It has taken more than 18 months and a lot of prodding, but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has finally revealed how many Americans have achieved natural immunity from COVID-19, and the number is staggering: More than 146.6 million.
The updated figures came last month after the agency had failed to provide updated immunity numbers since May. Natural immunity, for those who are not inclined to know the definition, means that many Americans have contracted the virus and have recovered from it; several virology experts have said natural immunity is the best form of protection against first-time infections and reinfections.
Becker News adds:
The CDC estimates that 124 million of the 146.6 million infections resulted in “symptomatic illnesses,” although it is unclear why only one in four infections sought out medical treatment. The CDC further estimated that there were 7.5 million hospitalizations, although ‘hospitalizations’ may include routine treatment that happened to turn up a positive Covid-19 test, greatly inflating the figures.
Most inflated of all are the 921,000 “estimated total deaths.” The CDC reports “Covid-related deaths,” and not deaths caused by Covid-19. That is because 94% of Covid-related deaths had serious underlying medical conditions, such as heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. While Covid-19 may have been a contributing causal factor to the timing of a patient’s death, the vast majority occurred in patients who were immunocompromised or elderly. The average age of Covid-related death in 2020 was slightly under life expectancy at 77 years old.
The report goes on to note that the figure of 146.6 million may actually be an underestimate, based on earlier CDC calculations. In May, the government health agency estimated that around 120 million Americans at the time had contracted the virus. “Because the CDC estimated (and continues to estimate) there have been at least four Covid infections for every case reported, then based on its report of 46.9 million cases, then there would be 187.6 million Americans who were infected and thus possess ‘natural immunity,'” Becker News continued.
One champion of natural immunity has been Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky. A physician (ophthalmologist) by training, he has long argued against vaccine and mask mandates for people who have already had the virus.
“To dictate that a person recovered from COVID-19 with natural immunity also submit to a vaccine — without scientific evidence — is nothing more than hubris. If you have no proof that people who acquired natural immunity are getting or transmitting the disease in real numbers, then perhaps you should just be quiet,” he noted in a late May op-ed in a Kentucky newspaper.
“People are not getting re-infected in large numbers. And that’s not me saying so, that’s the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, quietly admitting that on its website,” he added.
“One thing they also admitted, while at first trying to hide it, was that there are no studies showing that getting the vaccine if you already have natural immunity is of any benefit at all. They can’t show that, because it has not yet been studied. It took my friend Congressman Thomas Massie to make them admit this, by the way. They originally denied their own studies on this,” he continued.
Reuters reported in October on studies that also note natural immunity is better to prevent COVID reinfections and spread than vaccines. The report stated flatly that “secondary immune response” is “stronger after infection than vaccination.”
“This study demonstrated that natural immunity confers longer lasting and stronger protection against infection, symptomatic disease and hospitalization caused by the Delta variant of SARS-CoV-2, compared to the BNT162b2 two-dose vaccine-induced immunity,” an Israeli study said, adding, “Individuals who were both previously infected with SARS-CoV-2 and given a single dose of the vaccine gained additional protection against the Delta variant.”