Is the COVID-19 Herd Immunity Threshold as Low as 15 Percent?

Social connectivity, prior immunity, and behavior changes may all contribute.


Since the first case of community transmission in the U.S. of the COVID-19 coronavirus was reported seven months ago, more than 7 million Americans, that is, around 2.2 percent of our population, have been diagnosed with the disease according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). However, researchers estimate that undetected COVID-19 cases are likely to be 10 times greater than diagnosed cases. The machine learning epidemic model run by Youyang Gu and his colleagues estimate that around 16 percent of Americans have already been infected with the COVID-19 coronavirus.

That could be good news if a brief preprint study published yesterday by a team of Scottish researchers that calculates a COVID-19 herd immunity threshold of 15 percent pans out. The Scottish researchers achieve their result by modifying the epidemiological model in a June study in Nature that found that non-pharmaceutical interventions, specifically lockdowns, had averted millions of COVID-19 deaths in Europe.

That Nature study estimated the initial reproduction number (Rt) for the virus to 3.8, that is, each infected person was likely to transmit the virus to 3.8 other people. The classical formula for calculating a herd immunity threshold is 1 minus 1/Rt, which, in this case, would suggest a threshold of nearly 75 percent of the population that would have to be infected or vaccinated. The article also assumed that everyone was equally likely to become infected (homogeneity) and that about 1.1 people out of every 100 infected would die (infection fatality rate or IFR) of the disease.

In their analysis, the Scottish researchers relax the assumption of homogeneity to allow for individual variation in connectivity and susceptibility and apply a more recent lower IFR estimate of 0.3 per 100 infected people. When they compare their modified model's results with actual data on deaths from 11 European countries they find that "a value of 0.3% for the IFR give 15% for the average herd immunity threshold." They further note that "models that allow for heterogeneity favor build-up of herd immunity rather than non-pharmaceutical interventions as the main factor underlying the early slowing and reversal of the COVID-19 epidemic in Europe. This is consistent with observations that epidemic curves in many countries reached a peak less than two months after the first few severe cases appeared."

However, the researchers add that based on the data they are using "it is not possible to distinguish the relative contributions of heterogeneity of connectivity, heterogeneity of susceptibility, or any other process that could have generated a smooth downward trajectory in Rt over about one month in each of the 11 European countries studied." In other words, the falling number of diagnosed COVID-19 cases in Europe during the summer resulted from the combined effects of the more socially connected being afflicted first and then becoming immune or dead; prior immunity to the coronavirus in a significant proportion of the population; and voluntary changes taken before lockdowns, such as limiting mobility, social distancing, masking, and increased hand-washing.

Interestingly, preliminary calculations by Gu and his colleagues make similar calculations to estimate what they call the "effective herd immunity threshold" for the U.S. They estimate that for the U.S. the coronavirus' Rt was at 2.3 back in March and April, which yields a classical herd immunity threshold of around 60 percent of the population either having been infected or vaccinated. Back in August Gu's team calculated that the effective herd immunity threshold stood now between 10 and 35 percent depending upon which state was being considered. More recently Gu and his team estimate that the Rt in the U.S. is now about 1.1 which crudely suggests a national effective herd immunity threshold of 10 percent.

While Gu and his colleagues reference the research on how population heterogeneity may affect herd immunity thresholds, they note that their effective herd immunity threshold calculations incorporate "the social distancing standards and policy interventions at a given time. This is the minimum percentage of the population immune at a certain time such that transmission slows down under those conditions. If immunity is lost [e.g., antibodies fading away] or restrictions are relaxed, then the eHIT [effective herd immunity threshold] may increase." They add, "A removal of current restrictions and interventions, as well as a loss of immunity over time, may cause this threshold to return to its original levels of 50-80%."

The Scottish researchers' analysis has not yet been peer-reviewed, but here's hoping that their herd immunity calculations prove out.

NEXT: The Latest CDC Estimates of COVID-19's Infection Fatality Rate Vary Dramatically With Age

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  1. We will never know, because political influence has corrupted all data related to this disease.

    1. this. ^^^ why even bother w/numbers you’ll never have real numbers

      1. The Lefties cannot release real numbers because it would show that of the 200k “COVID19 deaths” most of those are deaths while infected but they died of heart disease and/or respiatory chronic illnesses.

        650k American die every year of chronic heart disease.

          1. You guys are fkng ridiculous. “Excess deaths” means more deaths than statistically normal. You can’t claim a cause that’s been around forever as an excuse for hundreds of thousands of excess deaths. The cause is Covid. Wake the f up and use your brain.

            1. >The cause is Covid

              Or the cause is the health care being shut down to everything else.

              1. Ugh, I have so little respect for this nonsense. We literally have hundreds of thousands of death certificates with “Covid” written on them, but you folks think it’s always something else. It is plain as day from the individual state infection and lagged excess deaths numbers. Anyone who denies the obvious relationship isn’t a serious person.

                I will grant it’s entirely likely there are number of deaths caused by acute non-Covid illnesses that are the result of the Covid mitigations, but they’re small when compared to the deaths avoided through mitigation.

                The reason for that is that most illnesses that kill people aren’t acute, they worsen over time. If a person’s cancer diagnosis is delayed due to Covid, that person hasn’t died yet and won’t show up as an excess death yet.

                So the cause obviously is Covid.

                1. When I worked at a state CDC during H1N1, the decision was made not to speciate which strain of flu it was because H1N1 was found to be less deadly than the other ones present. And all flu deaths were reported as H1N1.

                  1. I quit working at shoprite and now I make $65-85 per/h. How? I’m working online! My work didn’t exactly make me happy so I decided to take a chance on something new…QWs after 4 years it was so hard to quit my day job but now I couldn’t be happier.

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                2. Dude, you can’t convince these people that the covid stats are real. These people are fucking nuts.

                  1. misspelled “rational”

                3. No doubt that COVID is the primary driver, but it’s obvious that the COVID response has played and will continue to play a statistically significant role.

                  My hospitals’ stroke cases in the ER are still down by 10% YOY, 5 months after the local peak. Diagnostic caths, screening mammos, and colonoscopies are also still way below expectations. Literally the only service line we have that is close to budget is chemo.

                  If you don’t think that sort of thing plays a role in excess deaths then you’re as obtuse as those you decry.

