“What is herd immunity?
When most of a population is immune to an infectious disease, this provides indirect protection—or herd immunity (also called herd protection)—to those who are not immune to the disease.
For example, if 80% of a population is immune to a virus, four out of every five people who encounter someone with the disease won’t get sick (and won’t spread the disease any further). In this way, the spread of infectious diseases is kept under control. Depending how contagious an infection is, usually 70% to 90% of a population needs immunity to achieve herd immunity.” (from the John Hopkins School of Public Health website).
So, being exposed to a virus and surviving tends to give a person immunity from further problems caused by that same virus. And when enough people are immune, they stay immune. The population is no longer affected by the disease. That is the key point. They can be exposed over and over and the disease will have no effect on them.
Now, let’s take that principle and apply it to evidence and facts.
I was struck by the few hundred Michiganders who intimidated the Michigan legislature this week. They were carrying guns and screaming. Some had masks. Most did not. They were mad because the Michigan governor told them to engage in reasonable behavior in the midst of a pandemic.
It was a herd. A herd of ignorance. A herd threatening violence. A herd immune from reason.
We have seen over the past 20 years or so a development of herd immunity in the area of facts and evidence. Fox news and right wing websites, along with help from Russian agents, have spread the idea that evidence and facts are not evidence and facts. Real evidence is “fake news”.
I have relatives who have inoculated themselves from facts and evidence. They watch a steady stream of Fox news, filled with distortion and misinformation. Over time, this steady stream of distortion has made them immune from contracting the “virus” of evidence and facts. It has made them immune from reality.
Like immunity from smallpox or the flu, Fox news has prevented real facts or evidence from taking hold in their bodies. If some real news does seep through it is quickly attacked by anti-bodies. So, we can quantify the evidence that the US government has failed miserably to deal with the Covid-19 crisis, but that evidence is quickly dispelled. Since the facts cannot be refuted, the information is attacked as fake and sent out of the body. The anti-bodies do their job. They destroy reality.
So, according to Fox news, the crisis is the fault of the Democrats, the press, the Chinese, the liberals. And when that does not work, the claim is made that it’s not so bad, etc. While over 1,000,000 Americans are infected with the virus, that fact is attacked and minimized. So what? What is a 1,000,000 compared to the need to keep our economy going. We have 325,000,0000 people, we can afford to lose a few million. Etc.
Looking at the few hundred gun toting imbeciles attacking the Michigan governor, it is clear that they are immune from reality. Herd immunity. In their herd facts and evidence are attacked and destroyed. The inoculation of Fox news and other right wing media has destroyed the capacity of evidence and facts to enter their worldview.
Which is why no amount of facts, evidence or common sense will ever get through to these folks. They are beyond facing reality. They have constructed a safe place in which to live. In their minds. Try as much as you want to use reason or facts. It will do you no good. These people are beyond hope. They will continue to reject evidence and facts from their bodies. They are immune. They have joined the Fox herd and from that herd there is no return.