Trump is not wrong in thinking he might be immune to Covid. It’s the censorship of Twitter that shivers down your spine

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Is there anything Donald Trump could write on Twitter that the moderators of the social media site wouldn’t mind? Consider their reaction to his Sunday night message. “A total and complete approval of the doctors of the White House yesterday”, declared the president. “It means I can’t get it (immune) and I can’t give it. Very nice to know !!! Twitter responded by adding a warning tag to Trump’s tweet, claiming he had “violated Twitter’s rules for disseminating deceptive and potentially harmful information related to Covid-19.”I presume the Twitter moderators are not participating in the discussions between the president and White House medics, which means it must have been this latest statement that upset them. But that doesn’t make sense. As Trump himself said on Sunday, no one knows how long Covid’s immunity lasts. Yet by hinting that he is, for the time being, immune to or transmitting the virus, the president was simply echoing what is an almost universal scientific belief.

The fact that people who have recovered from the virus cannot immediately come back down is an assumption, for example, that is built into the model of Neil Ferguson, who persuaded the government to put us on lockdown in the first place. He divided the population into three groups: the infected, the uninfected and the immune. Additionally, the assumption that humans are able to gain immunity against Covid-19 lies behind all vaccine development programs – if we cannot gain immunity, we are wasting billions on doomed projects. to failure.

If exposure to Sars-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19, didn’t give us any immunity, surely we would know by now – millions of people around the world would have been affected two or more times. There is also not much evidence to suggest that immunity wears off easily over a period of several months – the time that Covid-19 has so far been with us. There have been a small number of reported cases of people apparently catching the virus twice, and even these are complicated by the fact that some tests fail to distinguish between live and dead viruses.

It’s hard to escape the conclusion that Twitter is picking up Trump’s thread in a way that it doesn’t pick on others. Who knows – and I’m imagining here, lest Twitter choose to block me – one might even wonder if someone on Twitter’s team of moderators doesn’t want Trump re-elected. But we can be grateful to the social media site for at least one thing: It inadvertently helped bring up a topic so many governments – including our own – seem to have ignored: the role of immunity in fighting the pandemic. .

According to antibody tests, between 6 and 7 percent of the UK population have been exposed to the Sars-CoV-2 virus and have a physical manifestation of immunity to other infections. That’s over 4 million people walking around who shouldn’t be able to catch it. Yet they will be subject to the same restrictions as everyone else. If recalled by NHS Test and Trace, they will be legally obliged, under penalty of a £ 10,000 fine, to stay home for the next 14 days, even though they are unlikely to be able to catch the virus or transmit it . In April, the government spoke of “immunity passports” to help society get back to normal. What happened to them?

The government’s projections for a second wave of the virus do not appear to take into account the possibility that the British population has developed some degree of herd immunity. Although the epidemic has not been stopped in its tracks, it is likely slowed down by the fact that about one in 15 people have antibodies to fight it. This may explain why most of London appears to be relatively lightly affected this time around, having been the focus of the infection in the spring.

Donald Trump could talk and write a lot of nonsense, but Sunday’s tweet was not unreasonable. Rather, it was just stating something that almost all scientists accept but public policy seems to ignore. If anyone provides “misleading” information, it’s Twitter, suggesting that Covid immunity does not exist.

‘The Denial’ by Ross Clark is published by Lume Books

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