The cost of “herd immunity” for COVID-19 is too high

My latest comic with Maki Naro is up at The Nib, the award-winning nonfiction comics site! This time we tackle the question of “herd immunity” for the COVID-19 pandemic, which has been suggested by a number of politicians as a strategy for beating the disease. As Maki and I describe, without a vaccine, this is less a strategy than a cynical throwing up of hands. Read on for an explanation of what “herd immunity” is and why it’s basically giving up.

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Waiting For Herd Immunity is Not the Answer

Panel from “Waiting for Herd Immunity is Not the Answer” at The Nib. Click to read the rest. [Credit: Maki Naro (art)/moi (words)]

P.S. Do you like this comic? If so, please pledge to Maki’s and my forthcoming comics collection Who Owns an Asteroid? (from Unbound), which will include many such nonfiction science comics in full color!

R0, mortality rate, and all that: the science of how disease spreads

[ This blog is dedicated to tracking my most recent publications. Subscribe to the feed to keep up with all the science stories I write! ]

The science of how diseases spread

How epidemiology puts the COVID-19 virus in perspective.

For Popular Science:

Scientists, medical professionals, and governments around the world are working to understand how the new respiratory disease ravaging Hubei province spreads—and how bad it could be for the rest of the world. Part of this effort is epidemiology: the study of how infections move through populations and how to control them.

Epidemiology incorporates everything from geography to complex mathematics in its effort to understand the spread of disease. Here are some basic epidemiological concepts that can help you get past the panic, misinformation, and xenophobia that tend to drive conversations around a newly emerging illness.

[read the rest at Popular Science]