The forgotten man” was how President Franklin Delano Roosevelt characterized ordinary people who needed his New Deal policies to build back up the American economy around them. In her history of the Great Depression titled “The Forgotten Man,” author and economics commentator Amity Schlaes showed that the forgotten men and women were harmed by all the aggressive government interventions and missteps by FDR and his predecessor, Herbert Hoover.

New aggressive government interventions in a fight, not against a business cycle, but a virus, are producing a new class of forgotten people: those with natural immunity to Covid-19. Many of them were the “essential” workers and “health-care heroes” in the early days of Covid who, while the laptop class was able to file from home, contracted the virus, overcame it, and now carry an immunity that’s deeper, more long-lasting, and more robust than anything promised by an injection or two (or three or four).

In his August 18 press briefing Gov. Roy Cooper brought in state health bureaucrat Mandy Cohen to discuss Covid-19 cases and vaccination in North Carolina. Cohen, the head of the state Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), gave an interesting factoid: “Recent data shows that unvaccinated people are more than four times — that’s 400% — more likely to get Covid-19 than people who are fully vaccinated.”

According to the most recent data, as much as 17% of recent lab-confirmed cases of Covid-19 in North Carolina has been in vaccinated individuals. Even in late July, however, DHHS was telling North Carolinians that “unvaccinated people account for 99 percent of the state’s COVID-19 cases since May,” but according to their own data, that talking point was false and had been false by as early as May.

Cases identified in North Carolina among unvaccinated and vaccinated people, March 27–Sept. 4, 2021

Source: DHHS, Respiratory Surveillance: September 5 – September 11, 2021

Please note: this result says nothing about the severity of the infections. Research indicates that breakthrough cases post-vaccination tend to be less severe and less likely to require hospitalization. Nevertheless, it is in line with recent findings by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC estimated that the unvaccinated are five times more likely to contract a Covid-19 infection than those who are vaccinated are to contract a breakthrough infection.

Who are “the unvaccinated”?

“The unvaccinated” is an overly broad term, however. It seems that to President Biden, Cooper, Cohen, media, and highly impressionable people, “the unvaccinated” are a single type of person, though there is some dispute as to whether that type is a stubborn child testing the royal patience or a public enemy meriting a terrorist alert.

Nevertheless, it’s patently evident that “the unvaccinated” comprise two general groups of people:

  1. people with no prior Covid-19 infection
  2. people who have suffered prior infections and now have natural immunity

And even that grouping is a drastic oversimplification, because they also include very young children, people under doctors’ advice not to take the vaccine, etc.

Not just one: What they call “the unvaccinated” includes two general groups of people

Not just one: What they call “the unvaccinated” includes two general groups of people

These two groups comprise our friends, family members, and neighbors — people created by God and endowed with the same self-evident rights and liberties as everyone else. They are not Enemies of the People to be denounced and depersoned in our society.

With respect to the relative likelihood of infection from Covid-19, however, these two groups are completely different. A large and growing body of research is finding that a prior Covid-19 infection offers far superior immunity than do the vaccinations.

Comparing vaccinated people without prior Covid-19 infections with unvaccinated people who had recovered from prior infections, Gazit et al. (a medRxiv preprint posted Aug. 25, 2021) found that the vaccinated were six to 13 times more likely to have breakthrough infections than were the naturally immune to have reinfection. Adjusting for comorbidities, they found the vaccinated were 27 times more likely to have symptomatic breakthrough infections than were naturally immune to have symptomatic reinfection.

So we have enough information here for a little rudimentary algebra, especially since the president and others seek to tyrannize our friends, family members, and neighbors who aren’t vaccinated against Covid-19, regardless of their actual contribution to herd immunity.

Extrapolating Likelihood of Infection By Group

The question is, what is the comparable likelihood of a person contracting a future infection from Covid-19? Understand that we use different terms for the infection depending upon the person’s history. It’s an “infection” if the person was not previously infected, a “reinfection” if the person was previously infected, and a “breakthrough infection” if the person was vaccinated. We don’t know what the actual likelihood is for each group, but the studies above give us comparable likelihoods. The unvaccinated are five times more likely than the vaccinated to contract an infection, and the vaccinated are 6–13 times more likely than the naturally immune to contract an infection.

With a back-of-the-envelope exercise (see below) taking the CDC and Gazit studies’ estimates as the starting point, results suggest that “the unvaccinated” with no previous infection could be 29–64 times more likely to contract a future infection than “the unvaccinated” who are naturally immune from a previous infection.

In other words, someone who’s unvaccinated and never been sick with Covid-19 could be 29–64 times more likely to contract Covid-19 than someone who’s naturally immune. But Biden, Cooper, Cohen, media, and any private businesses falling in line with them treat these people as posing exactly the same risk.

Instead, results of this exercise suggest that if you’re turning away the naturally immune from your place of business, from your school, from your hub of transportation, etc., you’re leaving yourself with a population that’s on net more likely to contract a future infection, not less. So your choice is not only monstrous and inhumane, it’s also self-defeating on its own merits.

Instead of automatically assuming unvaccinated persons are a threat, the proper course of action is to treat them as fellow creatures of God and citizens in what is still a free state that upholds their self-evident rights — including the inalienable right to “the enjoyment of the fruits of their own labor.”

Recognize that the true and existential threat in North Carolina and elsewhere is one-man rule by extreme, open-ended “emergency” powers being used in perpetuity. The means are illegitimate, arbitrary, and terrifying. Perhaps you agree with the ends of this particular abuse of power, but you could be the “forgotten” victim the next time.

Back-of-the-envelope calculations


u = likelihood an unvaccinated person contracts a future infection

v = likelihood a vaccinated person contracts a future infection

n = likelihood a person with naturally immunity contracts a future infection

x = likelihood an unvaccinated with no previous infection contracts a future infection


u includes some combination of n and x

Here we will solve for x, and from that we can extrapolate how comparably more likely is the unvaccinated with no previous infection to contract a future infection than a person with natural immunity.


u = 5v (per the CDC study)

v = 6n or v = 13n (the ranges per Gazit et al.)

u = n + x (see note above)


u = 5v

n + x = 5v

Lower bound: (v = 6n)

n + x = 5(6n)

n + x = 30n

x = 30nn

x = 29n

Upper bound: (v = 13n)

n + x = 5(13n)

n + x = 65n

x = 65nn

x = 64n