Life
    Culture

    Word of the week: Herd Immunity

    8 May 2020

    Definition:

    The point at which so many people in a community become immune to an infectious disease, that it stops the disease from spreading.

    Derivation:

    By the time that the government responded to the Covid-19 outbreak, it was too late to stop the virus spreading across the UK. The press accused the government of waiting for ‘herd immunity’ and a small group of academics panicked the government by showing a graph displaying a horrifying number of deaths. The government took a radical policy direction known, unofficially, as “close the entire country down and hope that the virus either goes away or someone figures out how to bloody well kill it.”

    Although the official policy does not rely on herd immunity, the use of ‘herd’ and ‘immunity’ is central to the government’s pandemic strategy:

    1. Let a nerd lead the herd

    Scientist Neil Ferguson was responsible for spooking the government into action. Horrified by Ferguson’s graph which showed a cataclysmic scenario, the government were stampeded. Like a herd of Bison, the government ‘followed the science’ and trampled over social, family and economic life in a desperate dash to gain momentum. No-one is quite sure when they will stop.

    2. Create criticism ‘Immunity’

    For many years, academics have been paid to produce outlandish forecasts. Entire departments are funded to produce ‘policy-based evidence’ which provide the ‘evidence’ in support of ‘evidence-based policy’. Academics have developed computer programmes which create apocalyptic visions on demand. Some government agencies like ‘obesity epidemics’, others prefer a dose of ‘catastrophic climate change’. By creating ‘The Science’ for any occasion, researchers give the government immunity from criticism. During Coronavirus, the government will rely on academics to justify all the draconian actions they take.

    3. Population ‘herding’

    The official government policy is broadly ‘STAY AT HOME > DON’T BOTHER YOUR DOCTOR > STAY IN YOUR BLOODY HOME.’ Although we are all individuals and most of us have a sense of social responsibility – and we tend to respond well during a crisis – the government has decided that it is best to treat us like a herd of cattle. By repeating one simple message, they have reduced us to a supine state of bovine inertia. We have one day of relief, on Thursday at 8pm, when we are free to emerge and clap like seals.

    4. Sex ‘immunity’

    In the modern era, some women are sexually attracted to men who produce big powerful computer models. Neil Ferguson is that man. He was a catch for climate activist, Antonia Staats. Neil Ferguson may have demanded that everyone stays in their home, but like many religious men, his sexual passion overcame his theories and pronouncements. When he was accused of fiddling with Staats, it was clear that it was more than his mathematical models.

    Use:

    “The government has ‘herded’ the population into their homes, while simultaneously becoming ‘immune’ to criticism.”