The 15% Rule

How many Americans will contract COVID-19?

It’s been speculated as much as 80% of the country will become infected.

Where did that number come from and is it reasonable?

In California, the Governor declared 20 million Californians, or 50% of his state’s population, would come down with the Coronavirus.

In truth, the number of infections aren’t likely to surpass 15%, and there’s a reason.

How deeply any virus penetrates a population is based on 2 main factors.

The pathogen’s virility—i.e. how readily the organism passes from one individual to another.

Second, the length of time a carrier is contagious. In essence, just how long can someone infected with a disease pass it along to others?

In the case of HIV (Human Immuno Virus), someone infected with HIV is able to pass on the disease right up until their death. In effect, since there is no cure for HIV, a carrier is contagious their entire life. The saving grace, HIV isn’t highly contagious; therefore, the penetration of HIV into the general public is limited.

Have you ever wondered why the flu is reported to infect only between 40-50 million Americans every year?

This level of infection rate only represents 12-15% of the total U.S. population.

This is the case even with a vaccine.

One must question: Why?

Is there a reason?

It’s the nature of infection.

Ultimately, it comes down to a numbers game.

When a virulent pathogen first enters a population, that pathogen can spread at will.

There are in effect no barriers to the progression of the infection.

This is true with all contagious pathogens, at least at the very beginning. But, as more individuals become infected fewer and fewer virgin sites (uninfected people) are available for the pathogen to propagate.

It is worth pointing out: for a pathogen to remain viable, it must have a host.

But, as a host fights off a viral infection it creates anti-bodies killing off the virus, therefore, viruses must continually infect new sites (hosts) in order to remain alive.

If there are no new sites to infect—the pathogen dies. So, why do we experience an upper limit with the flu of between 12-15%.

It’s simple probability.

To continue to exist, a pathogen must have someone in a contagious state come into contact with someone who has yet to contract the infection. This is further limited by the degree of transmission of the pathogen, how readily it can be contracted.

This creates a limited window of opportunity for any pathogen to be passed on.

This is the basis of Herd Immunity.

At some point, the probability, someone in a contagious state comes into contact with a virgin site, becomes increasingly low.

As the number of individuals who have been infected rises, the pathogen becomes surrounded by non-viable contacts—i.e. the pathogen cannot be passed on because it does not come in contact with someone to whom it can be transferred.

It is counter intuitive to think a society can become immune to a pathogen with only a small percentage of its population becoming infected.

However, when viewed as a probability model — it becomes clear the greater a pathogen penetrates a population the more the population builds up resistance to further spread.

In effect, the pathogen consumes enough of the viable sites until it eventually starves itself to death.

Warming temperatures may contribute to the demise of the seasonal flu by lowering the virus’ virility, however, the main reason the seasonal flu dies out is one of starvation.

This is the principle of Herd Immunity—the vast majority of the population is protected by a small portion contracting the disease because those who have contracted the disease now act to block further penetration. (Read: Nursing Homes—The Failure of State Leaders)

Herd Immunity is the basic reason why flu infections rarely exceed 15% of the population. This is the same principle that will limit the spread of the Coronavirus.

COVID-19, like the seasonal flu was never going to infect 50%-80% of the U.S. or global population as so-called experts promoted.

It’s all a matter of numbers.

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