Dear God, where has he got this idea from?

First, I am reliably informed there is no such term as ‘herd immunity’ in public health medicine. The term only exists in veterinary medicine. So this is not a medical, epidemiological or public health declaration in that case.

What the hell does he think the effect of a vaccine is then?

Jeebus.

(which is unsurprising as the common cold is also a Covid)

No it isn’t.

Third, no policy of this sort has ever been used in society.

It’s the way we deal with every infectious disease we can. Measles, mumps, smallpox, we attempt at least to gain herd immunity.

This is not, then, epidemiology at all. Nor is it science.

Well, yes Snippa, I think we can say that of your maunderings.

And the logic that underpins it is that of that branch of economic thinking.

Over time I have formed the very firm opinion that many who adhere to that way of thinking are of the opinion that the elderly are simply a burden on society who do not add to economic production. If you look at how much the elderly do add to the production side of GDP this is, of course, a sustainable argument in a great many cases. It takes only a moment in that case to extend the argument and to argue that the elderly do, then, have no worth. And what this so-called epidemiological approach does is in that case provide is cover for what I think might best be called the cull of the elderly that many of this persuasion would, I think, like.

Quite so, us elderly free market liberals are all in favour of a cull of elderly folks.

Cretin.

And all that is being done in the interests of supporting the free enterprise economy to operate without constraints because it is assumed that the elderly are pretty much outside it.

Nurse, more lithium please.

So let’s stop the pretence that this has anything at all to do with health issues. This is the economics of neoliberalism running riot, and revealing in the process its utter indifference to the interests of anyone but those who can ‘add value’ within that system.

Sigh.

He’s republished it here. With a not moderated by him comments section.

34 thoughts on “Dear God, where has he got this idea from?”

  1. Third, no policy of this sort has ever been used in society.

    So parents taking their toddlers around to a neighbour’s house so they would get measles early was never a thing? I’m just old enough to remember my mother bathing myself and my ill brother together in the hope that I would catch it too. Bastard refused to pass it on.

  2. (which is unsurprising as the common cold is also a Covid)

    To be fair, the Wikipedia links says 15% are human coronaviruses:

    “Other commonly implicated viruses include human coronaviruses (≈ 15%)”

  3. Yes, the term is/was used widely. I first professionally heard the term in relation to measles vaccinations and have heard it widely used amongst medical statisticans for the past 35 years.

  4. So Much For Subtlety

    First, I am reliably informed there is no such term as ‘herd immunity’ in public health medicine. The term only exists in veterinary medicine. So this is not a medical, epidemiological or public health declaration in that case.

    So …. the biology of human beings is some how radically different from that of cows? Why is it that herd immunity works in cattle but not in humans? We are some sort of special creation (or even Creation)?

    Or is it just a matter of the words used?

    Two seconds on google – here is someone using the term for people in 2016:

    https://www.ovg.ox.ac.uk/news/herd-immunity-how-does-it-work

    Here is the American NIH using it … in 1989

    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/7180027/

    Seems pretty well established for human public health to me.

  5. “Do not forget that many of the original Neo-Liberals were Nazi-sympathisers and most were overt racists.”

    WTF? He forgot to add “and they smelt of poo!”. Argument by name calling never looks good.

  6. So the Conservatives want to cull elderly people, most of whom vote Conservative!

    Crazy, even by Ritchie’s standards

  7. He also says

    This is not a disease to which lasting immunity is created by having it once unlike, for example, mumps. Covid 19 seems like flu and the cold in this regard…and herd immunity does not exist for either of them. In which case the claims made are based on an entirely false premise.

    So, he’s defending lockdowns on the grounds that anything else is far right granny killing neoliberalism. But at the same time saying it can’t be fixed by a vaccine or by having had it already. So the answer is what? Lockdown forever? it seems to be the logical conclusion of his arguments.

  8. The mods over there must have gone to lunch because there’s a sad absence of comments which seems implausible given the strength of partisanship seeking to express itself from his fans here.

    Incidentally…

    Richard Murphy is Professor of Practice in International Political Economy, City University of London.

    …isn’t it the case this gig is a dead gig? It is no more. It is an ex-gig. Bereft of life it has drawn down the curtain and joined the choir invisible etc.

  9. “The term only exists in veterinary medicine.”

    And in population dynamics, a specific field in biology. Which of course never applies to humans, because we’re somehow Special and exempt from anything that applies to the rest of all things living..
    Damn Victorian retrograde…

    In fact, in that field it’s a compound equation describing the factors that give (partial) immunity in a population towards a specific pathogen. The result of that bit is most easily explained to laymen as “herd immunity”.
    Because people like the Spud are a dime a dozen. They will never be able to understand the math, so you need to use baby words.

  10. When you have a disease that can be spread through the community, you have several methods to prevent it having the ability to spread. (1) Make sure that nobody has it, (2) Prevent the transmission, (3) Cure anyone who gets it.

