Kim McGahey, former Summit County school board member and county GOP chairman now running for the Colorado House in HD-61, has got this whole coronavirus pandemic thing figured out! His drop-what-you’re-doing letter to the editor at the Summit Daily News, and we all know newspaper letters to the editor are the gold standard for peer-reviewed cutting edge science, lays it out:
I implore the town councils, county commissioners and Colorado governor to rescind the countywide and statewide lockdowns and allow, even encourage, low-risk COVID-19 people to return to work, open businesses and give our local and regional economies a fighting chance to resuscitate and not languish indefinitely in the current emotional and financial downward spiral. Surely, there must be a way to protect the high-risk group while not sacrificing our constitutional freedoms in the process. We must certainly protect the 3%, but a quarantine on the 97% is misguided over-reach.
According to experts, the low-risk demographics, which include most of Colorado’s population, would recover quickly or not show any symptoms after contracting the virus. The relatively small high-risk group (those older than 70 with underlying conditions like heart or lung ailments) should be excluded from the general population with all due precautions.
But the youthful majority should be allowed to return to work so that at some point 40% to 70% of that population will become naturally immune.
So to be clear, HD-61 GOP House candidate Kim McGahey is in real estate, not medicine. But he’s another textbook example of Republican armchair epidemiology, in good company from Rush Limbaugh’s “it’s the common cold” to Donald Trump’s “it’s a miracle drug.” McGahey read the Wikipedia article on herd immunity and suddenly the solution was obvious: we have to let the kids infect each other!
Dr. Peter Raich of Dillon, an actual doctor, responds to McGahey today:
The concepts expressed in the letter to the editor by Kim McGahey in the April 10 Summit Daily News are misleading and dangerous. Herd immunity does work for certain infectious diseases, primarily through effective immunization programs. When allowed to occur naturally (by allowing children to infect each other), it can also work, but at a high physical and mental cost, such as polio leading to much disability and measles leading to deaths, heart disease and deafness.
Trying to build herd immunity for infectious diseases such as COVID-19, SARS or MERS does not work for various reasons. [Pols emphasis] With a fatality rate of at least 10 times that of influenza, also including many nonelderly who become infected, letting such a disease infect the entire population at once is both irresponsible and dangerous…
The moral of the story: if you’re taking pandemic advice from the letters to the editor section of your local newspaper or your local Republican Party, or even worse both, please refine your own editorial standards.