The announced English government policy (already collapsing) that large gatherings do not need to be cancelled/banned and that schools do no need to be closed is hard to justify especially given NHS overload, presumably they wanted to try to reduce the economic losses of responding to the outbreak. Then they rolled out a justification claiming it was a scientifically based plan to build herd resistance to COVID-19 presumably by having the virus spread more widely among the groups who would have mild symptoms or recover without hospital interventions.
I find this whole thing remarkably unethical. I can hardly begin to lay out how crazy this is on so many levels and dimensions. Has the anglo world lost its mind?
Such a study requires approval by a human subjects review committee. Proposers of research do not get to decide themselves if their research plans meet safety criteria for people who participate in the planned research. I took the liberty of preparing the submission for Boris PM of UK:
Proposed research submitted for approval
Let a novel virus spread through a country of 66 million people to measure the speed and scale of development of herd resistance.
(1) Immune system resistance to the new virus will develop sufficiently quickly across 60% or more of the population in the current outbreak to build herd resistance.
(2) Immune resistance of greater than 60% of population will significantly reduce the virus’ mortality statistics by age group in some future outbreak of this virus.
What is a significant reduction?
Whatever reduction in illness/deaths that reduces fear in the population enough so that economic consequences are minimized.
Evidence basis for hypothesis?
Need to find a way to justify slow and inadequate responses to the current outbreak.
Consequences if hypothesis is supported:
Substantial mortality in age groups most at risk; collapse of NHS due to overload of patients requiring hospitalization. Reduce mortality and serious illness in a second wave of virus spreading through population in the future.
Consequences if hypothesis is incorrect:
Substantial mortality in age groups most at risk; collapse of NHS due to overload of patients requiring hospitalization.
Obviously, the proposed research project is exempt from further review and can proceed.