Michael Osterholm, a well-known infectious disease expert, told NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday that the “herd immunity” theory reported by one of President Trump’s favorite coronavirus advisers was the most astonishing combination. from the pixie dust and pseudoscience I’ve ever seen. “
Context: Senior administration officials, who spoke anonymously to reporters last week in a White House call, said allowing “those at minimal risk of death to live a normal life to build immunity to the virus through natural infection.” “is” the most compassionate approach that balances the risks and benefits of achieving herd immunity, “according to the New York Times and the Washington Post.
- Achieving herd immunity ̵
News drive: Scott Atlas, a radiologist who has clashed with other members of the coronavirus task force because of conflicting views, rejected a proposed increase in coronavirus tests by an economist at New York University in September, citing the theory that only 25% or 20% of people need the infection for the rest of the population to be protected, according to the New York Times.
What are they saying: “First of all, this 20% number is the most incredible combination of dust and pseudoscience I’ve ever seen,” Osterholm said in response to Atlas’ alleged comments. “That’s 50% -70% at least.”
- “And remember, when we talk about reaching 50% -70% protection, we’re saying you can get there with an illness – but if that happens, there will be a lot of deaths, a lot of serious illnesses – or we can try to get there by vaccinating and postponing the number of people who get sick until we have the vaccines. ”
- “5o% -70% just slows down the transmission, but doesn’t stop it. So this virus will keep looking for wood to burn for as long as it can … so, our goal is to protect as many people as possible with vaccines, “he said.
The other side: Health and Humanitarian Services Secretary Alex Hazard told NBC’s Chuck Todd on Sunday that herd immunity was not a Trump administration policy to tackle the pandemic, adding: “The desire through vaccination is to achieve herd immunity, but it can is the result of all of these steps, but the desire is to reduce cases. “
- White House spokeswoman Kaylee McEnney told reporters last month that “herd immunity has never been a strategy” for the Trump administration’s response to the coronavirus after the president said the coronavirus would disappear when people develop a “herd mentality.”
The big picture: Osterholm warned that the United States was likely to “break through” its July peak of infections, with the number of cases “much higher” than 75,000 per day, while the country was heading for a “very dark fall.”
Go deeper: Twitter removed a tweet from Scott Atlas, claiming that the masks did not work