Blogging Bayport Alameda

April 9, 2020

Follow the herd immunity

Filed under: Alameda — Lauren Do @ 6:09 am

I know that I’m grasping at any little bit of news that will help everything return to some semblance of normality earlier rather than later but this article about a Stanford study is very interesting and if it turns out to have some legs then we really need that antibody testing, from the piece:

The team tested 3,200 people at three Bay Area locations on Saturday using an antibody test for COVID-19 and expect to release results in the coming weeks. The data could help to prove COVID-19 arrived undetected in California much earlier than previously thought.

The hypothesis that COVID-19 first started spreading in California in the fall of 2019 is one explanation for the state’s lower than expected case numbers.

“Something is going on that we haven’t quite found out yet,” said Victor Davis Hanson a senior fellow with Stanford’s Hoover Institute.

Hanson said he thinks it is possible COVID-19 has been spreading among Californians since the fall when doctors reported an early flu season in the state. During that same time, California was welcoming as many as 8,000 Chinese nationals daily into our airports. Some of those visitors even arriving on direct flights from Wuhan, the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak in China.

“When you add it all up it would be naïve to think that California did not have some exposure,” said Hanson.

If Californians were exposed earlier than the rest of the country to COVID-19 we may have had a chance to build up some herd immunity to the disease. We won’t know if that is the case until results from the Stanford Medicine study come back.

On Friday and Saturday, the study’s co-lead Eran Bendavid coordinated testing at sites in San Jose, Los Gatos and Mountain View. The teams used an antibody test from the company Premier Biotech. Technicians use a finger prick to draw blood for the test and it can tell within minutes if a person developed antibodies to COVID-19.


As they say: huge, if true.


  1. I do hope so.

    But it’s really odd to have Victor David Hanson, who’s a classicist (and, being at Hoover, a very right wing one), talking about this. I have a sneaking suspicion that the author of “The Case for Trump” may have a political angle on this.

    That said, the actual, non-Hoover Institute, scientific work is exciting.

    Comment by BC — April 9, 2020 @ 8:52 am

  2. If true (and yes there is a lot of travel between China, including Wuhan, and both LA and SF/SJ), and depending on when in the “fall” (which ended Dec 22) undetected cases were hitting, this might also suggest our healthcare system was missing something. Maybe or maybe not as the result of a deficiency in the system. What triggers (or should trigger) alarm or suspicion of a SARs-related virus, as opposed to more typical flu?

    Comment by MP — April 9, 2020 @ 9:31 am

    • This comes up a lot with regard to black women and healthcare, but sometimes it appears that health providers don’t do enough listening to their patients and addressing their concerns about what is going on with their own bodies. It’s also one of the reasons why women turn to “wellness” products as well. Atlantic piece and Quartz piece.

      Comment by Lauren Do — April 9, 2020 @ 9:44 am

      • Can also occur when a language barrier exists (and that is not particular to the present covid19 issue)

        Comment by MP — April 9, 2020 @ 10:46 am

        • Put another way, what was it that led health professionals in China/Hubei Prov./Wuhan to recognize that they were dealing with something other than the flu in mid-December (or whenever that occurred precisely, and notwithstanding issues in China with reporting internally and internationally) but was not being picked up here (if, in fact it was here in the fall)? Was it a matter of a higher concentration of cases there (Hubei) causing a recognizable increase in the volume of respiratory cases over “normal” flu numbers; something about the timing of the cases as compared with normal flu season; specific symptoms observed (and different from the severe symptoms that “regular” flu can end up causing to certain people); or greater alertness to SARs-like and other viruses and regular testing to identify or eliminate known causes, including “regular” flu of respiratory symptoms; or something else? If we had undetected cases in the fall, I’m guessing that could be attributable in part to health professionals not listening to or hearing patients, but that would require pretty uniform not listening. Any epidemiologists in the house?

          Comment by MP — April 9, 2020 @ 9:45 pm

        • ….. eliminate known causes, including “regular” flu*,* of respiratory symptoms;….

          Comment by MP — April 9, 2020 @ 9:51 pm

        • Comment by MP — April 22, 2020 @ 7:53 pm

  3. Purely anecdotal but I wound up getting pretty sick in January. It lasted about a week with me and then my wife got it and was VERY sick for over 2 weeks. We didn’t think anything of it other than it sucked. It was most likely just the common flu but still… makes me wonder a bit.

    Comment by john doe — April 9, 2020 @ 3:35 pm

  4. Overweight, pre-diabetic, and diabetic Americans most at risk, whether young or old….

    Comment by Nowyouknow — April 9, 2020 @ 4:28 pm

  5. Turns out this whole thing is a lie, promoted first by Rush Limbaugh. If you see this story on ANY news sites then please contact their editor to correct and take it down…

    Comment by john doe — April 11, 2020 @ 9:13 am

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