            2. You aren’t paying attention, caloway. There aren’t 200,000 “excess” deaths. All causes deaths are pretty close to unchanged. Up some but nowhere close to up 200k.

              Yes, some people have legitimately died of COVID. Many, however, have died with COVID. That is, they died of something else that would have killed them anyway. The data are so thoroughly corrupted that at least one person who died in a motorcycle accident is known to have been listed as a “COVID” death.

              And all that is before you start tallying up the massive increase in suicides, depression and domestic violence that are direct and easily-predictable consequences of the lockdowns.

              1. And considering the condition of most covid deaths, those suicides and neglected medical care are probably a very significant portion of the excess deaths

                1. Neglected medical care, maybe. I don’t have good statistics for that. Suicides, though? I stand by my claim that they are way up, however they started from a pretty low number. Single-digit thousands per year if I remember correctly. So while they contribute to the excess deaths, I think it’s more relevant that they were entirely avoidable tragedies than the raw numbers.

                  1. A huge portion of the “over expected” deaths are Alzheimer’s & dementia patients. These people are dying due to lack of human contact.

    2. The entire article and the sources and speculation behind it are just more of the same bullshit guesswork, based on virtually no solid evidence and having zero meaning in the real world. Bottom line, it should still have nothing to do with people making their own choices and whether or not any given individual will get sick, and if they do, whether they will die from it. Anything else is secondary and largely irrelevant.

      I get the feeling that these “scientists” who throw numbers out are doing so strictly for the purposes of hindsight claims to expertise. So if you were somewhere close to being correct, 2 years from now you can stand on your own pedestal and claim you were the guy that knew [even if your other 12 guesses were completely wrong]. For those old enough to remember Psychic Friends, it’s the same concept. You guess wrong, nobody remembers if you don’t remind them and destroy the history. But if you guess right, you’re the new whizkid with street cred and your employer is in line for grants for more research.

      1. Bottom line, it should still have nothing to do with people making their own choices and whether or not any given individual will get sick, and if they do, whether they will die from it.

        Totally true.

        What I find frustrating is that nobody seems to be trying to bridge that divide: mathematically there seems to be an implication that some large portion of the population gets to be infectious but not vulnerable, but I don’t see anything coming around that would let us figure out just who those people are or how they got to be that way.

        1. The exact same group as any respiratory virus or seasonal flu

      2. It’s publication bias in the science academia. A deep desire to publish something, ANYTHING, to build up a CV and maintain research grants that pay for all sorts of non-science crap. Many of these pre-print studies and models cannot be reproduced and if they are, they fail. Skeptics Society and Retraction Watch have had a field day with these stupid studies.

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  2. Very skeptical the lockdowns saved millions. These assertions are useless if trade-offs aren’t considered.

    There was no scientific justification for such an extreme measure.

    1. I’d really say its useless as it is pretending that because of the house arrest orders those ‘millions saved’ will subsequently avoid being infected when all it has done is shift the inevitable to a slightly later date.

    2. All studies I have seen making claims like that are based entirely on models. We have lots of real data now from different places that had widely varying policies and compliance rates. And everything I’ve seen looking at actual data finds little or no correlation between lockdown severity and death or hospitalization rates.

      1. The “models” purposely ignored the infection and death rates for the Diamond Princess cruise ship in February 2020, which showed death rates under 1%.

      2. One of the studies actually showed an inverse of the data; extreme lockdowns indicated a higher death rate.

    3. The lockdowns saved millions is the 2020 version of Obama’s “jobs saved”. You can’t even show, let alone prove this bullshit, but nobody can disprove you either. It’s the modern political version of the salesman and his anti-lion spray… “no lions here, so it works”.

    4. Every article with comments by Rufus brighten my day with logic and data.

      1. Not sarcastic. I mean it.

  3. I’m so done with all the bs.

    1. Too bad, it’s only getting ramped up.

  4. USS Theodore Roosevelt’s crew of 4,865 sailors was quarantined on Guam following an outbreak aboard the ship. Ultimately 1,273 sailors, or about 26% of the ship’s crew was infected with the virus, including one who died.

    26% infection rate when sailors live in super close quarters with recirculated air, bunks, communal showers, and where they eat on the mess decks.

    That is another example how this virus is less infectious and deadly than Flu/Colds.

    1. When was the last time an aircraft carrier had 26% of sailors come down with the flu?

      1. If you stick around you’ll learn that Reason is a leftist publication that is wrong about everything and that COVID is actually a leftist conspiracy to create a one world government run by lizard people.

        1. Still pathetic.

          1. My comments only offend you because they mock the absurdity of what you truly believe.

            1. I quit working at shoprite and now I make $65-85 per/h. How? I’m working online! My work didn’t exactly make me happy so I decided to take a chance on something new…XAs after 4 years it was so hard to quit my day job but now I couldn’t be happier.

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        2. There is no doubt that Reason has drifted left of center on some issues; Shikha being the prime example.

          And there is no doubt that leftists are using C-19 as an excuse to advance the same authoritarian policies they always support.

          Your interpretation merely reflects your own biases.

      2. Pretty much every time one leaves port. Look at naval history. Look in particular at the studies conducted by the British during the Napoleonic Wars.

      3. It’s a closed system, a controlled microcosm of an entire population, that had its total infection capped at 26% which is a positive data point supporting the theory…moron.

    2. The DOD reports 8 COVID deaths among 1.3 million active military personnel. Doesn’t that tell the whole story?

  5. Another day, another take on COVID. At this point it is painfully clear that we hardly know anything about this disease and won’t for many, many years. I’m so done ever caring anymore about “new study finds.” It’s honestly clear that new studies are a dime a dozen and are probably about 30% accruate to even begin with.

    That said, I do call shenanigans on this. There is no way that herd immunity is as low as 15%. Now we’re not even passing smells tests at this point.

    1. Kungflu has been circulating around the USA for almost a year now with a death rate less than Flu.

      If the Lefties admit that, they admit that these lockdowns were for another reason.

      All Lefty plans backfire in their faces.

    2. You’re forgetting about the secret sauce…. all the people suspected of having it, and now you can justify anything you want. You can make up any number you want to put in there, and we have seen that go anywhere from 2X to 50X [which would of course now mean that 110% of the population has had it].