    Lockdown is (2) in the list, the vaccine is (1) with maybe a touch of (3). Bringing back to the UK people who caught it overseas is the opposite to (1). None of the three is 100% foolproof.

    It seems that virtually anyone who died of or with it was over 60, and had some comorbidity. I’m amazed at just how draconian the measures are to save some tedious old farts who are in God’s Waiting Room already.

    Incidentally, I’m over 70, and hoping to see the looks on Remainers’ faces at the end of the year, apart from which I’ll go when I have to.

  11. @MrKing

    To be fair, the Wikipedia links says 15% are human coronaviruses:

    “Other commonly implicated viruses include human coronaviruses (≈ 15%)”

    This is where the idea comes from, and quite possibly in 20 years’ time we’ll come to treat this particular coronavirus as just another that does the rounds, but still, “the common cold is also a Covid” is wrong not just because it ignores rhinoviruses etc but because it conflates the mixture of “common cold” coronaviruses with the specific virus that causes COVID-19, when they’re actually quite distinct. In fact SARS-CoV-2 is far more closely related to the virus behind the original SARS than to anything responsible for the “common cold”. (Though many of the “common cold” coronaviruses aren’t particularly closely related to each other either. You can see a coronavirus “family tree” in Figure 1 of https://www.nature.com/articles/s41392-020-0190-2).

    Something we don’t often appreciate is that actually the “common cold” coronaviruses can be pretty nasty too – this outbreak of OC43 at a care facility in Canada had an 8% CFR (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2095096/) and if you get very very unlucky, then OC43/HKU1/NL63/229E can even kill an otherwise healthy adult (https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/jmv.26362). Just like flu, it isn’t something you want to see circulating round an old folk’s home.

  12. Brave New Europe is another sockpuppet run by Murphy fellow travellers – Shaxson et al. Therefore any criticsm of the great man won’t get through.

  13. “Crazy, even by Ritchie’s standards”

    Yeah, but seriously I’ve always known that he’s lazy, stupid, and ignorant – but it looks to me as if he is now going round the twist. In which case we’ll all soon be saying he needs locking up for his own safety. Though since The Left did away with asylums I suppose he’ll actually be left to shuffle round the streets shouting at dogs and baying at the moon, poor bastard.

  14. First, I am reliably informed there is no such term as ‘herd immunity’ in public health medicine

    He isn’t reliably informed. Why should he even have to be ‘informed’ about this? Is he incapable of searching the internet, reading articles, listening to what people say? It is a common term, with a specific meaning, a meaning a long way from the media’s hysterical twisting of it in March.

    Third, no policy of this sort has ever been used in society.

    It was literally the only policy of any society for tens of thousands of years until vaccines were invented.

    (which is unsurprising as the common cold is also a Covid)

    Some of the common cold viruses are coronaviruses, others are rhinoviruses. There are lots of these viruses. It takes five seconds of googling to find this out.

    It takes only a moment in that case to extend the argument and to argue that the elderly do, then, have no worth.

    It’s easy to extend a fallacious argument even further, but why bother?

    I wonder what he thinks of NICE, and how it evaluates the value and effectiveness of treatments for the NHS. I expect he doesn’t.

    The rest of it is the usual biolerplate raving gibberish.

  15. And the goal even of most vaccines is Herd Immunity, because the immuno-compromised and elderly typically have weak responses to vaccines. So you surround them with people who have strong reactions, so there is no-one they can catch it from (that’s the herd, Murphy).

    The flu vaccine every year is slightly different – the herd is expected to gain its immunity the natural way, but the elderly are given a vaccine if they want, though the effectiveness is questionable for some.

  16. Remember folks – the Right won Brexit because of old people, which is why the Right wants to kill them all and melt their bodies down for glue, even though they are worthless.

  17. Brave New Europe, amongst other things, was set up because

    European public discourse has been hijacked by a neo-liberal ideology, promulgated by a powerful wealthy few, which has successfully dominated the continent for decades. This ideology in the meantime permeates all aspects of life, including media, politics and universities. Today there is still no sign of a coherent pan-European alternative programme that benefits the majority of Europe’s populace, resulting in largely isolated and ephemeral protests against the neo-liberal agenda.

    Neo-liberal bastards get everywhere.

  18. “Do not forget that many of the original Neo-Liberals were Nazi-sympathisers and most were overt racists.”

    That’s the Fabians, isn’t it?

  19. Bloke in North Dorset

    “ Though since The Left did away with asylums I suppose he’ll actually be left to shuffle round the streets shouting at dogs and baying at the moon, poor bastard.”

    I don’t think the moo will mind.

  20. …isn’t it the case this gig is a dead gig? It is no more. It is an ex-gig. Bereft of life it has drawn down the curtain and joined the choir invisible etc.

    In his recent humblebrag post about his funding, he said it had been renewed.

