This beef started with this tweet https://twitter.com/AnEpidemiolgst/status/1258433065933824008
which is just something else for multiple reasons. Tone policing a neologism is just stupid, especially when it’s basically accurate. Doing so without providing a preferred term is even worse. But, you know, I’m probably not writing a post just because somebody acted like an asshole on twitter. I’m doing it for far more important reasons, namely:
And in this particular case, it’s not Nate. She also doubles down with https://twitter.com/JDelage/status/1258452085428928515
which is obviously wrong, even for a fuzzy definition of meaningfully, if you stop and think about it. R0 is a population average. Some people act like hermits and have little chance of spreading the disease much if they somehow catch it. Others have far, far more interactions than average and are at risk of being superspreaders if they get an asymptomatic infection (or are symptomatic assholes). These average out to R0.
Now, when 20% of the population is immune (assuming they develop immunity after infection, blah blah), who is it going to be? By definition, it’s people who already got infected. Who got infected? Obviously, for something like COVID, it’s weighted so that >>20% of potential superspreaders were already infected and <<20% of hermits were infected. That means that far more than the naive 20% of the interactions infected people have now are going to be with somebody who’s already immune (the exact number depending on the shape and variance of the interaction distribution), and so Rt is going to be much less than (1 – 0.2) * R0 at 20% immune, or in ELI5 language, 20% immune implies a lot more than a 20% decrease in transmission rate for a disease like COVID.
This is completely obvious, but somehow junk like this is being put out by Johns Hopkins of all places. Right-wing deliberate disinformation is bad enough, but professionals responding with obvious nonsense really doesn’t help the cause of truth. Please tell me the state of knowledge/education in this field isn’t truly that primitive. Or ship me a Nobel Prize in medicine, I’m good either way.