    3. I don’t think there is any reason to call shenanigans – the article lays out that the 15% herd immunity threshold calculation takes into account the behaviors adopted by the population (whether voluntarily or involuntarily). If we had a law that stipulated that every human being be placed inside a hermetically sealed hamster ball and fed through a tube, the calculated herd immunity threshold would be 0%. The real question is what is the mathematical relationship between herd immunity threshold and how freely we go about our lives as before. If we knew that we could do a rational cost/benefit analysis. All this article really claims is that behavior is having an impact.

  6. That could be good news if a brief preprint study published yesterday by a team of Scottish researchers that calculates a COVID-19 herd immunity threshold of 15 percent pans out.

    So what does this mean for Fauci’s “mic drop” moment on Rand Paul asking these very questions. Fauci claimed that if Rand was even suggesting a 20% her immunity rate that “he would be alone on that”.

    1. Rand was alone on that. He was 5% too high. 🙂

      1. The 20% figure came from no regions of testing, even the worst hotspots, showing greater than 20% positive rate of those tested (I believe, but could be mistaken)

      2. Senator Rand Paul, Dr. Scott Atlas and Governor Ron DiSantis are the voices of reality about COVID.

  7. The sad thing is that all the lockdown and mask mandates are going to end up having been unnecessary because the virus isn’t as deadly and the herd immunity threshold is nowhere as high as the idiotic modelers predicted. It will be forgotten in the history of all this that the best argument against the mandates was always that the public health benefits did not outweigh the loss of freedom. Restricting the movement of sick people is quarantine. Restricting the movement of people who are not sick is house arrest and is unconstitutional along with making them wear masks.

  8. People who think lockdowns were a good idea, people who want socialism (and it’s uglier cousin) and people who vote for democrats.

    Worst Venn diagram ever – three circles overlaying each other.

  9. Cop commits perjury in a DUI case (*correction: commits a mistake), jury convicts anyway, judge dismisses case and grants judgement of acquittal, hilarity ensues.

    1. Ouch. What a mess for everyone. The article in Outline was a mess, the driver shouldn’t have been charged with DUI on those facts, the judge frankly shouldn’t be hearing any cases at all—never mind getting yanked from criminal and placed on civil cases—and the DA needs their ass kicked for still bringing a DUI charge after hearing the officer gundecked the police report.

      And how much of an asshole is the DA that they’re appealing this JMOL? Yes, they can. No, they shouldn’t be. I don’t know about perjury for the officer, but that’s not a mistake they should make—again, on those facts—and still keep their job. OTOH, maybe it was inadvertent, and they brought it up as soon as they realized they were running on autopilot when they filled out the report.

  10. I love the part about fading immunity. If we lockdown forever, there will always be plenty to reinfect and give those commie bastards reason to lockdown some more.

    1. Maybe we can lock down until the just-born generation is old enough to drive and spread it more effectively.

  11. Good thing a certain science editor wasn’t fearmongering in April of this year about a population infection rate would be 40-60% of the population as a “conservative ” estimate to estimate deaths.

    1. Yeah. I mean, how dare people use the information that they have at the time, right? Or like report on what is in the news, right? Reason totally sucks. You should be the editor so they will report on what you feel to be important. Set the record straight.

      Vote Trump! Vote early! Vote often!

      1. The information at the time was 60% of the population had covid? No. It wasn’t dumbfuck.

        By that time we ready knew the basics of the data due to the princess cruise. We knew the models were tuned way overboard predicting millions in death. We knew historic pandemics generally capped at 20% of the population on initial go around, matching the cruise data.

        Why are you so fucking pathetic?

        1. So hostile. Must have struck a nerve. Oh, and thanks for setting me straight. I was under the mistaken impression that a ship is a closed environment and that the demographics of the passengers wasn’t representative of the population as a whole. I stand corrected.

  12. Again, Ron proves himself to be the most honest and educated reporter at Reason. A tactical genius at pwning all the illiterate Wingnut aborto-tards who take pride in gagging on the Tangerine Rapist’s misshapen mushroom stipe.
    Science bless you Dr. Bailey.

    1. lol. Now thats funny.

      1. OBL should be warned that the plug is working his gig.

  13. COVID isn’t important. It’s just a flu. Unless you’re over 80 or very ill for other reasons you shouldn’t fear it or care about it.

    What’s important is (1) to DEMAND an immediate end to all emergency rules about COVID, and (2) to investigate and punish those who have been deceiving us about it — especially the bosses of social media sites that ban users for opposing lockdowns or mask or vaccine requirements.

    1. Exactly this.

      There should be people swinging in the public square for this.

      Instead, they’ll have an increased budget.

  14. This research takes a new mathematical approach to estimating the herd immunity figure for a population to an infectious disease, such as the current COVID-19 pandemic. The herd immunity level is defined as the fraction of the population that must become immune for disease spreading to decline and stop when all preventive measures, such as social distancing, are lifted. For COVID-19 it is often stated that this is around 60%, a figure derived from the fraction of the population that must be vaccinated (in advance of an epidemic) to prevent a large outbreak.

  15. Damn, is Biden really going to flog this Obamacare theme all night? I’m going to fall asleep listening to him drone on.

    1. Amazing he hasn’t fallen asleep.

  16. The shit is being thrown. Biden looks like shit, and my God, the malapropisms.

    The Fox guy needs to shut the fuck up already. We’re not here to listen to him.

    1. Though Biden is more aware than Trump wants.

      1. Biden has a kind of sick desperation in his laugh.

      2. …for now…

    2. I do believe you are the first person I’ve ever heard use the word “malapropisms” in everyday conversation. Well done, sir.

    3. What an utter shitshow. No wonder Pelosi didn’t want him and Trump debating.

      Wallace practically tried holding Biden’s hand across the finish line, and Biden still looked like crap. Looking forward to Kamalalalalala pulling her “AW HELL NAW” head-whipping, pseudo-BAP act against Mike the Church Mouse.

  17. I’m confused. Is Chris Wallace the moderator or a party to the debate?

    1. You’re not confused

    2. LOL at the idea that Fox is right-wing or biased towards Trump.

      Trump sounds rattled. Which isn’t good for him.