  21. The term ‘herd immunity’ only exists in veterinary medicine. Because herds, right? Herds of cows and stuff. Can’t be people medicine.

    He really is thicker than a whale omelette.

  22. No comments so far. I think it’s probable that he has a friendly moderator at Bwave New Euwope, which seems to be a refuge for the bitter and befuddled.

  23. I suppose we shouldn’t be surprised that this polymath became a national expert in viruses, epidemiology and public health after an evening’s self study with a mug of Ovaltine.

  24. Here is a link to an article in The Lancet – which should be mainstream medecine enough for anybody – giving the history of the term.

    It was indeed initially used in vetinerary practice, but by 1922 had moved into mainstream public health.

    “……In The Lancet in July, 1919, bacteriologist W W C Topley described experimental epidemics he created in groups of mice. Unless there was a steady influx of susceptible mice, the rising prevalence of immune individuals would end an epidemic. In a 1923 article in the Journal of Hygiene, he and G S Wilson described this phenomenon as “herd immunity”.
    The idea moved into medicine. In 1922, Topley suggested a parallel between outbreaks in mice and children: “Such a likeness would seem to exist in the case of epidemic diseases affecting children of school age.” He also wondered whether measures already “in vogue in dealing with epidemics among live-stock, where methods of segregation are so much more easily enforced than among human populations”, might inform decisions about school closings amid epidemics……..”

    https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(20)31924-3/fulltext

  25. Herd immunity is traced back in the human context to the 1920s. Reported in this article to have been coined by an epidemiologist by the name of Topeley.

    https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0033350628801417

    Amusingly the article contains a brief comment that some people did not like the use of the word applied to humans.

    Since herd immunity appears in the public health context in 34,000 results on google scholar, I think we can assume that it is a normal part of the public health discourse. How can anyone be so poorly equipped to think?

  26. Isn’t this tosser’s ex-wife supposed to be a doctor? He don’t seem to have learnt much from her.

  27. So, it has been a common term in Public Health for nearly a century. His ignorance is only matched by his absurd self-confidence and brass balls.

  28. Dennis, Striking A Thoughtful Pose

    This is one of those days – and they’re getting more frequent – when I end up asking myself what happened to Richard Murphy in childhood, or adolescence, or even early adulthood, that caused him turn out to be as he is today.

    Of course, the obvious follow-up question – and this is completely septic – is this: Are the British really so polite that someone like Richard Murphy can get to the age of sixty something without having the living shit beat out of him by at least one of his fellow countrymen?

  29. “Do not forget that many of the original Neo-Liberals were Nazi-sympathisers”

    What? That would include von Mises, who fled from the Nazis because he was Jewish? Hayek wasn’t Jewish but still refused to go back to Austria after the Anschluss. Or perhaps Friedman, who left his university job because he faced anti-semitism and worked in the US Treasury instead, where he played an important role in the economic side of the anti-Nazi war?

    Go on, which significant neo-liberals is he thinking of?

  30. Over time I have formed the very firm opinion that many who adhere to that way of thinking are of the opinion that the elderly are simply a burden on society who do not add to economic production. If you look at how much the elderly do add to the production side of GDP this is, of course, a sustainable argument in a great many cases. It takes only a moment in that case to extend the argument and to argue that the elderly do, then, have no worth. And what this so-called epidemiological approach does is in that case provide is cover for what I think might best be called the cull of the elderly that many of this persuasion would, I think, like.

    I would like to take a moment to point out that its those on the *left* – you know, the collectivist ‘you didn’t make that’ ask not what your country can do your you we’ll redistribute the country’s income because its just not fair’ types that have been throwing grandma into the Covid infested nursing homes along with the psychologically troubled teens from group homes.

    *Not* the people who view the world through a primarily ‘economic’ lens.

  31. Yes, he’s quite wrong about the Nazi connection of course.

    It was the Left that was proposing murderous collectivist solutions in the ’30s.

    Bit of a tautology of course, Nazism by definition being a left-wing creed.

  32. Dennis, Striking A Thoughtful Pose
    October 8, 2020 at 8:33 pm

    . . .

    Of course, the obvious follow-up question – and this is completely septic – is this: Are the British really so polite that someone like Richard Murphy can get to the age of sixty something without having the living shit beat out of him by at least one of his fellow countrymen?

    They’re so civilized that people can get away with mass STABBINGS. At least over here you need to get a gun to have a chance to kill multiple people quickly.

  33. “Do not forget that many of the original Neo-Liberals were Nazi-sympathisers and most were overt racists.”

    The original Marxist, Karl himself, was none too fond of Jews.

    “What is the secular basis of Judaism? Practical need, self-interest. What is the worldly religion of the Jew? Huckstering. What is his worldly God? Money. Money is the jealous god of Israel, in face of which no other god may exist…In the final analysis, the emancipation of the Jews is the emancipation of mankind from Judaism.”

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