity is comparably effective to vaccination in warding off the virus (the study described here indicates they’re at worst not far off), or if both are, the case that the jabs are medically necessary for all the unvaccinated – either to safeguard the health of the unjabbed themselves, or to prevent them from spreading the malady – simply falls apart.

In addition, the paucity of great data is a problem in and of itself. Unquestionably, there could still major risks, especially long-term, to leaving the unvaccinated unvaxxed. But as noted, the risks of indiscriminate mandates and penalties are impressive as well. Consequently, what should be foremost on Americans’ minds when it comes to mandates-like questions is that in these circumstances, barreling ahead with sweeping measures and sanctions – many of whose effects, particuarly like joblessness and lost income, won’t take long to appear – would be the height of recklessness. As for those who would deny medical care to all of the unvaccinated on this fatally flawed basis (except those who can cite medical exemptions?), that seems the height of arrogance and self-righteousness – not to mention morally disgusting.

And in case you think that the common observation that the unvaccinated comprise nearly all recent CCP Virus-related deaths and hospitalizations clinches the case for mandates, these immunity points shred that idea, too. The problem is not with the claim of high correlation between unvaxxed status and mortality and  hospitalization. The problem is with assuming that a noteworthy share of these virus victims – or even the vast majority – had any form of immunity. In principle, large numbers of the unvaccinated immune could be coming down with dangerous virus infections anyway, or are likely to – and consequently should be coerced into getting jabbed and punished for refusing. But I haven’t seen that argument made; have you? And it’s surely missing in action because immunity is undeniably a thing.

So absent evidence to the contrary, the only reasonable conclusions are that getting the non-immune unvaxxed vaccinated should be a top priority, and that vaccination campaigns should be focused tightly on them. The immune unvaxxed, however, should be allowed to continue their lives as normal.

More than enough American live have been lost or ruined during the pandemic. Unless and until it’s discovered that all of the unvaccinated pose dangers to themselves and/or to others – whether because natural or acquired immunity is completely mythical, or is much weaker than the vaccines-produced variety – indiscriminate vaccine mandates, passports, and penalties will only needlessly lengthen the list of casualties.