      Wallace needs to put his feet up and let them fight.

  18. “You just lost the left.”

    This shit is hilarious.

    1. “You could have done it in your 47 years”


  19. Biden’s been prepped well.

    1. He’s treading on thin ice, though. Trump is getting under his skin.

      But yeah, the primary reason they’ve been calling “lids” so early is because they were coaching him up.

      1. He was going to sleep at noon or 1, so he could wake up and be fresh for this debate. So far, it’s working.

        1. Trump’s razor repartee has provoked even the straitlaced Wallace to laugh. Biden can’t compete with that. By the time he formulates what he thinks it’s a pithy comeback, Trump has moved on to another topic entirely. Trump is the master of the Gish Gallop, but he has a flair for making it entertaining.

  20. “Will you shut up, man.”

    I think Trump’s incessant needling might be having the desired effect. It won’t take too much more for Biden to come unhinged. Trump is a master at his craft.

  21. Jesus, fuck Wallace. Just ask the fucking question already. One question. Christ, and I like dependent clauses, but not in oratory.

    1. Why is the moderator engaging in oratory anyway? He should be a fixture on the stage, about as interesting as the proscenium.

      1. Not unlike Nick Gillespie performing an interview. Always getting in his jokes, and his ‘to be sures’ before even getting his three rapid-fire questions out, than interrupting the interviewee before they finish answering the second.

  22. “There’s nothing smart about you”


  23. “Let me shut you down for a second”


    1. “Can I get my time back?” LOL

  24. If you fancy yourself an intellectual or pride yourself on being cultured, you probably think Trump isn’t comporting himself in a dignified manner and that Biden is scoring points. If it’s true that people vote for those they find more attractive, though, I don’t see how Biden is doing himself any favors. He is coming across as weak, frail, even a little lily livered. That’s not the kind of demeanor that’s going to get women tossing their panties.

    1. He sounds calm, composed, and is getting his points across.

      Albeit, one of those points is: if you want to go back to work, vote for Trump. If you want to stay locked down, vote for Biden.

      And I want to kick Wallace right in the taint. Shut. The. Fuck. Up. Is he running?

      1. “He sounds calm, composed”

        “This clown…” doesn’t come off as composed.

  25. Biden is getting visibly fatigued. Trump is just getting warmed up.

  26. I’m not sure if I can understand the Biden position that Trump is costing people jobs because he’s reopened things in an unsafe manner. Like, I’m trying to piece that argument together and it makes no sense, but surely someone believes it? I just don’t get how it works.

    1. He is costing jobs by opening up. Biden’s and Kamala’s.

  27. Oh, and total bullshit that Biden hasn’t seen these questions before.

    1. Meh, for the most part it’s obvious shit. The Supreme Court, Covid, Biden’s Tax plan, the economy. It’s not hard to get some talking points prepped for those.

      1. The points are easy, the specifics from these paragraph length questions aren’t.

        I can’t follow what the hell Wallace is rambling about. No way is Biden able to.

    2. It’s transparently obvious he knows what’s coming. Hell, he looks likes he’s reading off a teleprompter. Is someone in the audience holding up cue cards?

      1. Biden was coached , and taught to repeat lines like a trained monkey.

  28. “You’re the worst president America’s ever had.”

    Is this what Biden think passes for a pithy insult? Sixth-graders are more creative.

    1. Biden apparently never met Trump’s predecessor. Or perhaps geriatrically does not remember.

    2. I was told he’d have rhetorical killshots.

  29. I love the height of intellectualism here.

    “It’s not true, it’s discredited.”

    “Says who?”


    “The Media”

    “Everyone. Everyone knows it’s not true.”

  30. At some point you have to cut their mics.

    1. I was about to write those exact words.

  31. Honestly, Trump should shut up and let Biden self-destruct.

  32. How long before Chris Wallace throws up his hands, yells “fuck it”, and walks off?

    1. Hopefully soon.

    2. I would have respect for that.

      And I would also respect if he told them to shut the fuck up and behave

  33. Biden is just mumbling empty, meaningless phrases now.

    1. The man whose own running mate branded him a racist is now hurling accusations of racism at Trump. Heh.

  34. Phew, that was rough, trying to hear Biden say “Systemic injustice.”

  35. Coach is turning into a pumpkin. For both of them.

    Though, what the fuck is Biden babbling about?

  36. Biden’s hamfisted attempts to parrot critical race theory talking points are just awful.

  37. I was unaware it was up to the moderator to ask a debater to clarify their remarks.

    1. Yeah, that was weird, when Chris Wallace interrupted Trump to ask him what was radical about CRT.

  38. Any time Biden prefaces his response with “Look,” you know he’s not going to answer the question actually being asked.

  39. Not sure why Wallace wouldn’t let Biden answer that.

  40. I wasn’t expecting Chris Wallace to be in over his head. He’s the one who sounds rattled.

    1. Everyone is rattled.

      I’m getting profoundly angry at Wallace. He’s like an umpire who thinks we bought tickets to the ballgame to see him.

      1. In one of his novels—Disclosure, maybe—Michael Crichton says that anchors aren’t newsmen, merely actors. It’s just as true today as it was back then. Maybe more so.

  41. “If you want to switch seats . . .”

    This is such a shit show. Total amateur hackjob.

    1. How would you have handled this? I’m for letting them fight, and cutting mikes in order to get a new question in, then shutting up.

  42. Trump fucked up by not directly stating that he condemns white supremacists. The media talking heads are going to get a lot of traction out of that one.

    1. Yeah.. He did.

      1. I’m not sure. Chris Wallace asked if he’d denounce white supremacists and he said, “Of course I will.”

        He never said the direct words because he got sidelined talking about antifa and how he thinks there’s more of a left wing problem than a right wing problem, but he said he was happy to condemn whoever he needed to. And he briefly said something about Proud Boys needing to sit back, though I wasn’t sure what that meant.

        He should have done a better job on that, but he certainly didn’t “refuse” to condemn white supremacists.

        1. You implicitly endorse whatever you don’t explicitly condemn. Them’s the rules.

          1. So you’re telling me Biden supports Zombie cannibals?

            1. Yup. And Trump supports rounding up lesbian Eskimo midget albinos, but only of they are left handed. Prove he doesn’t. Prove it!

