'Herd Mentality' Would Kill Millions
The irresponsibility of Donald Trump’s administration is sinking to new depths.
During an ABC News Town Hall event Wednesday night, Trump repeated his oft-made claim that COVID-19 would eventually just disappear, and he explained that would happen when the United States achieved, “herd mentality.”
Now, this was obviously a gaffe, and the president meant to say, ‘herd immunity,” which should come as a big concern to us all. The concept of herd immunity is that, eventually, enough Americans will become infected with the virus that it will essentially burn itself out.
There is just one enormous problem. If we were to follow through with this strategy, millions of Americans would die and tens of millions would suffer through a debilitating illness. It is an understatement to say this idea is insane in the extreme.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top expert in infectious diseases, said as much in the spring. COVID-19 is especially dangerous and frequently fatal to morbidly obese individuals who suffer from Type-2 Diabetes. This is a country that suffers from an obesity epidemic, so we would be hit particularly hard from such a reckless course of action.
Already, nearly 200,000 Americans have died in just six months, and that’s with everyone trying to avoid getting sick. That figure doesn’t include all the people who have suffered, and continue to suffer, deleterious long-term effects from the virus.
Trump’s approach of herd immunity would create a health crisis of epic proportions.
Back in 1918, the Woodrow Wilson administration took a very similar approach to fighting the Spanish Flu pandemic, in that he mostly downplayed it. The virus tore through the country, and the result was 675,000 Americans died out of a population of 103 million.
Extrapolate that casualty count to today’s population of 330 million, and you would have more than two million dead Americans.
Let’s look at this another way. There have been more than six million confirmed cases in the country so far. That doesn’t include all the unconfirmed cases. We can probably safely guess that, between all the asymptomatic carriers and those who had the virus but never got tested, the actual number of coronavirus cases has been ten times higher.
So, for argument’s sake, let’s say 60 million Americans have been infected so far. That’s 18 percent of the population. For herd immunity to be attained, experts say 70 percent of the population needs to be infected. That would equate to 777,777 deaths.
That is an extremely conservative estimate.
At the other end of the spectrum, based on the current confirmed-case-to-fatality rate of about three percent, if 70 percent of the population were to catch the virus, then 6.93 million Americans would die.
In either scenario, this is an unacceptable loss of life, and it doesn’t take into account all the lives that will be ruined as a result of chronic illness. Not to mention, there will almost certainly be long-term effects from the virus that we don’t know about yet.
Furthermore, we still don’t know if individuals become immune to the virus once they have been infected. If they don’t, then all this death, illness and suffering would have taken place for nothing.
Any responsible leader would think this idea is madness. But, once again, here we are, being ruled by a madman.
Instead of listening to Dr. Fauci and all his expertise, Trump is now taking his cues from a radiologist who he saw pontificating on Fox News.
Eventually, given enough time, Trump’s prediction that the virus will “just go away,” will be proven correct. The Bubonic Plague eventually went away in the 14th century. Of course, it took four years and wiped out up to half of Europe’s population before doing so.
Our nation’s citizens deserve better.