Reporter Andrew Feinberg claimed on Monday that a senior official from Donald Trump’s administration admitted during a government call that the White House’s coronavirus policy has always reflected the tenets of herd immunity, which would occur when a high enough percentage of a population becomes immune to COVID-19 after contracting and recovering from the virus. Nevertheless, Feinberg claimed on Twitter that the official said the administration would not endorse the pro-herd immunity “Great Barrington declaration,” which was allegedly the subject of the phone conversation.
Feinberg noted that no epidemiologist, public health, infectious disease, or public health expert from the White House Coronavirus Task Force was present on the call. In particular, he highlighted the absence of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Anthony Fauci, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Robert Redfield, Trump coronavirus task force member Deborah Birx, and U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams.
Per The Guardian, the declaration was created by a libertarian think tank, American Institute for Economic Research (AIER), which is located in Great Barrington, Massachusetts. Specifically, it was penned by three science professors from Oxford, Harvard, and Stanford.
According to the document, life should resume as usual for all Americans except those who are “vulnerable” — although this term is curiously not defined. The Guardian highlighted several other “alarm bells” in the proposal.
“It makes claims about herd immunity – the idea that letting the virus rip among less vulnerable groups will allow a degree of population-level immunity to build up which will eventually protect the more vulnerable — that are unsupported by existing scientific evidence.”
“There is no acknowledgement of the massive scientific uncertainty that exists with a new disease,” the publication later said.
As reported by Forbes, Trump used his ABC News town hall in Pennsylvania last month to claim that coronavirus will eventually “disappear” — even without a vaccine.
“You’ll develop, you’ll develop herd, like a herd mentality,” he said. “It’s going to be, it’s going to be herd-developed, and that’s going to happen. That will all happen.”
Trump added that a vaccine would make the virus “go away very quickly.”
Forbes speculated that Trump was likely referring to herd immunity and noted that at least 60 percent of the American population must get infected with COVID-19 to cross such a threshold.
As The Inquisitr reported, Republican Sen. Rand Paul also proposed the idea of herd immunity and was swiftly condemned by Fauci, who suggested that it was not feasible.