    2. Chris Wallace, though, framed Kenosha as a white supremacist/militia thing. Kinda shitty, there.

      1. Both sides!

        1. Where are white supremacists rioting? No where that I know. So, there isn’t both sides. There is one side with Antifa and BLM burning down everything in site.

          1. Kenosha, according to Chris Wallace.

  43. Odds this is the last Presidential debate this Election? I’m thinking pretty good.

    What a shitshow.

    1. I think so. Biden did “good enough” to reassure people that he isn’t a senile drool cup. So now he can bunker down until the election and let the media run air cover to his win.

      1. I wouldn’t bet either way, but I think you’re right. Biden has shown what he needed to show, and now he doesn’t need to put himself out there any more.

      2. I agree. About the only votes decided tonight were from those who wanted assurance Biden wasn’t demented.

        Low information voters didn’t know that when each candidate called the other a liar, Trump was right and Biden wrong. Higher information voters didn’t need to be informed by either of the candidates. Trump, however, still missed too many chances to blame the depression on the governors; it’s not like his own orders shut down much of significance.

        1. He missed a lot of opportunities, yeah. He did, once, point out that the economy was doing great just prior to the pandemic. He should have come back to that point several times to point out that shutting down the economy is what killed the economy.

          1. EVen low information voters know that. And voters saw that Biden supports more lockdowns, the Green New Deal, higher taxes, and court packing. If nothing else, that was clear tonight. I have a hard time believing that doesn’t matter.

  44. Conspicuous Service Medal.


  45. Wow, Trump could not bring himself to denounce white supremacists. I told y’all, he is racist as fuck.

    1. What, like Biden was going to denounce black nationalists? He’s counting on them to make sure that vote goes over 90% again.

  46. What a clusterfuck and an embarrassment for America. These two old baffoons are what we have to choose? Vote Jo or at least another third party candidate.

    1. Too bad none of the above isn’t an option.

  47. So, it’s a 3-way debate.

    1. In one of his novels—Disclosure, maybe—Michael Crichton says that anchors aren’t newsmen, merely actors. It’s just as true today as it was back then. Maybe more so.

      1. They read the news. Some of them make it, like Cronkite.

        Lots of them, pretty much all of them, want to be the next Cronkite.

        I think undecideds are more for Biden after this debate.

        1. Yeah, as far as I’m concerned, and thinking, levelheaded person would have to acknowledge that Biden one this debate, at least by traditional standards. The question is, how many levelheaded people are there in the electorate these days?

          1. Show me someone who is level headed and I’ll show you someone who won’t vote.

        2. The idea that many people are watching it at all is slim to none.

          They’ll wait for the talking points from their preferred sources and call it a day.

          1. For the most part yes. And whatever happened tonight will be forgotten by Friday. Again, there can be exceptions to that. Biden committing the the Green New deal and court packing might be two of them.

  48. Sounds like some clear choices between the two candidates.

    1. None of the above

  49. Biden is actually holding up pretty well. If anyone was expecting him to show serious signs of dementia on stage it hasn’t really come up yet.

    He has gotten tongue-tied a few times, though.

    1. In some ways the format favors Biden, but Wallace has bailed him out more than a few times.

    2. It’s easy when all you have to say are a few platitudes. He has PLANS, Trump doesn’t!

    3. Agreed. He’s staying on point. And when he falters, Wallace bails him out with a new question.

      If you want the Paris Accords back, and the Federal government to control a Carter-esque amount of how new construction is built, what new power plants can be built, what you can do with your own energy: vote for Biden. Ken’s gone on at length about this.

      If you want the Feds to keep doing what they were doing, pre WuFlu. Vote for Trump.

      1. That’s true, he’s gotten slightly off-topic at least twice where Wallace put him back on point.

    4. All it showed is that a trained monkey could read with cue cards and stay focused for 30 seconds at a time.

  50. I’m not sure peddling conspiracy theories, even if there’s a good chance he’s right, at this point on the debate is going to win Trump any points.

    1. He has a point. The Harris County ballot scandal is really troubling.

      I live in Texas. No fucking way does Biden win this state in 2020 in a fair election. ’24, definitely ’28, sure. Not yet.

      Ergo, if Biden wins, the election was stolen. If it’s stolen, the transfer of power is illegitimate, and we are down to the last box.

      That scares the shit out of me.

      1. Trump is only up 2 point in Texas. That’s within the margin of error of losing.

        1. No he is not. He is up by way more than that. Show me a poll that has him only up by two and I will show you a poll that over samples Democrats by at least 10 percent.

          If you would pick your battles better and not do incredibly stupid shit like defend what is going on in Harris country, people wouldn’t think you were such a fucking moron and might pay attention to the bullshit you spew or take it more seriously. It is not so much that you are a liar, it is just how bad of a liar you are and how stupid you are doing it.

          1. If the poll doesn’t support your team then the other team has it rigged.

            1. No. A poll that over samples Democrats isn’t reflective of the actual electorate.

              Again, why don’t you come back when you are able to understand what is being said. As it is, you are just embarrassing yourself, if that is even possible.

              1. Exactly how do you know what their sample was? Oh yeah. You don’t. You just think you do because you don’t like the results.

                You’ve gone full Red Tony retard.

                1. No one knows what the sample was, because the poll was never linked or cited.

                  Don’t call someone retarded when the guy you’re sticking up for couldn’t even be bothered to actually make the reference.

          2. Show me a poll that has him only up by two and I will show you a poll that over samples Democrats by at least 10 percent.

            Jfc. You basically said show me a poll that disagrees with what I am saying and I will show you a poll that is wrong. Keep jousting at reality, John.

            1. Yes. A poll that over samples Democrats. If there is a poll out there that doesn’t do that that shows Biden close in Texas, the link to it and I will concede the point. Until you do so, however, shut the fuck up.

              I don’t know how to make it any simpler for you.

              1. Shorter John: I’ve asserted something and the burden of proof is on you to show otherwise!

                1. Shorter sarcasmic, I am a complete fucking moron who was offered the chance to win the point by linking to a poll that showed what I am claiming but I can’t do that. So I will just say completely irrelevant shit because I am one of the dumbest human beings on earth.

