Herd Immunity Revisited

Herd Immunity

Herd immunity is a concept to control Covid-19 by deliberately exposing less vulnerable populations. A top Trump appointee repeatedly urged top health officials to adopt a “herd immunity” approach to Covid-19. This approach allows virus spread among the community to infect millions of Americans. Tens of thousands would needlessly die. Is this what Trump intended?

Public health experts have rejected calls to deliberately infect Americans with Covid-19. It would unnecessarily put millions of people at risk of long-term complications and even death.

“We certainly are not wanting to wait back and just let people get infected so that you can develop herd immunity. That’s certainly not my approach,” Fauci said in September.

Alexander and Caputo

However, internal emails confirm the Trump approach. The House Oversight Committee’s select subcommittee on coronavirus disclosed the emails. They prove that senior science advisor Paul Alexander was pushing the approach. Alexander was a top deputy of now disgraced Michael Caputo.

Crazy Caputo was handpicked by Trump in April to lead the health department’s communications efforts related to Covid. Officials told POLITICO that they believed that when Alexander made recommendations, he had the backing of the White House.

“It was understood that he spoke for Michael Caputo, who spoke for the White House,” said Kyle McGowan, a Trump appointee and CDC chief of staff. “That’s how they wanted it to be perceived.”

Incredibly, Michael Caputo subsequently asked Alexander to research the dangerous idea of herd immunity.

“How can this be researched and proven true or false?” Caputo asked Alexander in one July 25 email exchange about the value of herd immunity.

“Who Cares?”

Alexander wrote in a July 3 email to the health department’s top communications officials:

“So the bottom line is if it is more infectiouness [sic] now, the issue is who cares? If it is causing more cases in young, my word is who cares…as long as we make sensible decisions, and protect the elderely [sic] and nursing homes, we must go on with life….who cares if we test more and get more positive tests.”

Paul Alexander wrote on July 4:

“There is no other way, we need to establish herd, and it only comes about allowing the non-high risk groups expose themselves to the virus. PERIOD,”  “Infants, kids, teens, young people, young adults, middle aged with no conditions etc. have zero to little risk….so we use them to develop herd…we want them infected…” 

Alexander wrote on July 24 to FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn and Caputo:

“[I]t may be that it will be best if we open up and flood the zone and let the kids and young folk get infected” in order to get “natural immunity…natural exposure,”

Alexander also argued that schools and colleges should stay open to allow Covid-19 infections to spread. He whined in a July 27 email to CDC Director Robert Redfield that “we essentially took off the battlefield the most potent weapon we had…younger healthy people, children, teens, young people who we needed to fastly [sic] infect themselves, spread it around, develop immunity, and help stop the spread.”

Alexander also admitted that the White House’s policy against safety measures caused a spike in cases. Alexander wrote in a July 24 email:

“There is a rise in cases due to testing and also simultaneously due to the relaxing of restrictions, less social distancing,”  “We always knew as you relax and open up, cases will rise.”

Politics over Science

Alexander spent 2020 attacking scientists. He pushed to shape official statements to be favorable to Trump. For instance, Alexander acknowledges in a May 30 email that a CDC statement that Covid-19 was disproportionately affecting minority populations was “very accurate.” However, he warned communications officials that “in this election cycle that is the kind of statement coming from CDC that the media and Democrat [sic] antagonists will use against the president.”

Rep. Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.), who chairs the coronavirus subcommittee, said that the documents “show a pernicious pattern of political interference by Administration officials. As the virus spread through the country, these officials callously wrote, ‘who cares’ and ‘we want them infected,'” Clyburn added. “They privately admitted they ‘always knew’ the President’s policies would cause a ‘rise’ in cases, and they plotted to blame the spread of the virus on career scientists.”

Caputo took medical leave the same day that Alexander left the department. How did they hide this from us for so long? This is criminal recklessness. I guess that is why they keep pushing for legal immunity and pardons.

Trump Weak Denials

Senior Trump officials deny their approach included herd immunity. “Herd immunity is not the strategy of the U.S. government with regard to coronavirus,” HHS Secretary Alex Azar testified on Oct. 2. In a statement, HHS said that Alexander’s demands for herd immunity “absolutely did not” shape department strategy.

“Dr. Paul Alexander previously served as a temporary Senior Policy Advisor to the Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs and is no longer employed at the Department,” the spokesperson said.

This is an incredible story. Why doesn’t Trump address this?  He should come out and push for social distancing and mask wearing. There is still time for him to do the right thing. It could help his legacy.

Why didn’t they listen to the scientists instead of these crazy nuts? How many people would have been saved?