                  Thanks for playing dickhead. I have to admit I take way too much pleasure kicking you around and making you look stupid. I really should feel sorry for you. Hiopefully God will forgive me this vice.

                  1. You call it making me look stupid. I call it switching the burden of proof.

                    1. No it isn’t. You idiots made the assertion that Trump was ahead by only 2 points. You haven’t linked to a single poll that says that. That is your burden dipshit. Not mine. You made the assertion. Link to a poll that says that and it will say it because it oversamples Democrats. I can’t show that until you provide a poll that proves your assertion.

                      You really don’t understand anything. I cannot overstate how stupid you are. And the worst thing is, you refuse to understand how stupid you are or do anything to fix the problem.

                    2. I didn’t post the poll. Chipper did. I was responding to you asserting that the pollsters intentionally and conspiratorially over sample Democrats.

                      Of course they’re all liars right? Anyone who doesn’t agree with you is a stupid liar. Stupid stupid liar liar. Right?

                    3. I didn’t post the poll. Chipper did.

                      No he didn’t. He just said “Biden’s only down two points in Texas.” Which poll? They typically post their sampling and methodology.

                    4. Chipper hasn’t posted a single link to a poll you dishonest fuck. Stop lying. You lost the argument despite my giving you an invitation and a road map for how to win it. You are just dumb as fuck. You lose even when I explain to you how you can win.

                    5. Shorter John: stupid stupid liar liar!

                      Do you fling poop too? It would be about as constructive.

                    6. Show me the poll that has Biden within two points Sarcasmic.

                    7. I live here. A poll like that is utter bullshit.

                      Similar polls with counterintuitive results were found on closer looking to have laughably sampling errors. Like the ‘D+10,’ John threw at the wall. My whatever-is-stronger-than-educated-guess is that Chipper’s mentioned +2 R poll will have similar methodology deficiencies.

                      Accordingly, Biden cannot win in Texas. Harris County is now a Democratic party stronghold. Lots of GOP seats, judicial mostly, got turfed out in ’16 and ’18. The Democrats don’t need to cheat to keep those seats. They can’t get Cornyn’s Senate seat: even RCP has him with a +8 to 10 point lead on Hegar.

                      So what in the blue fuck were Democratic political consultants bragging about when they mentioned committing/trying to commit a few hundred thousand cases of voter fraud, if not to steal the state in the Presidential Election?

      2. It does me too. If the Democrats steal the election and get away with it, they will steal every elections. And if they can steal the Presidential election, how can anyone stop them?

        It is not like any Democrat or member of the media is ever going to grow a conscience and blow the whistle.

        1. If your team loses then the other team stole it. If your team wins then the people have spoken.

          1. No I didn’t say that at all. What would cause you to think that? Do you not know the meaning of the word “if”?

            Why don’t you come back when you are smart enough to read and understand the comments. That is pretty much never because you are appallingly stupid. But, at least it gives you a goal to shoot for and something to do besides waste everyone’s time misunderstanding what is being said.

            1. Yes John. That’s what you said. If the poll doesn’t match what you believe then it’s rigged. If the election results don’t match what you believe they should be then it was rigged. Lack of explicit condemnation equals support. Follow it up with a bunch of “you’re stupid and this is what you really believe” and that’s every John comment for at least a month.

              Take a sedative. This election is gonna give you a heart attack or a stroke.

              1. I said that poll over samples Democrats. If you can find a poll that doesn’t that shows Biden within two, then show one. You won’t because none exist. But feel free to prove me wrong.

                Now, shut the fuck up and stop wasting my time. I don’t have the ability to make you smart or anything other than the dumb fuck you are. I am sorry for that. I really am. But, sometimes life just only gives you so much to work with.

                1. Know what? Never mind about the sedative. Keep up the ranting. I hope you have an embolism.

        2. They get stopped in the same way Bashir Gemayel got stopped. The media gets a taste of the, ‘Latin America reporter writes something nasty about the narcos, and sees what happens,’ cookbook. Ordinary people wonder if they’ll make it back from a grocery store trip.

          That way lies madness. We end up with Pinochet if we’re lucky. Some cross between the Rwandan Genocide and Taiping Rebellion if we aren’t.

  51. Given that nobody ripped of their jacket, yelled “you want some of this” and charged the other, I’d say this was a successful, dignified debate.

  52. Independently certified by who, Chris?

    1. Excellent question. It’s not like we have some sort of federal commission that certifies election results.

    2. I was wondering that myself. Foreign observers?

    3. Without checking IDs, no one can say the election was fair, that fraud was not committed. We simply don’t know. Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence of fraud.

  53. Both of these men look pathetic. I was really hoping we would be treated to a thorough evisceration, or failing that, an actual exchange of ideas. Instead, we got a petulant pair of tantrums almost as embarrassing as the Democratic debates. Trump seems to have been banking on the hope of dragging Biden down into the mud with him, and Biden succeeded in sidestepping that tactic. He’s not equipped to go blow for blow in the trenches, and his handlers know it.

    1. Biden sounded and looked like a parent watching their kid have a meltdown, and shrugging their shoulders like, “Whaddya expect me to do with this brat here?” Not good for Trump.

      1. If the spin is “they were both bad”, then Trump wins. Trump is the President. Why vote for Biden if he is just Trump with higher taxes?

        1. Because a certain, annoyingly priggish, slice of the electorate wants their pick to be “Presidential.” Calmly stating his arguments—even if they are complete and total bullshit—trumps constantly interrupting, not waiting his turn, and acting like Trump often does when pressed.

          To them—think of them as if George Will were their King, and they had a shrine to William F. Buckley in a devotional niche—Biden was more ‘Presidential’ than Trump tonight.

          1. Yes. But if Biden was just as bad as Trump, then Biden can’t claim to be “presidential”. Trump dragging him into the mud means Trump wins.

  54. Over/Under on another debate this year?

    1. -2000 there’s a VP debate. +450 there’s another Presidential one.

      I can’t see Biden risking the exposure. He did adequately here, and I doubt it would improve on a repeat performance.

      1. This is the best Biden can do. I can’t see a moderator doing any more to help him than Wallace did tonight. And Wallace was so obvious about it, I doubt the next guy will be as bold or as helpful.

        Beyond that, I really don’t see what Biden could say that would be any better than what he said tonight. All that will happen in a second debate is Biden restating the same thing worse and making the flaws in what he said look even more obvious.

        The other thing that happened tonight that might matter is Biden’s bizarre response on the Green New Deal. He tried to claim he doesn’t support it but then in the next breath said it was great and would pay for itself. I am pretty sure anyone watching that understands that Biden supports it. After that answer, I can’t see anyone in Pennsylvania buying his promises not to ban franking and such.

        1. “I doubt the next guy will be as bold or as helpful.”

          Oh, I think it can get a lot more one-sided. Candy Crowley is still available. George Stephanopoulos (and LOL at my autocorrect for suggesting that on the first two letters.) would be ridiculous. And so on. I don’t see Biden having another of these though.

          Wrote it upthread, but the two things I saw that were unmistakable differences were Biden wants to keep the lockdowns and he wants Paris/The Biden Plan. Just as soon as he can sand AOC’s fingerprints off it. Trump wants to end the lockdowns and for the feds to butt out of fracking and any greenhouse gas restrictions.

          1. Biden told the whole country he supports the Green New Deal and Court Packing. If there is anything that is remembered by the electorate about tonight, those will be it.

  55. Yeah, this shit is why I don’t like Trump. I almost never listen to him speak because he’s so fucking grating. I only tuned in tonight because I thought it would be an amusing trainwreck, and it kind of has been. But man, does he love to force his concerns out there.

    1. Isn’t “forcing his concerns out there” another way of saying “he campaigns”? Just what the fuck do politicians do if not force their concerns on the public?

      1. How do you think it went, John?

        Oh, and did you catch Codevilla’s latest?

        1. I am the last person to ask. Biden got up there and lied his ass off about everything and Wallace did everything he could to prop him up and make the debate two against one. For me that is obvious. But, who am I to speak for the rest of the country let alone brain dead morons like Chipper and others. God only knows what those idiots thought.

          I think ultimately, these things are usually forgotten by the electorate except for maybe one or two moments in some debates. If there was one of those moments in this one, my guess would be it was Joe Biden refusing to say he won’t support packing the Supreme Court. Everyone knows that means he does support it. And I think he just pinned himself down to that position with the country. That might be the one thing from this that people remember and really matter, because I do not think that is popular. Also, Joe denying his son got 3.7 million from the mayor of Moscow was a lie so large and easily checked that I am not sure even the media can cover up for him now that Biden as brought it to the public’s attention.

  56. Ok, Jack Tapper just cracked me up.

  57. One of the worst damn bits was Biden talking about the Green New Deal creating jobs. Economic retardation, the broken window fallacy.

    1. Honestly, that’s another place where Trump should done better. Ask him how they’ll create jobs. Instead he tried to played “gotcha” with catching Biden saying “Green New Deal” when Biden is trying to separate himself from that policy.

    2. The mostly peaceful protestors must be creating a lot of jobs then.

    3. That was the worst bit for you? Not the bit where Trump refused to condemn white supremacists, or the bit where Trump refused to agree that he will concede the election if he loses?

      1. Trump said in so many words that he condemns white supremacists. And where are these white supremacists that Trump must condemn? The only people rioting and causing problems are Democrats. Are Democrats white supremacists? Shouldn’t Biden be condemning them?

        1. Once again, you lie through your teeth, you fucking liar. He did not. He told the Proud Boys to “stand back and stand by.” He did not condemn white supremacists.

          1. No. I watched the video. He said to Wallace “of course I do”, in response to the question. What do you think that means other than he condemns white supremacists?

            Beyond that, do you think Trump is a white supremacist? He has a odd way of showing it, letting all of those black people out of federal prison and raising black employment and wages to record levels.

            You really don’t think anything. You are just a dumb fuck who lies and repeats talking points hoping other people are as dumb as you are. Well, almost no one is. So give it up.

            1. Here is the proof that you are a total liar:

              1. Trump said “sure, I am willing to do that.” Wallace said “go ahead.” And Trump didn’t do it. Instead, he told the Proud Boys to stand back and stand by and immediately started ranting about antifa.

                1. Sure I am willing to do that is doing it you fucking moron. You are not convincing anyone.

                  You are just a typical racist liberal projecting. God forbid the negroes don’t have people like you to protect them. It is sickening that there are people like you 60 years after the Civil Rights movement.

                2. Fuckin’ LOL, you’re literally pissed off because Trump didn’t do that pathetic “fellow white people….” act that’s become so fashionable.

                  1. Trump let black people out of prison. That proves he is a racist.

                    That is Chipper’s position. No shit.

                3. Are the Proud Boys white supremacists? From the videos I have seen there are many different races represented in that group? I am not suggesting that non-whites necessarily can’t be white supremacists but I think there is a bit of an uphill climb on convincing people that a multi-racial organization is white supremacist. Perhaps a problem with the definition?

                  1. Replying to my own post – I just don’t know that much about the Proud Boys, from what I’ve seen they seem to be a sort of reaction to Antifa types, deliberately provocational, but I just haven’t seen the white supremacy aspect. It seems central to Chippers argument that Trump didn’t condemn “white supremacists” based on what he said (and didn’t say) about the Proud Boys.

      2. If THAT is going to be the talking point the left runs with after the debate-the Trump supports white supremacists-then Trump won.

        It’s debatable to the point that people heard what they wanted to hear.

        1. Pretty much that. And Trump isn’t a white supremacist. Only complete fucking morons like Chipper and Sarcasmic think that.
          I don’t think they can convince anyone beyond the 40% of the country that count as the Chipper Sarcasmic moron vote to vote for Biden because Trump is a “white supremacist”. And if the allegation isn’t that Trump is a white supremacist, then what the fuck is so important about whether he condemned them hard enough?

            1. YEah, that is why he did sentencing reform and let all of those black people out of prison. That is why 40% or more of the black community approve of him as President. He is a white supremacist.

              Those black people just don’t know what is good for them. They need a white liberal like you to speak for them and explain who is a real white supremacist.

              Take you racist condescending liberal white savior bullshit back to storm front or whatever cesspool you came from. Seriously, there is no room for that kind of racism and garbage that you are saying here in any forum.

              1. How does sentencing reform prove he is not a racist? That is a logical fallacy, dumbass. That’s like saying “I am not a racist, because I have a black friend.”

                You are a bigot and you’ve proven it over and over. Even the glibertarians banned you for being a bigot.

                1. Sure I will. He condemned it. Moreover, why are you so concerned about it? It is because you are a fucking racist liberal with a white savior and superiority complex.

                  Like I say above, it is just sickening that 60 years after the Civil Rights movement people like you still exist. You are not superior. Black people don’t need your help. In fact they would prefer not to have it. Hating shitheads like you is one of the few things that people of all races can agree on.

                2. How does sentencing reform prove he is not a racist?

                  Because it lets a ton more black people out of prison than white people. No one who is a racist wants sentencing reform. Why would a racist support a policy that disproportionately benefits black people? How the fuck can you be so stupid as to even ask that question?

                  No it is saying “i am not a racist, I am the first President in history to leave office with fewer black people in prison than when I came in. Racists don’t let black people out of prison you fucking retard. And you know that you lying piece of shit.

                3. And the Glibertarians banned me because I like kicking around stupid people. And that site was set up as a safe space for stupid people. Allowing me on it was like letting the fox in the hen house. I really can’t blame them. They went there so they could have their own echo chamber and could feel safe being stupid. I am the last guy you want on a site like that.

                  1. Glibs is definitely a disappointment. An echo chamber. But there are some good commenters as well. Rufus is there frequently.

            2. You know, if you hate yourself that much for being white, you could always go Full Cobain.

              1. He doesn’t hate himself for being white. He loves himself for being white. Being white gives him the burden of defending and protecting the inferior blacks. This is what people like Chipper actually believe.

                But, they make up for it by projecting and calling everyone else a racist.

                1. The most pathetic white people are the ones who are constantly going on about How Racist other white people are.

                  I can at least respect guys like Tariq Nasheed, Ibram X. Kendi, and all the dopes who write for The Root for unapologetically acting like the black versions of the Daily Stormer. Same thing with doofs like George Lopez and every Asian/Middle Eastern “comedian” on Netflix.

                  They are out, proud, and in no uncertain terms ethnic chauvinists who expect white people to kiss their ass and smile while doing it, primarily because they know that any non-white version of this act is now considered acceptable. It’s not an accident that liberal whites are the ONLY group in the country to display negative in-group bias, and have actually been quite successful in getting white people to hate themselves. Even my white-hating beaner relatives laugh at how stupid they act.

                  1. Absolutely. I can respect a black racist. At least I know where I stand with them. White liberals are the worst. They really are. Their whole mission in life is to degrade and humiliate others by degrading themselves. It is just sick.

          1. No, he needed to say, “I reject white supremacy.” And then pivot to, ‘White supremacists aren’t burning down our cities. Your worthless pets, Joe. They are.’

            1. Exactly. But that’s why Trump is not winning hearts and minds. His ego gets in the way.

              Judged by his actions he is a fine Prez, judged by his words he is a mess.

  58. I wonder if Trump will be a little more businesslike in the next debate. He’s fresh off the rally trail, and he seems to think tactics that get the crowds roaring at his rallies will score him points in a debate, but in fact most of his jabs failed to land in the more intimate setting of a face-to-face. I seem to remember him being a bit of a loose cannon in the early 2016 debates but then reeling it in for the later debates. I wonder if we’ll see a similar shift in tactics this year.

    1. Excellent point!

  59. Time to drop the question mark and actually start putting some data out there.

    Jesus this place could be on the cutting edge of the most important stories in the world but instead they just watch what’s happening on Twitter.

  60. Trump must have scored some points – I heard journalists deploring the inability of the moderator to rein him in, how the debates were a shameful display, etc. Which they wouldn’t be saying about a Biden victory.

    1. Everything they say is a lie. So, yeah, they must think he hurt Biden pretty badly.

      1. I don’t think so, but I only think it’s because the bar for Biden was SO low. He just needed to look healthy and alert for an hour and a half. He managed it.

        The question is whether any of it matters.

        1. “…but I only think it’s because the bar for Biden was SO low. He just needed to look healthy and alert for an hour and a half. He managed it.”

          That. Sort of. He was fresh for about 45 minutes total, doddering the rest. Wallace helped him off a couple of hooks. The ‘what cop groups support you? Name one. I’ll wait.’, was pretty egregious.

      2. Me team honest. You team liar. You team cheat. Me team honest. Me team right. Disagree? No one disagrees! Only lies! You other team! You lie! You cheat! You stupid! Me smart! You stupid! Me John me smart! You lie you stupid! Aaaaaauuugghhh!

        1. Everything the media says if a lie. If they were saying Trump won, it would be because he actually lost. That has nothing to do with team you fucking retard.

          1. They’re all liars! All of them are liars! They’re all out to get me and my team! Aaaaauuuggh!!!

            1. You know, honestly, sarc? They all kind of are. Other than lightweights like OANN or that Moonie owned D.C. paper.

              Seeing something like this makes me realize just how hated Trump is by the mandarin and media classes of D.C.

              1. They are all liars. Sarcasmic is a dishonest moron and pretends not to understand what that means. But,, nothing you read in the media is ever the truth or anything approaching the full truth if it isn’t a complete lie. And most of the time it is the exact opposite of the truth.

                1. That movie with Mel Gibson and Julia Roberts wasn’t a documentary.

                  1. Again, you are a fucking moron who has no idea what we are talking about. I just feel sorry for you.

              2. When people blur fact with opinion, disagreement is interpreted as dishonesty.

                1. No. When idiots like you misrepresent what is being said either out of ignorance or dishonesty, you can’t have an honest debate. It is impossible to have a discussion with someone like you because you are incapable of being honest about what is being said. That is not a problem with opinion. That is a problem with you being stupid and dishonest.

                  1. You are entitled to your own opinion.

  61. What a shitshow. That was nothing like a debate. It was a shouting match.

    For all the years I have lived this was the lowest point I have seen.

    Did not intend to watch it. It was like one of those things you could not watch once you started. “Honey, a naked old guy covered in feathers is dancing in the street in front of the house” you don’t want to see it but there it is.

    Nobody won points.

  62. Trump must have been told that interrupting Biden would throw him off. It wasn’t working, but he failed to change tactics. He is not a good debater.

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